Slightly Slimy Stories of Felines Run Afoul

Author: Lora Schuldt, DVM

May 5, 2014

A worried owner calls asking for an emergency grooming appointment for her cat Molly, who has a mat of fur near her rump that is driving her crazy. One of our male employees, a gentle giant, carefully combs through Molly's coat, hoping to relieve her irritation. He finds a fur-entrapped garden slug, eliciting a chorus of "eeww's" from everyone watching!

FACT: Slugs and snails are a normal part of a cat's diet. Though mostly safe (but not exactly tasty), in rare cases these mollusks can carry a parasite that causes lung disease.

A busy Saturday afternoon bring us a kitty who is suspected of being the victim of a cat bite. A red, round hole in her skin is wet from all the licking she's been doing. As Dr. Fligiel inspects the hole, a white larva pokes its head out, and then quickly recedes. "No way - it's a Cuterebra!" A large crowd of staff gathers around, forgetting about the lunch hour.  Finally, the bot fly larva is extracted after first blocking its breathing hole with Vaseline.

FACT: Cuterebra are flies that often lay eggs around rabbit burrows or the like. Though rarely seen in the Puget Sound area, occasionally cats will harbor a developing egg through accidental contact. The larva causes a localized tissue irritation that resolves once the fly emerges or the larva is plucked out.

Drs. Lester and Schuldt are discussing a cat that has vomited worms. The owner has brought a sample of the worms her cat Slim has thrown up over the weekend. She hands over a chilled ZipLoc bag (gallon size, no less!) full of dozens of cold, grey, slimy caterpillar-like worms that she has collected. Fortunately, these are not intestinal parasites; the cat has been hunting cutworms!