Deworming Feral Cat Colonies – Group therapy works!


Treating an individual cat for multiple days is not easy and near impossible to do effectively in a cat colony! The Feral Cat colony is a herd and not an individual cat! Cats are very social with each other so what one cat has, the rest have been exposed to. This is true for ear mites, mange, lice, intestinal parasites as well as respiratory infections! Some or most cats cannot be handled and medicating the individual leaves the herd untreated and the issue returns. Success is achieved by effectively treating the diet and getting all to take the medication. You clean up the herd!

Where to Start:

Parasites are the first place to start as they do the most damage and removing them is where you get the most results for your money! Parasites beat down the immune system making respiratory infections more prevalent and they eat the best nutrition the cat consumes. The result is rough hair coats and skinny cats.

Mite-Retreat or Fail!:

Most ear mite treatment programs fail because of the mite eggs not because the adults were not killed! Mites and Ear mites are easy to kill in the adult stage but near impossible to get the egg! The eggs hatch out in 7-10 days and start reproducing. Ivomec 1% is very effective at getting rid of Ear mites, mange mites and lice! The key is getting one good dose in them and repeat in 7-10 days. It is essential to pick up the mites that hatch from eggs before they can start reproducing. If you don’t, you get the mites back just as bad in 6 weeks – they repopulate from the eggs!

These feral cats are carrying lots of round worms, our #1 intestinal parasite issue from hunting mice and birds. Ivomec is excellent at killing round worms and helps with hook worms but again, the #1 issue is round worms! Ivomec often sees resistance issues in our house pets where low dose Ivomec is used. Routine deworming as kittens by breeders and heartworm meds is the usual cause. Both are not a worry in feral cats that have never seen Ivomec

Treatment in Milk:

If a cat has never had milk replacer given to them in the past, it can take a little time for them to warm up to the idea. Most cats’ have a built in trust “issue” that helps them to be such good survivors. It takes about 3 days of tasting something new for a cat to trust it. Start the process with un-medicated milk replacer for 3 days to establish trust (most will drink it after 3 days of sniffing, testing, and looking at it), then establish a count of how many cats are going to be treated.

Treating and deworming in the milk replacer is inexpensive and cats like it! Feed milk replacer (All Star) in several pans at the same time for three days. All cats will come up to get their share. After all are coming up, count numbers and get at how many are in the colony. The feral cat usually averages 8# so we get total pounds of cats we are treating from the number of cats we fed. For example if the count is 20 cats at 8# average each then the needed dose of medication (Dewormer) is for 160 pounds. We add that total dose to the milk replacer.

Use 1% (Ivomec) - orally at 1cc/40# of cat/3 days in the milk replacer. In the example for 160# of cats we would use 4 cc/day/3 days in a row. One good dose is what you need in each cat – repeat for 3 days so everyone gets at least one full dose! Bigger cats drink more and little cats less so this dose has worked well. Be sure to use multiple pans if you have a large colony or you get guarding of the milk. You will clean the colony up with 3 day treatment! If a cat does not get to drink or does not come up today they get it tomorrow. On your first time deworming, always repeat in 10 days to get the mites from eggs! Feral cat colonies get dewormed spring and fall in this manner but only do one 3 day course unless there is an issue with ear mites. They will pick up parasites; our goal is to remove them before they cause issues with routine deworming!

There is always one who will not participate! You can treat the problem cat that does not drink with Topical Ivomec Pour-On between the shoulders topically! You need to treat them even if you have to trap them otherwise the ones that are missed just share ear mites back to the group! One good dose is all you need so put the Ivomec on and release. Repeat in 10 days to get eggs that hatch.

Confined Cat Colony: If you are adding to a confined cat colony be sure you treat twice 10 days apart with Ivomec before mixing –the last thing wanted is to bring anything in once the colony issues are controlled! Topical Ivomec 10 day’s apart works well here. The advantage of topical Ivomec is knowing the correct dose is in the cat – put it between the shoulder blades on the skin and your done.

This same treatment has been used for farm cat colonies treating the milk and has had great results in getting them healthy.

My fondest day was looking at a 56 cat colony a couple months after this treatment when the UPS driver pulls up and asks if we got new cats? He went on to say these cats have beautiful coats the others were scruffy looking! That was the response we wanted to see!





The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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