When you foster young kittens, you’re always on the lookout for any signs of illness, such as coughing, sneezing, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, etc. I would also add “dirty kitten” to this list. When a kitten who has been otherwise well-groomed suddenly starts showing up with a dirty face and unkempt nether regions, you might have a problem on your hands. For the last few days, Charm has looked (and smelled) rather grubby, frankly. And I’m worried about her. She is eating like a little horse, always first to the food bowl and the last to leave. But she’s had intermittent diahrrea and hasn’t put on any appreciable weight in the last two weeks. She isn’t lethargic exactly, but she’s starting to avoid the more aggressive play sessions with her foster siblings, preferring instead to curl up in my lap with a favorite toy to chew on. I get the impression her stamina is weakening, which makes me suspect some sort of parasite. I had her dewormed last week, and even though a stool sample tested negative, the vet agreed we should treat her pre-emptively for some of the usual suspects. So yesterday she got a praziquantel injection for tapeworm, and we’ve started a 10-day course of Albon to treat any bacterial infection she might be harboring. Fingers crossed this does the trick because those food schmears and eye boogers ain’t gonna clean themselves now, are they.