Distressing indecision regarding stray cat

alisandeDecember 13, 2012

At the beginning of November I posted about a cat that had shown up on my porch. She was white, with large black markings, and eyes that were so infected we were afraid she'd lost her vision. We couldn't get near her, but she stuck around for food. Her breathing sounded congested. She moved into the dog house we have on the porch for Bonesy, our outside cat (I also have three indoor cats), and Bonesy surprised us by abandoning the dog house, not putting up a fight. She's normally very territorial, but maybe she realized the new cat was sick. Either she felt sorry for her or she didn't want to catch the illness.

Oh, wait. I described the situation in detail on the pets forum, and I'll link the thread below.

Read thread, please . . .

My son named her Sandy, after the storm. Although I really didn't want to add to my cat population, I figured it was a pretty safe bet that after Sandy got healthy and tame, she'd end up staying in the house. But things have not gone well. Because her eyes haven't cleared up, nor her congested breathing, I can't even think about letting her out. I'd worry that a) she'd infect Bonesy and/or b) she'd freeze to death because she's not well.

The folks at the Pets Forum would like me to let Sandy out into the guest room again, but I'm reluctant to do that. Last time she dove under the bed most of the time when I was in the room, and got bloody discharge from her eyes on the bedding when I was out of the room. I don't want to end up with a sick cat living in my guest room indefinitely.

I hope I don't sound cold. I really care about Sandy, and this whole thing is weighing very heavily on me. Another Pets Forum poster suggested an eye specialist. Honestly, I've maxed out my expenditures on Sandy. Three hundred dollars is a lot of money for me, and it's not as though she was my pet. I was just trying to do a good deed, but it isn't turning out well.

Any thoughts on all this? Two fifty heads are better than one.....

Here is a link that might be useful: Pets Forum thread

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When you took her to the vet what did they say were the problems with her and if/when she would get better??? Knowing she was a stray I would think that they would have been very open with you on her condition and recovery??

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 11:44PM
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Susan, I have taken in several feral cats. They came from Houston and Galveston and were trapped and neutered and then sent to me. The problem with feral cats is when one gets sick. You can't catch them very easily to doctor them. I do a lot of my own doctoring and I'd tell you how I do it, but I know I will draw the ire of someone here if I admit that I always can't take an animal to the vet. The people who bring the cats are not very conscientious about making sure I have food for them, and when I don't have food donated, which, fortunately isn't often....although the food doesn't come from who brought the cats, I have to buy it and it costs me about $20 a day to feed them.

Anyway, if you can get her in the trap, you can take her to the vet in the trap. It is no harder for them to deal with getting her out of the trap than it is getting her out of a tote or crate. Put a towel over it in the car and in the waiting room. However, with feral cats, once they have been trapped, they can be very difficult to trap a second time.

Will just say this....I have had very good luck treating cats with infected eyes (upper respiratory illnesses) with antibiotics that I mix in their food. However, you need to know if she has feline leukemia or some condition that will be chronic and may affect her recovery on down the line.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:20AM
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Susan, I am sorry for your situation and the poor kitty. Writing from personal experience, if she has an upper respiratory virus, antibios will only help if she has a secondary infection due to the virus. We've lost 2 to chronic URI's and it's a nasty illness. About the only thing that helps somewhat is Lysine, it seems to suppress the virus. One of our seniors has had it for years (he is 16) and is not doing well at all. When he was younger he would snap back easily, but not any more. He's been to the vet several times and we are currently giving fluids at home, as well as lysine, syringe-feeding, vit b shots when he won't eat, basically supportive care to see if we can get him over the hump again. And it takes a lot of that, which would be impossible for you to do since this is a skittish feral.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:53AM
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As horribly cold as this may sound, perhaps the best way to help her is to put her out of her misery. You mentioned not being able to afford the vet bills (and they can be very hefty!!), does your town/city ever have reduced price mobile vet clinics? Over here, every month of so, there is a mobile vet clinic that gives cheap shots and minor pet care. It's paid in part by donations to the SPCA / humane society. You might try calling yours to see if they have any similar program BUT my Persian had a URI a few days after I adopted her and I can tell you that she required being hooked up to an IV, lots of antibiotics, and around $500.00 - and this was 10 years ago. If you decide to start the treatment, be prepared. You should also keep sick kitty away from your healthy kitties - you don't want them to catch anything. My advice would be to trap her and take her to the humane society. They may decide to treat her or they may euthanize her. Either way, she'll be out of her pain. You can't let her drag on suffering - you sound like a nice person and you've done what you can do.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:20PM
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Thank you for the responses. I should have given more info. I can sum up the contents of that thread:

I trapped the cat in a Havahart trap early in November and took her to the vet. They tested her for feline leukemia (negative), gave her a rabies shot, treated her (Revolution) for fleas and ear mites, gave her a long-lasting shot of antibiotics for her eyes, and spayed her.

I took her home to recover in a dog crate in my guest room and worked on taming her. When she got to the point where she would let me pet her head, and she purred (a couple of weeks), I let her out into the guest room. I had little contact with her there, as she mostly hid under the bed. When I saw the discharge on the bedding I realized her eyes were no better.

I lured her back into the crate, and then into a cat carrier, and we went back to the vet. Another treatment with Revolution, another long-lasting antibiotic shot. Plus he cleaned out her ears. He told me to treat her eyes with ointment twice a day for a week.

I took her home and put her back in the dog crate, which my son and I moved atop the bed (with a new tarp underneath to protect the bed) so I can reach her easily. The week is more than up, and her eyes are no better. She still sounds congested, and is still sneezing. She eats well. Has diarrhea, but that's probably from the antibiotic. I don't think she's grooming.

I know our animal shelter very well, and she wouldn't stand a chance there. They are nice people, but have too many to care for already.

I have l-lysine in the house and could try mixing it with canned food. The latter might add to the diarrhea, but I suppose it's worth a try. Do you know how much to give? My tablets are 1,000 mg.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 2:31PM
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I was going to suggest the animal shelter but you already answered that question. Are there any other out-of-town no-kill shelters? Other than calling the vet and telling them her eyes are not getting any better, I have no suggestions. I know it's hard when you love animals so. I have taken in strays and found homes for them but it's difficult to find a home for an animal that has a problem. I wish you good luck in your continued endeavors to help Sandy.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 3:03PM
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