Captured (hopefully rescued) a stray with an injured leg - advice?

white shadow

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If he were here, he'd get nothing different from my own cats'. There's wet food available 24/7. I'm around all the time so I can replenish as needed. If you do that while keeping a record of what you're putting out and when, you'll have a good idea of what he wants/needs. Do use wide cereal bowls or small plates, though, and ceramic, metal or paper, never plastic.

Using larger size cans will reduce your costs, potentially appreciably.
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Swttea

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If he were here, he'd get nothing different from my own cats'. There's wet food available 24/7. I'm around all the time so I can replenish as needed. If you do that while keeping a record of what you're putting out and when, you'll have a good idea of what he wants/needs. Do use wide cereal bowls or small plates, though, and ceramic, metal or paper, never plastic.

Using larger size cans will reduce your costs, potentially appreciably.
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I wish the stuff my kittens liked came in bigger cans! One of their main foods in Tiny Tiger. And then they really enjoy the Merrick pouches. I did order a few larger cans of some of the food in rotation though... and I don't know what it is, but every single time they don't want it anymore! For instance, I went through a whole case of earthborne in the 3oz cans... okay, they really like this one... so I bought the 5oz cans and they leave a lot of it behind if they'll eat it at all. And yet sometimes, if I try the same food again in a 3oz can, it's eaten. It's so strange! So I'm sort of traumatized by the amount of 5oz+ size cans I've dumped, lol!
 
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Swttea

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So... even strays are picky!

Video Oct 28, 2 38 09 AM.mov

That’s his hurt paw he’s burying with by the way. Would he be doing that if it were numb?

He’s been quite active since around 3:30am. He came out to poo, snub the food, and he’s been exploring the room a lot I believe. I see him going to sit in the window several times, back to the carrier, he goes towards the door but I can’t see what he’s doing there. Then he ends up coming out from the closet area, so he’s hopping up and walking over the bed to do that. Happy he’s coming out!!
 

white shadow

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It may be just the foot that's without feeling - you can clarify that with the Vet at some point - but, that wouldn't inhibit his need to and attempts at burying the food, though.

Now, that does clearly indicate that he's pain-free in that area, I'd say.

'Gotta love that Tabby tail light, though! Ain't Nature neat!
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white shadow

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I think that the small area is too 'congested' for his liking, with all the amenities being too close together. Food and water are ideally together in one area, shelter in another and litter in a third. A few 'renovations' and relocations could easily fix that!
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Swttea

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I think that the small area is too 'congested' for his liking, with all the amenities being too close together. Food and water are ideally together in one area, shelter in another and litter in a third. A few 'renovations' and relocations could easily fix that!
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I agree! Now that he’s coming out i’ll move things around. He just didn’t want to leave the carrier before so I wanted things real close.
 

KittyCatCove

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So... even strays are picky!

Video Oct 28, 2 38 09 AM.mov

That’s his hurt paw he’s burying with by the way. Would he be doing that if it were numb?

He’s been quite active since around 3:30am. He came out to poo, snub the food, and he’s been exploring the room a lot I believe. I see him going to sit in the window several times, back to the carrier, he goes towards the door but I can’t see what he’s doing there. Then he ends up coming out from the closet area, so he’s hopping up and walking over the bed to do that. Happy he’s coming out!!
 

KittyCatCove

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I have strays and ferals that will not eat certain types/flavors of cat food... yes they can be very picky.

He may be able to scratch with that paw like is is doing, but it looks like it hurts when he puts weight on it.
 
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Swttea

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I did rearrange the room a little bit, but not much, since I know it worries him when I'm moving stuff around. I got rid of the nature-inspired litter box, and also the box-hut, since he never seemed interested in it. There is a bit more room to move around now in that area.

I think we had a little breakthrough earlier! I came in with some food and he was behind the curtain this time. I slowly pulled it back and sat down, and sat the food infront of him. I was talking to him and veryyy slowly reached my hand out, palm-up. Usually if I have tried to pet him when he is not in the carrier he runs away. I saw him sort of steel himself for my touch, and I gently touched his forehead, and gave it a little stroke. A few seconds later, he came forward and I thought he was going to go away, but he started eating! Less then 2ft away from me. First time he has eaten anything infront of me since being outside on Saturday, or even within 30 minutes of me being in the room! He went to the closet afterwards and I didn't bother him anymore.


I am still contacting rescues... further and further out from where I am. Waiting to hear back from some, but most everyone says no, or that they can't intake from out of their city. :( A few have consulted with their vets about his leg, and so far every vet has recommended amputation based on the 2 x-ray photos I shared.
 

white shadow

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I knew that amputation would be raised eventually by someone. Personally, were he here, I would need to be solidly assured that it is necessary. On the apparent pain question, from my purely lay impression, I see no evidence.

If you're keeping notes, I suggest adding that in for the discussion with the Vet who's seen him.
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fionasmom

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Those are lovely videos and he seems to be making very fast progress in adjusting to your home. Very fast. I bet by a week or so he will be much friendlier once he learns that he can trust you completely.

I did not want to mention amputation but I did immediately see it as an option to rebreaking the foot. If it becomes necessary, and I do agree that the foot does not seem to be painful at all, it is not as terrible as it sounds. As I said yesterday, I have no experience with the rebreaking of a limb in humans or animals, so cannot comment on that. However, I do have a three legged GSD (melanoma) and have had several ferals appear over the years with gangrene in their tails due to fighting and have had those amputated as well.

If and when anything is to be done about the foot (and amputation means the entire leg as it is pointless to just remove the foot and leave a shorter dangling piece) there needs to be some serious consultation about the exact nature of the injury and options.
 

Sylvia Jones

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I have more experience with rebreaking in humans It can be done Nerve damage would need to be assessed Since he still uses it I would not amputate but explore other options first A vet school might be an option that could resolve cost issues This is just my opinion and of course you should be guided by experts You are wonderful for helping him!
 
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Swttea

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It feels pretty overwhelming to think about. I don't want to make the wrong choice but also, I am not sure how much of a choice I'll have. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to afford any option other then leave it be on my own, and I am sure if any organization wishes to help us they will opt for amputation, just due to the fact that it will be cheaper, from what I've been researching. Rebreaking and resetting, and I could be totally wrong, seems to be a multi thousand ($3,000+) operation with a 10+ week recovery time with little guarantee. Amputation seems to vary from several hundred to around $1000, and a much faster recovery. If he is is pain, I don't want to just leave it alone because it hurts me to think about amputation if he could possibly regain use of it... but the chance of anyone else paying for that consult/surgery are slim. Maybe if I were in a richer state, or if I had loads of friends to help me fundraise, but as it is I am in a pretty poor state and can count my friends on one hand, and they don't have much to spare, either.

Feeling pretty stuck right now.
 
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Swttea

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I have some rescue updates and other concerns today,

One place got back to me and they are willing to pay to amputate his leg which is what their vet recommended. They have no available fosters so he would have to come back with me. The issue is that it is an 8 hour round trip. I could do that once to deliver him to a foster but repeated trips for surgery then picking him up then check ups and stitch removal just isn’t feesable and i’m sure would be very very stressful on him as well as us. I appreciate the help that they offered but I think I will have to decline it.

Another has offered to take him but they are a shelter / sanctuary and not a foster program. They have an outdoor sanctuary with the cats and provide shelters and heat lamps. The owner told me that they will take him if no one else will but is concerned the cold would be painful on the leg. The gave me another place to contact that is a similar situation but they have an indoor space.

And another is making a post to see if there are any adopters that want to work with him. I have a feeling that won’t really go anywhere.

So.. still at a bit of a loss on that front.

I’m also concerned he isn’t eating enough. And I think it’s more that he doesn’t like what I have. He ate a full can of Fancy Feast classic the first time it was down, the next time he didn’t finish all of it. Since then he may eat half a can of what I put down, but not finish it, and not go for others things I put out. I put out a can of kitten food yesterday and he started eating while I was petting him again, and he scarfed half of it down but never finished the plate. The amounts he is eating only adds up to 1 3oz can or less a day. He shows no interest in the dry food I have out.
 

white shadow

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There's a lot on my own to-do list today, and I'm feeling bad having to limit feedback for you.

What you're doing to find a placement for him is exactly what it takes, especially where the subject is a special needs cat. A quality, persistent effort will pay off. It's a lesson to be learned, especially for those who do little more than 'shoot their mouths off', without putting their 'money where those mouths are'. Just superlative kudos for you!

Do continue on that path. You certainly have lots of moral support here.

If he were here, considering the concern about his food intake, I'd be keeping a very close eye on his output, and probably keeping notes (here, I have two geriatric kids, both with ongoing and occasional output issues...I have a notebook in the litter room, and when things are really busy in life/the house, I keep notes about who has 'deposited' what and when.....the only way I'll know for sure what's happening).

And, about the amount he's eating - keep in mind that his activity level has drastically reduced since he's come inside. With little activity, his system will be less energy (food) demanding. And, remember that cats are naturally small-'meal' eaters, small but frequent amounts. Here, I lay out small quantities and just leave it until the plates need replenishing. As to fussiness, well, that can simply be "cats", too.

Hope there's something there for you!
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Swttea

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I believe that he has gone poo twice since being here, with the first poo happening Monday night. Then he went yesterday as well. No poo today so far. But he does seem to be peeing quite a bit. Pretty large "slabs" of pee in the box, several of them. I am used to kitten pee so maybe it is a normal amount! I witness him in the box on the camera sometimes and I think it's much to small for him especially with his injury. I am trying to get a storage bin to use but, for SOME unknown reason they are out of stock everywhere! And Amazon charges an exuberant amount...

He ate a whole can of Fancy Feast today and it is only 3pm, so maybe I am being alarmed over nothing. I am watching the camera, and he is actually out eating the other can I just put down about an hour ago, too. Well...he took some bites and now is trying to bury it with the curtains (live-updates from the cam!). The first can was beef, this one was turkey. Maybe he prefers beef!

Gosh when he wants food to go away he stops at nothing to pull the curtains on it. I am glad they are cheap. I know I could just stop feeing him there but he's become use to that spot and I don't want to change things too much.

He's been coming out of the carrier more. It is now 50/50 when I enter the room if he will be in the carrier or resting on the windowsill. He retreats to the carrier if I try to pet him in the window usually. But I'm happy he's not just staying holed up in there.

I offered him some pets earlier and as I was scratching his ear he laid his head down. And it was so, so faint but I could of swore I heard purring. It was either that, or something else with his breathing. I am shocked if it was purring... he is still so scared of me. But he really seemed to enjoy the scratching, since he put his head down.
 

fionasmom

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I agree with white shadow white shadow that looking at the big picture over a few days time is probably more accurate. My indoor only cats do eat less than the ferals I have outside, despite the fact that I keep the ferals continually supplied with food. Something about less exercise, not having to worry about food, etc. Same can go for elimination and while you want to watch for anything that does not seem right, he might just be on his own schedule now that he is able to have a decent life. He may become a little bit picky; he did not have the luxury of doing that before. As for the curtain pulling, that can be a normal cat behavior. I have a 10 year old who still pulls anything moveable over food once she is done with it. There are various interpretations of why cats do this, but it does not signal illness necessarily.

Amputation is much cheaper and easier than resetting the paw and requires much less expertise. I am not at all surprised that the option came up very quickly. I still feel, as we have all discussed, that the paw is not painful. I can attest from issues with animal who had neurological damage that numbness does not hurt and, in a cat especially, he would be very reactive if the paw were in pain. I don't think that you have to make a decision about this immediately and can continue to network to see if there are other options.

I would research any sanctuary or shelter that just houses cats outdoors with heat lamps. I don't mean that they are doing anything to hurt the animals, but I always wonder about solvency, conditions, do they own the land, protection from predators etc. There are some very solid ones, but they always make me nervous as they sound like the next story that the HSUS or ASPCA writes about having to go and rescue animals who could no longer be maintained because of various circumstances.

He is starting to trust you and I bet there will be a lot more purring coming your way. I am going to include this link to Tripawds which is an organization/support group for owners of dogs and cats who are amputees. It will give you information and support as I suspect that most rescues will want to amputate. tripawds.com
 
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Swttea

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I too worry about an outdoor sanctuary. I wasn't aware that was there the cats were when I contacted them. And, even if the conditions are fantastic, I would really prefer he be fostered and rehabilitated him a home. I can't see how being outside with a colony of cats would help him much in terms of repairing his fear of humans, so it is probably an option I won't take. Most of the rescues I have been contacting use a network of fosters, and they're all full.

It is encouraging that most here feel he likely isn't in any pain. It is so worrying to me. I just keep thinking what if he's sitting there, in pain! I can't handle it, but you are right, besides hobbling around it doesn't seem to be bothering him much. I am trying to come to terms that it will likely have to be amputated at some point, if only because as he grows older it might be in the way more, become arthritic, etc.. thank you for the support group!

I ordered a couple of those self warming bed pads. They will be here tomorrow. I have the heat on, but I feel like it's cold near the floor. My feet are always cold. Maybe he will like them. I only had one of the beds he has now, and I think he either peed on it or tracked some urine on it, because it is smelly; not to mention the few times he dragged it on the food. I need to wash it but I didn't want to take it and have no replacement!
 
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