Ear Infection Medication and Semi-Feral Cat

PamelaP

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Our cat was once a “community cat”. We took him to be neutered a year ago and after that he started living with us and became our cat. Unfortunately, he has an ear infection and won’t let us put the Tresaderm drops in his ears that our vet prescribed. We have had his ears cleaned while sedated at the vet (including when he was recently there for dental extractions) and tried a few courses of oral antibiotics in the past year. I see many people have posted about having thick ointment put in their cat’s ears by their vets. In the US there is a medication like this called Claro. It is approved for dogs but off-label for cats. It stays in the ear and dissolves over 30 days—such a long treatment! It can have neurological side effects so I do not want to have him treated with it. Has anyone had success treating their somewhat semi-feral cat’s ear infection with any methods? I’m constantly worried and frustrated about this situation.
 

FriendofFerals

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Exact same situation. Community cat that I thought was someone's pet left behind (looks like a pet) but has an ear tip. A neighbor who moved out 10 years ago informed me he was feral and not socialized. I'd been feeding him under my car in the morning and after work but could never get near him or he'd run. Fast forward to 2019 he gets in a fight with another neighborhood cat and has an abscessed leg. By this time, I was feeding him on my patio but always with the sliding door closed because he would run if I opened it. Managed to play with him with a string toy and get him to chase it through a carrier with two open ends. Caught him and took him to the vet where they stitched his leg and cleaned him up. Fast forward to 2021....he's now indoor only with patio rights (closed door and cat-proof screen). One day he falls off the coffee table and doesn't right himself, then goes stiff, then comes to and drags his hind legs out of the room. 24 hours later, the same thing. Bring him to the vet (another miraculous capture) and they recommend a cardiologist because his symptoms seemed like a blood clot, yet his leg function returned within minutes. The cardiologist says his heart is fine but they noted he has a BAD inner ear infection. OK...Tresaderm drops were prescribed and I just laughed because there was no way I could get 5 drops a day, twice a day into this cat's ears. What I did was work with his comfort level. He likes to sit on the arm of the couch (especially during mealtimes) in case there was a spare piece of chicken. After a month, I was able to establish a routine where I was close enough for him to relax. The drops were there just in case. At one point he was very relaxed and I just took the drops and squirted who knows how much into one ear. He ran. Whatever. The next day same scenario but i didn't do the drops. a week later same scenario but I got the other ear. Immediately gave treats. It took 4 months to get those drops in. Some days I got one ear, some days none, a few days I got both. I know it's not as prescribed, but even with the oddball schedule over several months, it did clear up the inner ear infection eventually.

Now the same cat needs oral antibiotics for the first time, and I'm taking the same approach. Try, give him a break, ambush him when he least expects it, reward him big time. One thing about ferals and semi ferals is that they tend to hunker down in fear mode when something is happening to them. I have one that was severely abused and he goes into fight-to-the-death mode to the point where vets can't even get him out of the carrier. The feral just squats down and acts scared and will run if given a chance.

Pic attached so you can see why I thought he must be someone's pet. Apparently not. He's been feral his whole life and the youngest he can possibly be, by the neighborhood recollection, is 16 years old.
 

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PamelaP

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Thank you for your kind and helpful reply! Your kitty is so cute! You have quite a story to tell about taking him in and caring for him. It’s amazing he likes to sit on the arm of the couch and that you were able to get the drops in over a long period of time. When our cat senses I’m possibly going to try to do anything out of the ordinary he runs from me immediately. It is very difficult to get him relaxed. He will lay on the opposite end of the couch from me at night sometimes, but I hate to try to put the drops in then because he will not want to lay there anymore.
 
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