Feral straining breathing

white shadow

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Remember this ?
"A year ago I was able to TNR her and she stayed away for 3 months..."​

Without a plan 'in your hand' now for.............what you'll do with her after this upcoming Vet experience........then, if she's 'just' released afterwards, you likely see her disappear again - and, this time, you might not see her after that.

I think your best bet would be to get more observational video of her breathing, as much as you can collect (and note-taking, documenting as much detail as you can), then have a consult of some sort (discussion only) with a competent Vet(s)*** in the hope of receiving some tentative diagnosis. And, in the meantime, continue to work on building a trust with her which will allow for close physical contact - marvellous proven experiential suggestions from Jcatbird Jcatbird ! So long as her health remains stable, there really is no need to trap her.
  • more observational video, then Vet consult
  • continue building the relationship with goal of closer contact/greater trust
  • decide on/construct realistic plan for going forward
***try for a couple of opinions - a local shelter/rescue will likely have a 'sharp' Vet who might offer their thoughts gratis - and, you just may need that shelter resource for her 'afterwards'


And, welcome to the forum, swagman ! Nice to have you on board !
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swagman

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Hi! Thank you! Yes. I do remember that, and I am frankly horrified that if I catch her for a vet visit she might run away and never return. The feedback I initially sought here was whether this looked like a serious enough ailment that it warranted the drastic step of catching her and taking her for medical attention. Even at the risk of losing her.
Based on all the information I've got from all these replies from caring people, I think I am going to continue to build trust and try all the great ideas, like spending time out there when I put her dinner out. Put some of my clothing near her resting place, moving her dinner closer to the door, and just keep trying to draw her in closer. I will do some more video and try to find a vet willing to consider it. If anyone knows of a vet that might be willing to entertain a video from me, please share. My plan going forward is to take care of her as much as she'll allow and that would include allowing her inside to live with us. But that would definitely require a vet visit and immunizations etc. thanks everyone! This is a great community! It is getting a little colder here now and I have a heating pad under where she sits. She has spent the majority of the last 24 hrs sitting and sleeping at my window.
 

fionasmom

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The cat in my avatar, now Lily changed from Elise, was born under my neighbor's house and in the course of a year moved over to my property with her sisters and mother (at my urging, moving food etc.). She began to come to the back sliding glass doors and stared at me through them, but would not approach. I began to toss a little ping pong ball at the window and she would "bat" it back to me with her paw. This continued for several months. Then she became interested in my indoor only boy Jamie and so I slid the door open a tiny bit so they could play slappy face while I stood there. Also a few months. Moral of the story is that she finally came around and is now, along with her sister, an indoor only pet, completely transitioned from feral. Don't give up on this cat and just keep trying!
 
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swagman

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Update!
I've got her playing with a toy. As you can see, she doesnt really seemed to be bothered about the breathing.
I rubbed that toy all over me before putting it out there. Maybe she will recognize the smell.
Still no luck making direct contact. When I bring food out, I sit on the ground on the opposite side of the deck. She will come to top of stairs but wont come up. I waited about 30 minutes each time. As soon as I leave she comes up to eat and visit.
Will just keep trying.
 

moxiewild

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It is truly bizarre! Do you have a screen in the window that you and she 'rendezvous' through? If so, what would happen, if you open the window (after you leave her food, or whenever is a good time) and try to interact with her through the screen?
Haha, you’re recommending cat-to-cat introduction tactics for cat-to-human introductions 😆 Not a bad idea at all!
 

moxiewild

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In addition to the belly up thing, you can also sit with your back turned to her, ignoring her.

Turning your back (or her turning hers on you) is a huge indication of trust in “cat language”. By demonstrating that you trust her, you’re communicating that you view the situation as non-threatening, so she should too.

Bonus points if you lay down on your side to do this to make yourself more on her level.

Try to find a distance where you can be outdoors and she is comfortable enough to eat. That may mean doubling the distance you’re currently at, but the important thing is to find that threshold, her boundary, the closest you can be to her where she is comfortable-ish (Jackson Galaxy more or less refers to this as their “challenge line”).

Once you find that out, you know where to start and day-by-day you can begin to inch closer.

Be quiet, be still (at least in the beginning), turn your back to her or lay belly up, and just ignore her and try not to look her way.

As you get closer, you don’t have to be so careful about all of these specifics, but it’s a good idea in the beginning to demonstrate that you’re not a threat. As she comes to understand that, you can start pushing her boundaries to get her used to your voice (in person/closer to her), movements, facing her, etc.

First goal is to find out at what distance she will tolerate your presence though (lol).
 
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swagman

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A lot of trial and error tonight. Laying flat or on side in any direction didnt work. But once I was on my knees facing opposite direction about 12 feet from dinner, I kept calling her and after about 10 minutes she came up to eat. Positioned herself where she could watch me while she ate. I just kept calling her name (well, the name I have been calling her - which she seems to recognize because sometimes I go outside and call when I havent seen her and she shows up right away). Anyway. After eating she stayed up but as soon as I slowly turned around to look at her she ran back down the stairs and wouldnt come back up until I left. I guess the plan is to keep feeding her this way and maybe she just slowly gets more comfortable? Seems like a positive development! Thanks for the pro tips!
 

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That is a much bigger improvement than you think! She allowed your presence and that shows a level of trust. Repetition is key now! Keep doing what you did tonight. If you just stay there and don’t approach, she is very likely to get curious at some point. You can do the “moving the food closer over time and adding something even tastier near you. Take kitten steps on your progress at first. Slow but steady. Repetition. You are going to have her sniffing around you! Yay!!!! Good job! :clap2:
 
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swagman

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Havent been back in awhile but here is an update for those interested. Mimicking the same behaviors I got her to come up a few more times and eat while I was on my knees crouched over facing the other direction about 10 ft away. Then she just wouldnt any more. More affectionate than ever through the glass. She loves the toy, its a chirping bird and she spends hours playing with it. When I go out there I kinda use it as a communications tool. I play with it like she does and she is very interested. I have a child gate at the top of the stairs and she will let me approach and talk to her within a couple feet as long as the gate is closed between us. I will just keep working on it in the hope that she comes around. No hurry. I have a pet heat pad under her perch and she sleeps there all night most nights and I have a popup tent over that area. She has a safe secure space and me on the other side of the glass most of the time, lol.
 

Jcatbird

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Every cat adapts at their own pace. It can take patience but you have made great progress since she doesn’t run off as soon as you are near! :clap2: I’ve had some that made me work hard too. Lol She is safe, loved and acts happy! That’s a big deal for an outside kitty and I know you will convince her to allow more in time. Bravo for all you have done! Soooo... you have fun with the toy too?;) That’s an excellent idea and must give her great joy. She may decide you are just a big cat! Fantastic!
 
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swagman

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thanks Jcatbird! I am really trying. Would love to give this baby the loving I know she is wanting! #patience.
My wife thinks I am a weirdo for doing all this. But she is caretaker for another 4 ferals we keep watch over.
We've been looking after this little clowder for about 3 years. 5 ferals that we TNR'd. It just amazes me that after all this time of feeding them and chatting with them - there is still not enough trust to get close. I sometimes feel we must be doing something wrong.
 
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swagman

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Update: I still can't get closer than 10 feet or so but she is starting to sort of "air knead" when I am talking to her through the window.
Weirdest thing. Almost like it is an involuntary muscle movement. This is just a short clip but it goes on as long as I stay at the window.
Her little paws start opening and closing as though she was kneading on me.
 
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swagman

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Sad announcement.

I haven't posted here for 2 years. This feral cat and I became very close but only though a plane of glass.

No matter what I tried or how patient I was I could never get close to her physically.

I created a very nice environment on my deck and she spent about 80% of everyday up here.

Yesterday everything seemed just like any other day although she didn’t eat.

At about 7pm she vomited a foamy substance and ran away. She went down in the yard and meowed louder than I have ever heard her talk before. I went down but she scrambled to her safe space which is a giant drainage hole in the backyard.

I went down to try to coax her out but she ran into a hole space I couldn't get to.

After a terrible night of worry I found her dead this morning. She died in a laying position and appeared very peaceful.

I know this sounds crazy but I think she was telling me goodbye at the end. I finally got to touch and pet her after nearly 5 years.

But she is gone and I am so devastated. I never imagined how bad I would feel even though I knew it would happen one day.

I thank you all, I tried all your suggestions but could never earn her trust I feel so terrible. I buried her in the backyard.

I am so so sad thinking of her.
 

shadowsrescue

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I am so sorry for you loss. You did so much for her. She did trust you as she stayed mostly near you and depended on you for food. She knew how much you cared. When caring for feral cats, we all do the best we can. She was happy with the way things were between you and you definitely made her life much better. Thank you for all you did for her. May she rest in peace.
 
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swagman

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Thank you so much. I'm feeling such sorrow today, its amazing how much this little baby because a part of my everyday life.
This is her at my window just a couple nights before. We met this way multiple times a day and she usually slept on this pedestal all night.
 

shadowsrescue

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That was just beautiful. What a wonderful memory you have of her. She loved you very much you can tell by her body language. She may not have let you touch her but rest assured you touched her life.

Take time to grieve and remember.
 

fionasmom

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I am so sorry for your loss. The video was beautiful and clearly shows how much she loved you. In the case of this particular feral cat, you have to understand that you gave her every single thing that she wanted. She did not want to to go the next step of becoming an indoor pet, so in her mind her life was perfect. To be honest, what you set up for her was as close to perfect for an outdoor cat as could be.

When cats know that they are very sick, or the end is near, they often do go off to hide. It is their nature and is what came to her instinctively as she said goodbye...and thank you....to you.

I have had a few ferals over the years that I only touched once they had passed on. It is a sad, ironic feeling and I have missed some ferals as much as my own "pet" cats.

Please try to take comfort in the wonderful life that you gave her and remember how much she loved you for it.
 
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swagman

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Thank you so much for the replies and condolences. I have come back here to re-read them multiple times over the last couple of days. I can't describe how comforting they have been. Still very sad but whenever I think of her I look through the photos and videos of all the great times we had together. Thank you for the time you spend helping others.
 

FriendofFerals

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I'm so sorry!😭😭😭 Poor Baby...You did your best. She had a better life because of you. Who knows how old she really was....maybe older than you think. I managed to trap my feral friend of 7 years after he was injured and never let him out again. That is a rare story though. More often it's being friends through the window and that's OK too. The fact she kept coming back meant she felt safe with you. That is a gift in itself from the wild ones. Mr. Squeak extends his condolences as well. We estimate the youngest he could possibly be by neighborhood recollection is 16....
 

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