How to handle - Injured feral

jeanw

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I care for a feral / stray cat community of about 25 cats and have for years. As we all know, cats come and go. :( But I always seem to have my special few who I look out for and care about. The community is about 4? miles from my house. I took one of the injured ones in 5 years ago and mostly it's gone okay I guess - although she's never seemed particularly happy.

Now about the current injured one - today he can't put much weight on one of his back legs. He does put some but is clearly uncomfortable. He's not very feral - I can occasionally pick him up for a couple minutes - but am doubtful I could get him in a carrier. It would be very difficult to trap him as the chance of trapping the wrong cat is extremely high. There are almost no resources in this area for feral cats and there are few vets. The vets that are here charge $$$$$ and are not very available. I would take him to a vet in the big city for better service and less cost - but it's not a small effort at all and money is extremely tight during Covid.

As far as I can tell the injured kitty appears uncomfortable but we know cats are specialists at hiding their pain. He ate as usual and then mostly hopped away on 3 legs. What is the best plan of action? Do I just watch and wait for a day or two to see how things go? There was recently another one of the cats that was truly feral and had an injured front paw. He seemed to recover on his own in a few days. No one at all in my personal life would be inclined to help me catch him or get him care - but I am still distressed over cats I haven't helped in the past.

What do you all suggest?
 
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fionasmom

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I have been through the injured paw scenario several times with two feral males who live on my property....Spock and Chaplin. I completely get your circumstances....throwing up a trap is a long shot, he can't be jammed into a carrier, and, in your case, the difficulty of finding a vet. I can pat Spock on the head and have even put Advantage on his neck which he is fine with, but he does not want to be picked up. I can't touch Chaplin at all.

I even posted a while back asking for advice on Spock's most recent paw injury. What has happened every single time is that it gets better on its own while I try to plot a strategy for getting him to the vet if it becomes dire. I believe that in some cases he makes a jump onto or off of something and pulls or strains a muscle or ligament. He has turned up with blood on a foot as well, and a slightly swollen paw, but then returns the next day with having seemingly opened something and let it drain and heal.

If you feel that the cat is in a relatively safe place or has a routine which does not put him in danger, I would wait to see if it improves. I know that both Spock and Chaplin truly have been in discomfort but it goes away apparently and they return to their old selves. If this gets worse, severe infection or the like, then I think that you have to try to bring him in for further evaluation or find a vet who might be willing to help.
 

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If the leg does not improve, I agree that it’s time for a plan. Do you know about using a trap that you spring shut yourself? I have often sat at a distance, holding a sting that was attached to a water bottle which I yanked out of the door to shut it when the right cat was in the trap. Drop traps can work but you will need to be present. Since you can handle him, I am guessing he will not be too afraid of having you in the area to spring the trap. Having a plan A and a plan B can keep you prepared for whatever action you need to take.
Any rescue groups there? Your state has some, although they may not be near, they would be could you have as contacts in case you ever need help in any way. We’ve had lots of members do rescues there so, you are not alone in your efforts. You have my gratitude for all that you do. Please do keep us updated.
 

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I agree with all of the above. But, since you said:
I can occasionally pick him up for a couple minutes
can you do so and at least see if you can take a bit of a closer look at the paw/leg that is bugging him? Maybe that would help to determine what might be the cause, and if more immediate treatment is necessary.
 

Whenallhellbreakslose

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I care for a feral / stray cat community of about 25 cats and have for years. As we all know, cats come and go. :( But I always seem to have my special few who I look out for and care about. The community is about 4? miles from my house. I took one of the injured ones in 5 years ago and mostly it's gone okay I guess - although she's never seemed particularly happy.

Now about the current injured one - today he can't put much weight on one of his back legs. He does put some but is clearly uncomfortable. He's not very feral - I can occasionally pick him up for a couple minutes - but am doubtful I could get him in a carrier. It would be very difficult to trap him as the chance of trapping the wrong cat is extremely high. There are almost no resources in this area for feral cats and there are few vets. The vets that are here charge $$$$$ and are not very available. I would take him to a vet in the big city for better service and less cost - but it's not a small effort at all and money is extremely tight during Covid.

As far as I can tell the injured kitty appears uncomfortable but we know cats are specialists at hiding their pain. He ate as usual and then mostly hopped away on 3 legs. What is the best plan of action? Do I just watch and wait for a day or two to see how things go? There was recently another one of the cats that was truly feral and had an injured front paw. He seemed to recover on his own in a few days. No one at all in my personal life would be inclined to help me catch him or get him care - but I am still distressed over cats I haven't helped in the past.

What do you all suggest?
The best trap to use for this circumstance is a drop trap. You must camaflauge it and try to get him comfortable eating under it and then pull the string and trap. I used a drop trap to capture a sick kitty, but in the last few seconds another cat went under it and got trapped.🙄 I then had to use dividers to separate the cats, while I coax the sick one to go into a regular trap I threw a towel over. It took some coaxing, but he went in. When that was done, I freed the other cat who wasn't a happy camper about being trapped temporarily. The other option and (I seen a tnr group use one) is getting hold of a remote control trap. This is also used to trap specific cats.

I have had one cat limping badly and I really thought he might have broke his leg. It turned out to be a sprained leg and he did get over it a few weeks later. The sprained leg happened when he was chased away by another cat and he fell off a fence and landed in a strange way. I made this cat feel comfortable on my deck (where I feed daily) in his cat shelter. I didn't trap since he was in a comfortable place. I used warm microwavable discs to help in the recover. I also put salmon oil in his food to help with the inflammation.

If you feel that this cat will recover poorly without full intervention and/or he may deal with bullying from other colony cats than please trap him and nurse him back to health. If you feel that you are dealing with something more that a sprain leg, then that warrants medical treatment.

I hope this helps answer your questions.🙂
 
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jeanw

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I have been through the injured paw scenario several times with two feral males who live on my property....Spock and Chaplin. I completely get your circumstances....throwing up a trap is a long shot, he can't be jammed into a carrier, and, in your case, the difficulty of finding a vet. I can pat Spock on the head and have even put Advantage on his neck which he is fine with, but he does not want to be picked up. I can't touch Chaplin at all.

I even posted a while back asking for advice on Spock's most recent paw injury. What has happened every single time is that it gets better on its own while I try to plot a strategy for getting him to the vet if it becomes dire. I believe that in some cases he makes a jump onto or off of something and pulls or strains a muscle or ligament. He has turned up with blood on a foot as well, and a slightly swollen paw, but then returns the next day with having seemingly opened something and let it drain and heal.

If you feel that the cat is in a relatively safe place or has a routine which does not put him in danger, I would wait to see if it improves. I know that both Spock and Chaplin truly have been in discomfort but it goes away apparently and they return to their old selves. If this gets worse, severe infection or the like, then I think that you have to try to bring him in for further evaluation or find a vet who might be willing to help.
Thank you fionasmom fionasmom !!! This was really helpful - and just about what I had decided on. Your post helped me to calm down a bit as I had really worked myself into a state over this. I am literally praying that he gets better.

He is in a fairly safe place - and has a familiar routine - although there are many unknowns. If he doesn't or can't show up it would be near impossible to find him as there are more than a million places to hide on this 1 acre property and then there are all the surrounding houses with property. There have been wild animals that have shown up in the past and caused problems but I'm just having faith they will stay away and injured feral kitty will hide in a safe place to heal. He was waiting for me today when I came to feed the community and he seemed totally fine yesterday. So something must have happened in the last 24 hours - no idea what. I did pick him up for 30 seconds or so and couldn't tell anything - no blood, no squeals of pain but very little weight bearing. I also don't know if the problem is actually in the paw/foot. I will wait to see what happens over the next couple of days. If it gets worse I will try to take him to my vet in the big city provided I can get him in the carrier.

What you said about plotting a strategy to get him to the vet if it becomes dire and feral kitty healing in the meantime is exactly what happened with the previous injured feral kitty. Praying it happens again.

Sending you thanks and best kitty vibes to Spock and Chaplin. Thank you.
 
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jeanw

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If the leg does not improve, I agree that it’s time for a plan. Do you know about using a trap that you spring shut yourself? I have often sat at a distance, holding a sting that was attached to a water bottle which I yanked out of the door to shut it when the right cat was in the trap. Drop traps can work but you will need to be present. Since you can handle him, I am guessing he will not be too afraid of having you in the area to spring the trap. Having a plan A and a plan B can keep you prepared for whatever action you need to take.
Any rescue groups there? Your state has some, although they may not be near, they would be could you have as contacts in case you ever need help in any way. We’ve had lots of members do rescues there so, you are not alone in your efforts. You have my gratitude for all that you do. Please do keep us updated.
Thanks for this info. I did not know about a trap you spring shut yourself. Under the circumstances (long story) it would be near impossible. I might more likely pick him up and drop a towel over him. There is also someone else (too much to explain) that I may be able to pay a few $ to who might be able to put him a carrier.

There are rescue groups here but they have recently publicly stated that they are overwhelmed and aren't helping anyone more at this time. This city/county has far fewer resources for feral cats than most.

I will keep you updated. Thank you.
 
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jeanw

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I agree with all of the above. But, since you said: can you do so and at least see if you can take a bit of a closer look at the paw/leg that is bugging him? Maybe that would help to determine what might be the cause, and if more immediate treatment is necessary.
I did pick him up for about 30 seconds and couldn't tell anything. No blood, no squeals of pain, no obvious joint out of alignment. So I am praying and waiting. I usually see the cat community once day and due to circumstances at the location I often can only go there once a day.
Thank you!
 
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jeanw

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The best trap to use for this circumstance is a drop trap. You must camaflauge it and try to get him comfortable eating under it and then pull the string and trap. I used a drop trap to capture a sick kitty, but in the last few seconds another cat went under it and got trapped.🙄 I then had to use dividers to separate the cats, while I coax the sick one to go into a regular trap I threw a towel over. It took some coaxing, but he went in. When that was done, I freed the other cat who wasn't a happy camper about being trapped temporarily. The other option and (I seen a tnr group use one) is getting hold of a remote control trap. This is also used to trap specific cats.

I have had one cat limping badly and I really thought he might have broke his leg. It turned out to be a sprained leg and he did get over it a few weeks later. The sprained leg happened when he was chased away by another cat and he fell off a fence and landed in a strange way. I made this cat feel comfortable on my deck (where I feed daily) in his cat shelter. I didn't trap since he was in a comfortable place. I used warm microwavable discs to help in the recover. I also put salmon oil in his food to help with the inflammation.

If you feel that this cat will recover poorly without full intervention and/or he may deal with bullying from other colony cats than please trap him and nurse him back to health. If you feel that you are dealing with something more that a sprain leg, then that warrants medical treatment.

I hope this helps answer your questions.🙂
Thank you so much. He eats with all the cats together - about 25 of them - and it would be near impossible to separate him while eating. I don't know how the injury happened and since I live more than 4 miles away from the colony, there is no way I can try to trick him in the house or set up a place for him on the back porch etc. It's a difficult situation and one I took over from someone else. I knew a lot less about feral cat communities at that time and the community has grown and I'm still at it 10 years later.

At this point I have no idea how he will recover but I will wait a couple days to see how it goes. As far as I can tell, he is not bullied but seems to know how to hold his own with the other cats. However I'm only there for maybe 20 minutes a day so there is a lot I don't know. It's kindof a long story but there is one other person who lives nearby that I may be able to pay a few $ to in order to get him in the carrier. I will just have to see. Thank you.
 
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jeanw

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Whatever the circumstances, we will be here for you and the kitty. :heartshape:
Thank you! :loveeyes:

I went to feed the cats today. Many Sundays I leave it to the people who live on the property - they do it under pressure from me and aren't always reliable. So I went myself today to see how injured feral kitty is. He needs a name. Beautiful white kitty with big fluffy tail. He lets me scratch his head usually and likes it. :redheartpump: And he seems to have a twin - even more beautiful white kitty with bigger fluffy tail. :redheartpump: Don't see that one every day but every 2 or 3 days.

He seemed slightly better today.:) He was waiting for me along with several of the other usual cats who greet me. And he looked a bit better - less puny than yesterday. He's putting a little weight on the back foot but with a limp - and he began eating enthusiastically. I could only stay a very few minutes. But I'm encouraged and praying & keeping my fingers crossed that he will keep healing.
 
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jeanw

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When I saw him today he seemed more like he was the first day I saw that he was injured. Not terrible but not great. I stayed a bit longer and made sure he was able to eat and wasn't pushed out by the other cats. He let me pick him a couple times for a minute or two each. He didn't mind it for a bit and then he wanted down rather quickly. It's extremely windy here so none of the cats were quite themselves.

Please send all your good thoughts, vibes and prayers this way. I'm having problems of my own and a bit unsure if I'll be able to check on him for the next few days or longer. As much as I want to help him - and I do massively want to help him - I have to remember that I can't be everything to all of them.:bawling2:
 

Whenallhellbreakslose

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When I saw him today he seemed more like he was the first day I saw that he was injured. Not terrible but not great. I stayed a bit longer and made sure he was able to eat and wasn't pushed out by the other cats. He let me pick him a couple times for a minute or two each. He didn't mind it for a bit and then he wanted down rather quickly. It's extremely windy here so none of the cats were quite themselves.

Please send all your good thoughts, vibes and prayers this way. I'm having problems of my own and a bit unsure if I'll be able to check on him for the next few days or longer. As much as I want to help him - and I do massively want to help him - I have to remember that I can't be everything to all of them.:bawling2:
:redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump::whitecat::whitecat::whitecat: Send thoughts, good wishes and 🙏🙏🙏. I have been calling rescuers trying to get antibiotics for a cat with a wound that I feed and it is not working out so great. I hope he doesn't get an abcess. I can't pay for a vet, only antibiotics. I hope I can get a hold of them soon. I wish I had a better set up for the cats, but I am financially limited and don't have the connections. 😕

Well, I hope everything works out for our kitties. Keep us updated. 😺
 
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jeanw

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Thanks to all of you for your advice, help and good thoughts.:redheartpump:

When I saw him yesterday he didn't seem quite as good but used his "bad" paw to scratch his chin and clearly wasn't in distress. He stayed right next to me while he ate - he knows I will make sure he gets his share of food. And he was very affectionate - rubbed against my pant legs and let me pick him up for 5 minutes and hold him and scratch his chin and he purred and purred. He is such a love.

Today he seemed to be moving around almost like normal and ate with the others. He let me scratch his head but was just a little bit standoffish which is more like his normal. He seemed good today and close to 100% but not quite.

I think he might someday be socialized and be a pet but not yet. I'm trying to not get too too attached to him. His living situation right now seems best for him. I can't take him in - unless it's an emergency - and I can't offer him any kind of a great life at the moment. Fingers crossed and prayers said that he stays safe.

Thanks again, friends.:loveeyes:
 
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