Onsior after spay for ferals?

tandl

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I am brand new to the world of TNR or TN-and-attempt-to-socialize. So, I have a ton of questions...but one pressing one at the moment.

I had a litter of 4 feral kittens (well, probably more like tweens as they are likely closer to 6-7 months old) that had taken up residence around my backyard -- we provided heated cat shelters and food, so no surprise that they stayed! I finally trapped them and figured out how to get access to lower cost spaying and neutering. I did not use traditional traps because the kittens were comfortable enough with me (I can pet them, they would seek out my attention, etc) that I felt I could get them without traps. That may or may not have been the best idea...suffice it to say I did catch all four, but it was no where near as easy as I had hoped!

We were going back and forth on whether the goal was to TNR, or to see if they can be socialized and adopted out. I'm leaning towards socializing, because they really are remarkably comfortable with me at least. They were up in a closed room in my house for the past 5 days while waiting for their surgery dates, and while they were absolutely frantic the first night, they settled down and went back to letting me pet them, give them ear and chin and cheek rubs, etc. They are beautiful cats -- the shelter actually labeled them as Lynx Siamese which I don't think is accurate as I know the feral cat who is their mama, but they are gorgeous cream colored kitties with grey/brown tabby stripes just on the bottom halves of their legs & on all of their tails. Darker grey or brown ears, and white paws after the striped patterns on their legs. Striking kitties.

We have 5 cats of our own currently, so keeping these babies is not an option for us. But I'm more than happy to try to foster/socialize and give them a shot. Although part of me feels badly making that decision for them...but that's a topic for a whole separate thread!

Once we have 'conquered' this litter, my plan is to trap the other feral cats who we see come through. Those would definitely be tr

Anyhow...I'm still leaning towards seeing if they progress in socializing. So today when they were spayed and neutered they also got their rabies vaccine, FeLV & FIV test, FeLV vaccine, FVRCP, microchip, flea treatment and ear mite treatment. The shelter sent me home with a liquid dewormer, and 3 pills of onsior for each kittie, with directions to give one tonight and then one every 24 hours for up to two more days if they seem in pain.

I have no clue how I am going to give a feral cat -- even a feral cat who is socialized enough to let me handle them in small ways -- medication. Getting these guys back into carriers for the surgery today was not easy. I have a fair amount of experience in pilling cats as I've had a number of cats with a number of health issues over the years. But I can't imagine that these cats are going to tolerate me scruffing them, opening their mouth, popping a pill in, etc. I tried to give them an empty pill pocket treat in the hopes that they'd like it and I could give the onsior that way. No dice. They aren't eating anything currently, and have been incredibly picky since they've been inside (I'm assuming some of that is due to the trauma they're dealing with from being plucked from outside to come in!). So I don't have a lot of faith that I could get them to eat anything that I could potentially hide this pill in, but when I went online to see if it could even potentially be crushed, I found quite a few horror stories.

So, I'm interested in whether or not others have had to give meds to feral cats after surgery. If so, how did you do it?
Or, is onsior really controversial enough that people skip it? I can't really tell if they are experiencing pain -- I would assume they are; they are being quiet and mostly staying in one spot/sleeping. two of them were more active when we first got home, but they now have wound down and are semi-hiding in a covered cat bed.

We also have a liquid dewormer we are supposed to give, and I'm having the same feelings of 'what exactly am I going to do to get this down their throats...'

I'd love to hear some advice, or stories about how others handled the post-operative period with rescue cats.
 

Norachan

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Hi T tandl Thank you for everything you've done with these cats. They really were lucky to end up in your backyard.

I've never used onsior, I understand that's a pain medication? My vet just gave all the feral cats I TNR'd a long lasting pain injection. With meds that I have had to give orally I usually taste them first to see how strong the flavour is. Scratch one of the tablets with a fingernail and then lick your finger. Is it a really strong bitter taste? If it isn't too strong it might be easier to mix it with a little canned food. Try a spoonful of Gerber's Stage 2 baby food, plain chicken or meat flavour, or a bit of (human food) canned tuna. This is usually tempting enough for cats to take their meds.

I have enough trouble getting the wormer you apply to the back of the neck on my feral rescues, I've never tried the oral wormers. If you can get Profender, or one of the other worming meds you use on the back of the neck that would be easier.

On feral cats that I've absolutely had to handle enough to give eye medication of other things I've sometimes had success using a towel burrito. Have you heard of that?


It was a two man job and we only tried it with a smaller female cat who didn't totally object to being handled. I wouldn't risk it on an adult feral who has never been handled. If your kittens don't mind being petted maybe you could try wrapping them lightly in a blanket while you pet them so they get used to the idea? I'm sure they're going to need other kinds of medication in the future. Getting them used to being "purritoed" might be a good idea.
 

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I have caught and socialized a large number of ferals as many others here have done. Even much older ones. Some are easier than others but I was often surprised at how much the kitties settled into the safety of being away from outside threats and stress. Living outside usually leads to a much shorter lifespan so, IMHO you are totally on the mark about socializing them for a safe and loving home. I got 78 adopted. These are still young too. That can help. Lots of people here would be supportive of your efforts and willing to give any tips they have learned along the way to assist you.
You don’t mention if these are male/female. The female surgery is much more involved. I do give the pain meds to the ones here. If you are fast at scruffing and pilling, the first time is the easiest. Lol Calm confidence and doing it quickly helps. No hesitation. I would attempt this. There are alternatives though. Believe it or not, I have placed a pill down in front of a cat and had it eat it! They either assumed it was food or found something about it acceptable. Worth a try! Using something yummy helps too. I use a tiny dab of Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food. First I warm it just slightly. Then I give a tiny bit as a free treat. Next, I use a tiny dab to hide the pill. Most of the time it is licked right up. You want to present it quickly so the pill doesn’t have time to dissolve and the cat detect it in the food. Cats are not inclined to let you see pain. Surgery means some pain. Especially for complicated surgery. I can’t say you will never see a complication but I’ve done over a hundred spays and Neuter just the past two years and all got that medication without a problem. If, after the first pill you see adverse reactions then , of course, let the vet know. As I said though, I didn’t have any problems.
If none of this works for you to get the meds in, please do post back. We’d also like to hear how the kitties do through socializing and about your TNR efforts. Bravo to you for caring and taking action to help kitties! :clap2::goldstar:
 

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Hi tandl.

First, don't attempt to cut or crush the Onsior tablets. They are a sustained release/long acting product, and crushing would release too much of the medication at once, resulting in an overdose......and, this is a drug that can be dangerous if not carefully dosed.

Just don't do it.

Spaying female cats is highly invasive surgery and the resulting pain is usually quite severe and demands pain control. Castration of males should also be accompanied with pain control, but for a less severe degree of pain.

If you are unable to administer the Onsior, then please, one way or another, arrange for (at the very least, the females) to be given effective pain management medication.

Help might be forthcoming from/at
- this low-cost clinic....they usually supply an emerg contact​
- another cat rescue group​
- a Vet Tech in a private clinic​
- a friend who simply knows how to pill cats​
.
 

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Hi Tandl,
I also work with feral / rescues. It's been personally frustrating to me that a lot of the cats don't get pain management after surgery. As I understand, there was a time when it was taught / widely thought that animals do not experience pain as we do. From what I can tell, it seems a lot of people still believe that.

I'm not familiar with "Onsior" the drug you mentioned. My Vet has recommended Meloxicam for post op spay / neuter pain management. It does not taste bad and I have had good results adding it to the cat's food. You might consider asking your vet about Meloxicam. FYI, it is sold as "Metacam" for veterinary use.
 

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Onsior in cats is used as a pain/ anti inflammatory medication. Do not alter the tablet and use exactly as the veterinarian prescribed. It’s usually 1 tablet every 24 hours, NO sooner for a full grown cat. But it also depends on the cats age and weight so I
Implore you to follow veterinarian instruction for dosage.
 
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tandl

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Thank you all for your help & advice! I can already tell I'll be posting here a lot and reading a lot, as I just have so many questions. I love that there is a wealth of experience here, and I will shamelessly try to take advantage of it as I muddle through this first go-round for us, as I do hope I can help the other feral cats in our neighborhood.

I'm feeling like a failure today bc I haven't been able to get medication into them; except for one. There are two females and two males, and of course the one success I had was with a male. I had wrapped the pill in a bit of soft treat, mixed it in with some other treats and he ate quickly enough that he didn't notice or didn't mind the 'different' treat. I tried grabbing and pilling the others when that treat trick didn't work on anyone else but each time the pill just got wet and damaged and spit out and the cat was freaking out. I also was really concerned about being as forceful as I may have been with any other cat because I was worried that them struggling so much was going to potentially be way more damaging than not getting the pill --- I envisioned stitches popping etc.

I loved the story of the cat who just ate the pill when put in front of him. I have one cat like that, who literally will just put anything in his mouth. It's a nightmare in terms of having to make sure that there is nothing around that he shouldn't put in his mouth, but it is a DREAM when it comes to meds because I can just put in down, maybe in a shell of a pill pocket at most, and it's done.

But these feral babes are proving to be incredibly picky eaters, too, so I have yet to find a food that they are reliably eating a good enough amount of that I could put a pill in and expect it to sneak past. This will be an entirely new question that I'll make a new thread for, but I'm wondering if their pickiness is more a result of their trauma at being caught, coupled with trauma of being spayed/neutered, combined with pain...all of which can certainly make any animal lose their appetite...but at what point should those issues resolve enough and I need to be worried if they aren't eating much more. But, I'll make that a separate thread and give more info.

I did contact the rescue organization who did the spays/neuters but they are not open on weekends and directed any emergent issues to our emergency 24/7 animal hospital here. The emergency hospital said I could bring the cats there, which did not seem to be a great option to me as it would've involved another literal fight/trauma to get them into carriers, endure a 25 min car ride, and then honestly I'd get a bill for at least several hundred for them to give meds.

I asked the shelter who facilitated the spaying/neutering if they had any vet techs, or volunteers who were great at giving meds, who would be willing to come by, as I'd be happy to pay something. The shelter does not have a vet on staff. The shelter said there may be one vet tech able/willing, but she wouldn't be in until tomorrow, so I am waiting to hear from her.

My vet office was only open for half a day today, and said they didn't even have any appointments available until Monday anyhow.

I did text a cat sitter we have used in the past who either has directly participated in some TNR work, or is close to someone who has, as I remembered her sharing some info a while back. I wanted to see if she had any contacts who would be willing to come to our house for some pay, or if she was even more confident in her ability to pill a cat quickly and confidently. She said she didn't think she'd be great with ferals, but that she would put out a request within the people she knows who have done this before. So, another potential lead that could get me somewhere tomorrow.

The only silver lining is that tonight they all appear to feel at least a little better. The last two times I've been up there all four have been out exploring and playing; vs. before when all of them were doing a lot of sleeping. My last effort for tonight will be to try to hide the pill in their 'midnight' treat -- the one thing they usually do eat is some cut up roasted chicken breast warmed up a bit, or a tub of the Fancy Feast appetizers tuna. My concern there is that the pill is going to start dissolving pretty quickly, so if they don't scarf it down right away, I'll have another wasted pill. So far I've lost/wasted three pills that dissolved/broke down after food-hiding or pilling attempts. I have a total of 12 pills though, so I'm not worried about that as I can get more on Monday if needed.

I haven't even tried to give the dewormer yet. I figured the pain meds were much more pressing.

So, it's been a stressful day. I feel like I'm failing them. At least now I know in advance that if I can trap and neuter any of the other ferals around here, I will need a plan set up in advance to handle getting them meds if they aren't something that they will easily eat up.
 

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You are not failing them. You are saving them. Just keep working on it. Offering only a tiny midnight treat at first gives you a better chance of them scarfing up the pill. Then give them the rest of whatever they get at that time.
You should know that I have given meds hundreds of times in my lifetime but even so, I just battled some of mine when I had to give some pills. Using the towel wrap as Nora ham suggested, ( see the video in your post #2) is very helpful with many cats. I do have one Houdini cat who is very good at escaping but it can offer us a measure of reassurance. Especially if we are worried about stitches. Practice with all of this will help. If someone does offer help, ask for tips. I am always impressed at the local vet office when they give meds. Bloop and it’s done! :lol: They taught me how to give IV fluids and I was very nervous the first time. My cat knew it too! She immediately escaped and I contaminated a needle so I had to take her back to the vet for another lesson and needle. The next day, I just made up my mind that she really needed me to do it and I held firm and survived! Lol It was ten days of doing this and by the last day she surrendered. I think she just knew I had confidence in getting it done. Finally. We all learn as we go. I never thought I could stick a kitty! She forgave me too!
I’m sure you will get through this just fine.
I’m glad you enjoyed the story about my kitty that just ate the pain pill! Her name is Muffin and she’s big and powerful. Thank goodness she’ll eat her meds!

I do hope you will keep us posted and let us know anytime you think someone here can help. TCS is a great place. Lots of caring people here.
 
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tandl

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You are not failing them. You are saving them. Just keep working on it. Offering only a tiny midnight treat at first gives you a better chance of them scarfing up the pill. Then give them the rest of whatever they get at that time.
You should know that I have given meds hundreds of times in my lifetime but even so, I just battled some of mine when I had to give some pills. Using the towel wrap as Nora ham suggested, ( see the video in your post #2) is very helpful with many cats. I do have one Houdini cat who is very good at escaping but it can offer us a measure of reassurance. Especially if we are worried about stitches. Practice with all of this will help. If someone does offer help, ask for tips. I am always impressed at the local vet office when they give meds. Bloop and it’s done! :lol: They taught me how to give IV fluids and I was very nervous the first time. My cat knew it too! She immediately escaped and I contaminated a needle so I had to take her back to the vet for another lesson and needle. The next day, I just made up my mind that she really needed me to do it and I held firm and survived! Lol It was ten days of doing this and by the last day she surrendered. I think she just knew I had confidence in getting it done. Finally. We all learn as we go. I never thought I could stick a kitty! She forgave me too!
I’m sure you will get through this just fine.
I’m glad you enjoyed the story about my kitty that just ate the pain pill! Her name is Muffin and she’s big and powerful. Thank goodness she’ll eat her meds!

I do hope you will keep us posted and let us know anytime you think someone here can help. TCS is a great place. Lots of caring people here.
I had two 16 year old cats that had a multitude of health issues as they neared the end of their lives. Kidney disease, pancreatitis, 2 cancers, diabetes...and it was such a tough learning curve. It was the physical trickiness of figuring out how to do it, plus the emotional back and forth of what interventions are too much; when the 'treatments' are more traumatic than helpful, etc. After we made the decision to say goodbye (and I think we did choose the right time) I realized that I had a bit of PTSD from that whole period. I had become so frantically focused on finding the right way to do everything, to get all of the meds done properly, and neither cat was at all easy with taking pills! I became pretty comfortable with giving sub q fluids, got decent with the insulin shots (although i had to special order the smallest needles possible because my cat completely reacted to the 'normal size' and then the hospice vet was convinced I was going to mess up the conversion of the dose every darn time, which made me paranoid even though i never messed up the conversion!) I was a pro at giving buprenex shots (and I had so many moments over the last couple of days thinking I should give up with this onsior and just use some leftover buprenex shots....I didn't, but I wanted to!)

I remember taking the temptations treats that have the crunchy shell with a soft center and breaking them apart like a surgeon, scooping out the small amount of soft center, sticking miniscule pieces of whatever pill it was (think it was my cat's thyroid pill maybe, and probably one of the anti nausea pills as well) into the treat then putting the pieces back together...and we all know how SMALL those treats are. Then trying to hide it in a pile of normal treats and watch like a hawk to see if they'd eat it. We did it this way because pilling was so hard for me to do, and at that point I had read a decent amount of opinions about how pilling was actually not a good thing and could damage the throat...again, I was trying so hard to do everything 'right' and there were so many versions of 'right'! Now, in retrospect, I think I would've really tried more with the pilling! There were several days when I did pill my female cat, and she was a champion at holding that pill in her mouth LONG after I was convinced she had swallowed I remember literally spending hours trying to hide pills. I remember missing social events, scheduling my entire day around whatever was going on with the cats on that day, etc. And I don't regret it at all, but it was hard, and I think I carry some of that anxiety with me still, so my confidence certainly affects my performance. I don't doubt at all that I'm not nearly as quick or decisive as I probably need to be.

Anyhow, I'm rambling, but mostly I'm in awe of people who can do this dozens and dozens (and hundreds!) of times!

I hope I can get more comfortable, because this is a huge hurdle for me in thinking about future rescues. The mama of this litter is very likely pregnant again, and I want to try to catch her and the kittens (if we know where they are born, or when/if she brings them to our house like she did with this litter) WAY earlier than I did with this group.
 

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tandl -

IMO, your focus immediately needs to be on getting pain medication into at least the two females.

I'm afraid that you just don't grasp how severe pain from an ovariohysterectomy can be.

It can be excruciating.

Surely, there must be someone who can help you.

You spoke about no appointment being available at the Vet clinic - you don't need an appointment, you need 10 seconds of a Vet Tech's time to pill each cat.

I got lost in your last post. This, today, right in front of you....is about these two little cats who must be enduring just terrible pain.

Please get assistance now.
.
 
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You gave IV fluids? Bravo! I was intimidated by that in the same way that you are hesitant about pilling. We tend to hesitate and the cats sense that. You can totally do this though. If you got through so much stuff before, I just know you will find a way to get this accomplished. You were very creative before. Cutting up things to insert a pill is excellent. I have found that if they crunch a pill that is hidden in other crunchy stuff they might eat it. That pill does have a taste though. Have you tried wrapping them up to pill them? You know, I think that if we think a lot about the process, it’s harder. I have one cat that is verrrry difficult. It works better if she is sleeping hard and I just put my fingers into the corners of her mouth quickly and pill her. Maybe that would work? The baby food thing works really well for most of mine. They have trouble turning that yummy stuff down. I might have to stick a wet pill in a second little dollop but just keep trying until you show them it is a must. Fingers crossed!
 

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Maybe you could contact your vet and ask if pain medication is really necessary? If it is, ask if they have a better solution to pilling these cats. All of the cats I TNR'd were just fine with a long lasting pain killing injection after surgery. If they are young and rambunctious and all in the same room together pain medication might not be the best option, as they might be tempted to play too rough and risk pulling their stitches out.

I agree, getting these kittens socialised and ready for adoption is more of a priority in this case. It's great that you want to help the mother cat and any future kittens too. Don't worry too much if you're not able to get the onisor into these cats, a little discomfort never killed anyone. You're doing a great job with them.

:goldstar:

Contact your vet and tell them you're finding it impossible to give them regular doses on onisor and ask what they suggest.
 
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tandl

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tandl -

IMO, your focus immediately needs to be on getting pain medication into at least the two females.

I'm afraid that you just don't grasp how severe pain from an ovariohysterectomy can be.

It can be excruciating.

Surely, there must be someone who can help you.

You spoke about no appointment being available at the Vet clinic - you don't need an appointment, you need 10 seconds of a Vet Tech's time to pill each cat.

I got lost in your last post. This, today, right in front of you....is about these two little cats who must be enduring just terrible pain.

Please get assistance now.
.

My focus absolutely has been on getting these kitties the appropriate medication. I frankly ignored a lot of other responsibilities and plans this weekend, which made for some unhappy kids/husband, but hopefully it will even out in the end.

I have had two surgeries to deal with fertility issues, C-sections, & a complicated hernia repair. So while I've never had my entire uterus removed, I do think I have a sense of how painful invasive abdominal surgery can be. Knowing that, I'm amazed that *all* they prescribe is an NSAID. I don't understand why a day or two of narcotics after these surgeries isn't routine.

I was fully committed to getting the medications in them, but I was limited in my resources. I don't have the network of helpful, experienced people that maybe others do if they have been involved in rescues/feral cat work before. I don't have relationships with a vet beyond the vet who sees my 5 house cats on an annual basis, and as we moved up into this area 2 years ago, even that relationship is nothing beyond seeing them maybe 4 times. While i understand that giving meds to 4 cats would not be terribly time consuming for a vet tech, I couldn't just show up without an appointment and expect to be seen. When I called to ask for help/suggestions (again, my first request was whether any vet tech would be available to come to me after work, etc. for some payment). There was no one that was interested in that. When I explained that these were feral rescues, they said they didn't generally work with feral cats anyhow. They said I could go ahead and make an appointment to bring them in, but it would be a new patient appointment and they didn't have any open until this week.

While I do have an acquaintance who works in the shelter, and we have familiarity with them as we fostered a litter for them last summer, that relationship isn't one that made any of them jump and run out to help. They were one of the first contacts I made -- to ask if there were any vet techs who would be willing to come to our house. There were none at that time. I could have taken the cats to the shelter as there was a vet tech there on Sat., but at that time I was really hoping that i could find someone who would come to us, as getting the cats into carriers was really hard. So, I weighed that while I looked at other options. The shelter did comment that if I had planned on releasing them back outside, the instructions would have been to do that 24 hours after surgery anyhow, so perhaps not getting their meds wasn't dire. There seems to be quite a bit of difference in how pain needs are assessed, which as a newbie to this process, adds a lot of confusion.

Since we did not work with any official cat rescue/feral cat organizations, I didn't have any automatic relationships there, but I did contact every one I could find in our area online or on Facebook to ask for help. We didn't get them spayed/neutered through a private vet--it was a group that offers low-cost spays and neuters several times a year. Their post-op instructions gave their number, but they are only open 8-8 M-F. In case of after hours issues or emergencies, they direct people to the local emergency animal hospital.

That is one option that was open to me from the start. I could have wrangled the cats back into carriers and taken them on a 20 mile drive down to the emergency hospital. They are great -- I've been there many times before --but they are expensive. Even 'just' for something like having someone else administer medications. I would have to go through their ER section, which like a human ER, often means a wait of hour +. The cost was a hindrance. There are situations in which cost would have been way less of a factor -- but in this situation I was weighing and balancing. While I knew they had to be in pain, by Sat. evening they were all up and playing, chasing balls, jumping up and down from the cat tree...so, again, the situation didn't seem to be as dire as to deal with carriers and a bill of several hundred dollars +.

While I have friends with cats, none of them have ever taken ferals in from outside and none felt competent in attempting this. I don't blame them -- frankly if I wasn't 'into' this and someone asked me for help, I'd say that i wasn't the right person to ask either!

I say all of this not to give a list of excuses, or to say that there was no answer and I gave up, as I did not give up. But it was a process and one that didn't produce help as quickly as others may have been able to find with better contacts/real relationship with a vet vs. going through low cost spay/neuter clinics. Throughout this time I was continuing to try to get them to take the medication myself. I have impressive scratches all over my arms and one (thankfully minor) bite mark in exchange!

I did finally have success when my request for help on one of the feral cat rescue Facebook pages in conjunction with my asking a petsitter we've used in the past connected, and a woman contacted me. She was available to come to me yesterday afternoon, and I gladly took her up on that offer.

An hour later, both females had received their Onsior, and all 4 had received their dewormer liquid. It was not easy, even for her, and we had to be creative in catching several of them, and even with that all 4 escaped the first and sometimes 2nd and 3rd times we got them in hand. But the woman was patient and determined and definitely had a better and more confident technique. It was an incredible relief.

I'm very grateful to everyone here who gave great suggestions, guidance and encouragement! On to the next battle in this process...
 
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tandl

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Here is a guide on how the process works with your status and what you can and cannot do over time. I can't help with the rest, but thought I could at least give you some guidelines on editing/etc.
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Thank you! Definitely helpful-a few more posts before I have editing privileges!
 

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I'm a wee bit late, however...
My focus absolutely has been on getting these kitties the appropriate medication. I frankly ignored a lot of other responsibilities and plans this weekend, which made for some unhappy kids/husband, but hopefully it will even out in the end.
I personally think, ...nah, I know, after reading this thread, that you have been doing a ROCKIN' awesome job of taking on something you were unfamiliar with, learning about it as fast as anybody could possibly do and applying that knowledge.

Huge kudos to you. Those cats are incredibly fortunate to have you in their corner :)!
 
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