Outdoor cat paw injury

tristessa

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I wrote an entire paragraph and then accidently refreshed the page. Grrr.

I have 4 outdoor cats and 1 indoor cat. My outdoor cats are TNR ferals. They have become quite friendly over the past year. It is a mom cat and her 3 kittens, now cats. Mom is about 2 years old and her kittens are now 15 months old(1 year, 3 months). Unfortunately, we have not been able to get them to adjust to indoor life but they will come inside to eat. One of the kittens, Taco, has become quite mischievous and has racked up at least $2,500 in vet bills since January. I took all cats to my regular vet to get all their vaccinations and I pay an arm and a leg for Revolution as a preventative. Taco manages to find trouble no matter what. In January, I took him to emergency because he was limping, in February he had ulcers in his mouth, and in June he came home with a deep abcessed cut under his armpit. Recently an abcessed paw injury in August.

The paw injury is the latest and I had to take him to the vet for treatment. After shaving the paw area to get a better look she gave Taco an antibiotic shot and told me to soak the paw with a towel and warm water twice a day. Hes become so naughty at the vet, (he's been there 6 times this year) that she gave me a script for gabapentin for him to take before his visits. Even then, hes tough to handle for them. The first 2 days that he had the injury, I did ask the vet if I could give the gabapentin to him at home to keep him calm and in the house to heal for 2 days. He's back to outdoor cat status and the swollen abcess has gone down. Now it seems to be some infection but just scabs. I have noticed that the wound seems very exposed. It is located behind his paw pads but before his carpal pad. I do clean it but he always tries to lick it alot after I clean it. Im worried that he isn't allowing it to scab up and be protected. Tonight he came for dinner and it was dirty and gross looking. I cleaned it and sprayed some Vetericyn hydrogel on the wound. To keep him from licking it, I forced a cone on him. ( So. Much. Fun. ) He freaked out and I had to give him a gabapentin to calm him down. Since he's sleeping now, I was able to take the cone off.

So, where do I go from here? Do I let him outside and hope for the best, continuing to clean it every time he comes to eat? Or do I call the vet for more gabapentin and keep him drugged so he will be calm enough to stay inside with a cone on?

The vet is tired of hearing from me because they do not seem to approve of outdoor cats. (I totally get it, my cats were always indoor but these were feral cats that I had TNRd.) So, I thought maybe someone on here can give me some advice.

If I keep him in for any length of time, he will need to be drugged up the entire time because he has high anxiety about being trapped inside.

Including a picture of the paw wond after I cleaned it and a picture of the wound before the vet shaved it. You cant tell, but the skin was raised and there was an abcess underneath. This wound was found last Thursday. Called vet Friday for advice told to clean and soak with epsom salts daily until Monday when I was able to get an appointment. It is exactly one week later.
 

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silent meowlook

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Hi

For that to heal, you need to keep him inside and with a cone on. It would be best to keep him in a large cage. Use only shredded paper instead of clumping cat litter, as the litter will stick to his wound. Once it is cleaned, I would just keep it dry and not soak it again. There should be a towel that you change daily in the bottom of the cage. It would be best for him to have some antibiotics if you think you can get them into him. If not an injection of a long-acting antibiotic may help. It shouldn’t take long for it to heal if you just bite the bullet and keep him confined inside. It should be fine to give him gabapentin while he is in the cage. Don’t give it o him before you let him go back outside though, it will make him sleepy.

I am sure you are aware of the dangers outside cats’ face. Obviously, it would be best if they were inside but if that isn’t possible consider building them a nice cattery. At least it would be a way they could enjoy the outdoors yet be safe from predators, provided it is built coyote, dog and raccoon safe.
 
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tristessa

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Thanks for the quick reply! That is what I am going to do. The pills keep him subdued and I do have a large cage in my basement. The vet did give him a shot of covenia so he has had an antibiotic. The gabapentin seemed to work very well last night and he didn't even mind the cone. He slept most of the night and his paw is already looking better since he hasn't been getting it dirty or cleaning it.
 

fionasmom

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I have outdoor TNRed ferals, not sociable and not adoptable, one of whom had some issues with injuries. I did have medication for him, both oral and topical, the healing was only mediocre, he reinjured himself or otherwise got himself in trouble and never fully healed. It is tricky to handle these situations if they are not inside.

As for your vet, it is generally agreed that having cats indoor only is best. However, if that is not possible, you have still tried to take care of these cats and have paid some hefty vet bills, so you deserve respect for that and should not feel as if you can't continue to contact them as needed.
 
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tristessa

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I have outdoor TNRed ferals, not sociable and not adoptable, one of whom had some issues with injuries. I did have medication for him, both oral and topical, the healing was only mediocre, he reinjured himself or otherwise got himself in trouble and never fully healed. It is tricky to handle these situations if they are not inside.

As for your vet, it is generally agreed that having cats indoor only is best. However, if that is not possible, you have still tried to take care of these cats and have paid some hefty vet bills, so you deserve respect for that and should not feel as if you can't continue to contact them as needed.
Thanks, I am doing what I can for him and the other 3 cats I care for. I have so much respect for those that care for entire colonies.
 
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