Seeking help weighing decision to bring feral cat(s) inside

tarasgirl06

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Clearly, a lot of people have never gone through a lot of the things that I have been through in life! or that a lot of others have. Seeing the big picture is critical. SURVIVAL is the first basic. Everything else comes after that. Thinking of the perfect life scenario needs to be thrown out the door. We don't live perfect lives. Certainly these feline refugees don't, and haven't. Think of going forward, not backward. What has been is over. Now is the time to ensure their survival as much as possible and the rest comes later.
 

Margot Lane

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I’m so very grateful for your prayers and thoughtful comments. It was so good of you to post the info about ringworm fionasmom fionasmom . I had read a bunch of stuff about how terrible it can be so it was great to have the perspective that it may not necessarily be that bad. It breaks my heart to not be able to give him the love he needs but it was touching that you mentioned he will still know I’m his friend. I certainly still worry about the feral kitties especially because I can’t test them and even if I knew they had it I couldn’t give them any type of topical treatment or baths. I still don’t think I can really risk the possibility of repeated exposure to Puffy if any of them are potentially infected or are carriers either. I am doing my best with very limited time to prevent spreading but I just don’t have time to continually disinfect my clothes and everything I touch. I am not sure when I’ll be able to get a vet to check Mallow but I certainly need some help from someone with more experience and knowledge if it does turn out to be ringworm. I still worry this might be too much to deal with. I don’t know if or when my mom might start improving to where I can shift a little focus back on the kitties. Even if she turns a corner, she will need a whole lot of care and attention for the foreseeable future. I don’t have any idea what I can do with the feral kitties but it would kill me to have to release them back outside after all this. I talked to the construction site supervisor last week and they expect to be removing the tree pile this upcoming week. I could release them after that but their field is already about halfway gone and they would no longer have shelter so who knows where they would go. At the same time I don’t know how long I can just keep them so confined. Without having any direct interest or involvement from an organization with better resources, I’m not sure if there’s a better option with what I’m up against.
Thinking a lot about your moms and you and hope it’s all going OK. Hey at least these lucky cats are getting food and shelter, which is more than a lot of strays get! You are doing great, don’t give up! Plus they’ll be there to comfort you & keep you going in between mom visits. Wishing you the best! :wave3:
 

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We are all thinking about you, Mom and the kitties. I know how hard it can be to keep a lot going at once but hang in there. You have come so far in such a short time and things do change. We are all here for you and checking in. Many of us have gone through some very hard ups and downs but I can tell you that , looking back, I am grateful every day that I stayed the course with these kitties. I would not change a thing that I did and they give me great comfort when things are hard now.Our hearts are with you all.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Thank you for checking in and for continuing to think about me and the tree pile kitties. You kind words and thoughts mean more than you know. After 38 days in the ICU, my mom passed away April 29th. We had the funeral on Friday. I was able to make the 3+ hour round trip down to the hospital to be with her 35 of those days. The week leading up to funeral was a constant whirlwind of trying to make all the arrangements. I only mention all that here because, as anticipated, I have not been able to spend time with the kitties (or on this site) like I would have wanted and unfortunately still have not yet been able to improve their accommodations. I'm just starting to work on that again as of yesterday. I really hope I do still have your support as I try to move forward- I’m going to need all the help and advice I can get. As Margot Lane Margot Lane mentioned , while stressful at times in its own right, my time spent caring for these kitties has been a bit of a reprieve from the heavy weight of dealing with my mom’s situation and was maybe they only thing that actually took my mind off of that ordeal for brief moments.

Just to recap, I still have Lippy and Milly each in their own large dog crate and Tuck and Stormy each in their own cattery. The catteries provide a little more vertical space but very little horizontal space. I still have not renamed any of them, even though we discovered Milly is a boy and Tuck and Lippy are girls. All 3 of the girls were pregnant at the time I trapped them so I got them just in time to avoid a much bigger problem. As a reminder, Stormy is Lippy and Milly's mom and Tuck is a small, spirited little tuxedo kitty that tried so hard to fit in with the family and became a playmate of Lippy and Milly over the summer and early fall months.

Thus, the tale of the tree pile kitties continues. By the way, very soon after I got all 4 kitties in my house, the construction crews brought in the earth movers and graders. The once lovely, peaceful fields are now gone and the ground has been completely leveled, graded, etc. with all the sewer and road infrastructure now going in. Dump trucks constantly bringing in huge piles of dirt and gravel, front end loaders, giant back hoes, and bulldozers now cover all the areas these kitties previously enjoyed as their territory and playground. Oddly, they’ve yet to remove the tree pile but they pushed it all into a more consolidated space and have been dumping all kinds of construction debris on top and around it. I do not know how these little tree pile kitties would have been able to survive all that or where they might have gone to find new shelter and relative safety. The outlook was not good but now that I’m fully aware of what they would have had to face out there, I’m really glad I took the action that I did, even if these first several weeks have been anything but ideal for them. As tarasgirl06 mentioned, it came down to survival and I’ve taken comfort in knowing they are safe and warm and have had their basic needs taken care of.

It was pretty clear during the first couple of weeks that I would have my hands full trying to keep up with just the bare minimum- I felt like realistically all I was going to be able to do was try to make sure they had the basics and hope they could make the best of it. I have only been able to go in to the "kitty room" once a day. Even the time of day hasn’t been consistent but I knew my routine had to at least consist of cleaning their water dishes and adding fresh water, scooping their litter boxes and replacing litter as needed, serving a small plate of wet food, and topping off or refilling their dry food. At various times, I had other challenges to deal with but also managed to introduce toys for each of them- hanging toys, kickers, random stuffed toys and balls, etc. as well as a couple of the ball in track type toys that I set up around the crates. While I would take care of things in the room, this is basically how things played out: Lippy would hiss and sometimes growl but for the most part would stay tucked away in her kitty cave while I went about opening the crate, carefully removing the litter box, water dish, cleaning, and replacing food. Stormy and Tuck would hide away in their respective kitty caves and not make a peep. The difference was that while Tuck always sits up on her top shelf and watches me, Stormy hides and remains as out of sight as possible. But then there was Milly. Oh Milly. He was a constant battle. The growling, swatting, hissing, and constant confrontation made it a real challenge to take care things for him. I had to use various implements such as a piece of plywood fashioned into a shield with a handle, a grabber tool, etc. and other strategies just to keep myself safe and be able to get into his crate for the basic care routine. Not to mention his penchant for excavating his litter box was only rivaled by the construction crew outside digging the trenches for the water/sewer lines etc. :)

Fast forward to today. If you can believe it, Milly is an absolute sweetheart. Lippy and Milly both will gently lick food right off my fingers. Lippy meows at me every time I go into the room with the sweetest, cutest little meow you can imagine. Lippy and Milly both greet me at the front of their crate and will normally just relax on top of their kitty caves or play care-free while I’m in the room. They will also even eat treats out of my hand. Sometimes they’ll still hiss if I make a sudden movement, stand up too fast, or bang something against their crates accidentally. But they love to play. They will interact with me and play with dangly toys and things that I bring in for them. Lippy was the one that came around the quickest. After a while, she would lay in her cave and bat playfully at the little poof ball hanging at the entrance of her cave. Then after a few weeks, she started coming out of her cave while I was still in the room. Eventually she would eat and/or drink while I was in the room but usually would quickly go back into her cave. Then she started not really caring that I was in the room and started greeting me at her front of the crate as I came in. It really became a challenge to get to her litter box and food/water dishes because she was just no longer scared or bashful and I had to worry about her trying to escape as I opened the door even with me sitting right there! I've been able to get her used to a certain routine with treats and toys to entice her to the rear of the crate so I can get in without too much risk of her darting out. Mostly she seems to cooperate now and will even wait patiently in or on top of her cave. After a while, Milly started behaving the same way as Lippy. I guess he just takes his queues from her. He seems to have a protective instinct when it comes to Milly and as long as Milly is fine and happy, he seems to follow along. I guess this is sort of that social bridge taking place. It's been quite a thing to watch. Milly still likes to dig in his litter box but keeps it under control a lot better now. I think it's probably the male hormones calming down too, as I believe tarasgirl06 tarasgirl06 talked about before.

Unfortunately, the progress sort of stops there. I feel like the catteries may have been a bad choice because they are not conducive to any sort of interaction. Tuck and Stormy are still more or less the same as they have been all along. In the beginning, I figured Tuck would come around the fastest. She did not appear scared like the others, never exhibited any aggressive behavior, and always just seemed to be calm. As I mentioned, she sits up on the top level while I clean the litter box (which on the floor level) and take care of the food/water (on the second level shelf). She will not engage if I put a toy up there or try to entice with treats or tasty wet food. Sometimes she will slowly back up as if to say, "I'm calm but I'm not really ok with this." Stormy has a kitty cave on the bottom level next to her litter box. Her cave entrance has always faced the back wall so I can’t see her and she can’t see me when she’s in there. She will softly hiss at times while I open the door to get the litter box out. But that’s the extent of my interaction with her. She comes out as soon as I leave the room.

So that's about where things are at. What I’m debating at this point is whether I should just take a chance and some or all of them out into the open room soon or go about trying to build additional accommodations to give them each more space. I don’t know exactly how I’ll go about things either way. Both options have challenges that I haven’t really been able to work out in my head. I worry the transition to the open room could be problematic and may reverse much of Milly and Lippy’s progress. However, I can’t figure out how to move forward with trying to touch, pet or handle them while they are still in those crates. I really need to figure out a way to interact with Stormy and Tuck without upsetting them. They all just need more space, period. If I do go with an intermediate option of bigger enclosures or whatever, I would like to allow Milly and Lippy to be together. Do you all see that as a good thing? Or are there potential troubles that could make it a bad idea? Please help me think through some of these things with all your wonderful experience and knowledge. Thank you and hopefully I’ll be able to post a lot more regularly now. I certainly feel like I’ll need your support maybe more now than ever.
 

tarasgirl06

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Thank you for checking in and for continuing to think about me and the tree pile kitties. You kind words and thoughts mean more than you know. After 38 days in the ICU, my mom passed away April 29th. We had the funeral on Friday. I was able to make the 3+ hour round trip down to the hospital to be with her 35 of those days. The week leading up to funeral was a constant whirlwind of trying to make all the arrangements. I only mention all that here because, as anticipated, I have not been able to spend time with the kitties (or on this site) like I would have wanted and unfortunately still have not yet been able to improve their accommodations. I'm just starting to work on that again as of yesterday. I really hope I do still have your support as I try to move forward- I’m going to need all the help and advice I can get. As Margot Lane Margot Lane mentioned , while stressful at times in its own right, my time spent caring for these kitties has been a bit of a reprieve from the heavy weight of dealing with my mom’s situation and was maybe they only thing that actually took my mind off of that ordeal for brief moments.

Just to recap, I still have Lippy and Milly each in their own large dog crate and Tuck and Stormy each in their own cattery. The catteries provide a little more vertical space but very little horizontal space. I still have not renamed any of them, even though we discovered Milly is a boy and Tuck and Lippy are girls. All 3 of the girls were pregnant at the time I trapped them so I got them just in time to avoid a much bigger problem. As a reminder, Stormy is Lippy and Milly's mom and Tuck is a small, spirited little tuxedo kitty that tried so hard to fit in with the family and became a playmate of Lippy and Milly over the summer and early fall months.

Thus, the tale of the tree pile kitties continues. By the way, very soon after I got all 4 kitties in my house, the construction crews brought in the earth movers and graders. The once lovely, peaceful fields are now gone and the ground has been completely leveled, graded, etc. with all the sewer and road infrastructure now going in. Dump trucks constantly bringing in huge piles of dirt and gravel, front end loaders, giant back hoes, and bulldozers now cover all the areas these kitties previously enjoyed as their territory and playground. Oddly, they’ve yet to remove the tree pile but they pushed it all into a more consolidated space and have been dumping all kinds of construction debris on top and around it. I do not know how these little tree pile kitties would have been able to survive all that or where they might have gone to find new shelter and relative safety. The outlook was not good but now that I’m fully aware of what they would have had to face out there, I’m really glad I took the action that I did, even if these first several weeks have been anything but ideal for them. As tarasgirl06 mentioned, it came down to survival and I’ve taken comfort in knowing they are safe and warm and have had their basic needs taken care of.

It was pretty clear during the first couple of weeks that I would have my hands full trying to keep up with just the bare minimum- I felt like realistically all I was going to be able to do was try to make sure they had the basics and hope they could make the best of it. I have only been able to go in to the "kitty room" once a day. Even the time of day hasn’t been consistent but I knew my routine had to at least consist of cleaning their water dishes and adding fresh water, scooping their litter boxes and replacing litter as needed, serving a small plate of wet food, and topping off or refilling their dry food. At various times, I had other challenges to deal with but also managed to introduce toys for each of them- hanging toys, kickers, random stuffed toys and balls, etc. as well as a couple of the ball in track type toys that I set up around the crates. While I would take care of things in the room, this is basically how things played out: Lippy would hiss and sometimes growl but for the most part would stay tucked away in her kitty cave while I went about opening the crate, carefully removing the litter box, water dish, cleaning, and replacing food. Stormy and Tuck would hide away in their respective kitty caves and not make a peep. The difference was that while Tuck always sits up on her top shelf and watches me, Stormy hides and remains as out of sight as possible. But then there was Milly. Oh Milly. He was a constant battle. The growling, swatting, hissing, and constant confrontation made it a real challenge to take care things for him. I had to use various implements such as a piece of plywood fashioned into a shield with a handle, a grabber tool, etc. and other strategies just to keep myself safe and be able to get into his crate for the basic care routine. Not to mention his penchant for excavating his litter box was only rivaled by the construction crew outside digging the trenches for the water/sewer lines etc. :)

Fast forward to today. If you can believe it, Milly is an absolute sweetheart. Lippy and Milly both will gently lick food right off my fingers. Lippy meows at me every time I go into the room with the sweetest, cutest little meow you can imagine. Lippy and Milly both greet me at the front of their crate and will normally just relax on top of their kitty caves or play care-free while I’m in the room. They will also even eat treats out of my hand. Sometimes they’ll still hiss if I make a sudden movement, stand up too fast, or bang something against their crates accidentally. But they love to play. They will interact with me and play with dangly toys and things that I bring in for them. Lippy was the one that came around the quickest. After a while, she would lay in her cave and bat playfully at the little poof ball hanging at the entrance of her cave. Then after a few weeks, she started coming out of her cave while I was still in the room. Eventually she would eat and/or drink while I was in the room but usually would quickly go back into her cave. Then she started not really caring that I was in the room and started greeting me at her front of the crate as I came in. It really became a challenge to get to her litter box and food/water dishes because she was just no longer scared or bashful and I had to worry about her trying to escape as I opened the door even with me sitting right there! I've been able to get her used to a certain routine with treats and toys to entice her to the rear of the crate so I can get in without too much risk of her darting out. Mostly she seems to cooperate now and will even wait patiently in or on top of her cave. After a while, Milly started behaving the same way as Lippy. I guess he just takes his queues from her. He seems to have a protective instinct when it comes to Milly and as long as Milly is fine and happy, he seems to follow along. I guess this is sort of that social bridge taking place. It's been quite a thing to watch. Milly still likes to dig in his litter box but keeps it under control a lot better now. I think it's probably the male hormones calming down too, as I believe tarasgirl06 tarasgirl06 talked about before.

Unfortunately, the progress sort of stops there. I feel like the catteries may have been a bad choice because they are not conducive to any sort of interaction. Tuck and Stormy are still more or less the same as they have been all along. In the beginning, I figured Tuck would come around the fastest. She did not appear scared like the others, never exhibited any aggressive behavior, and always just seemed to be calm. As I mentioned, she sits up on the top level while I clean the litter box (which on the floor level) and take care of the food/water (on the second level shelf). She will not engage if I put a toy up there or try to entice with treats or tasty wet food. Sometimes she will slowly back up as if to say, "I'm calm but I'm not really ok with this." Stormy has a kitty cave on the bottom level next to her litter box. Her cave entrance has always faced the back wall so I can’t see her and she can’t see me when she’s in there. She will softly hiss at times while I open the door to get the litter box out. But that’s the extent of my interaction with her. She comes out as soon as I leave the room.

So that's about where things are at. What I’m debating at this point is whether I should just take a chance and some or all of them out into the open room soon or go about trying to build additional accommodations to give them each more space. I don’t know exactly how I’ll go about things either way. Both options have challenges that I haven’t really been able to work out in my head. I worry the transition to the open room could be problematic and may reverse much of Milly and Lippy’s progress. However, I can’t figure out how to move forward with trying to touch, pet or handle them while they are still in those crates. I really need to figure out a way to interact with Stormy and Tuck without upsetting them. They all just need more space, period. If I do go with an intermediate option of bigger enclosures or whatever, I would like to allow Milly and Lippy to be together. Do you all see that as a good thing? Or are there potential troubles that could make it a bad idea? Please help me think through some of these things with all your wonderful experience and knowledge. Thank you and hopefully I’ll be able to post a lot more regularly now. I certainly feel like I’ll need your support maybe more now than ever.
Firstly, my heartfelt condolences for your loss, ChirpySquirrel ChirpySquirrel . My mom was my best friend and there isn't a day that I don't miss her. If a mom is a good and loving mom, that relationship is unique and the very deepest bond. I talk to my mom every day in my heart, and pray for her, and know that she is watching over, protecting, and informing me every moment. I hope and pray for that for you as well.
You've been doing a heroic job! and I know Milly, Lippy, Stormy, and Tuck are VERY grateful to you for keeping them safe, watered, fed, comfortable, and loved. If you can let them out in the room knowing they are secure and cannot escape, and you want to try that, I don't see why not, when you have time and the ability to stay with them and concentrate on how they are doing. If not, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." They are safe, comfortable, watered, fed, and loved. They have a whole future ahead of them. I would not worry.
And as to their names, I think they're all just fine. They know their names by now, too. And Milly the Fierce? Well, our General Mark Milley comes to mind. ;) I wouldn't change a thing.
Keep up the great work. And take time to take care of you, too. It's very important at this time. We all got through the experience of loss very uniquely and personally, but I'm glad you feel that having this sweet family has been good for you. It's certaily been good for them.
 

Margot Lane

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Chirpy Squirrel, I always see anyone w/ multiple cats as an unsung hero, so THANK YOU, and thank you for grappling w/ this on top of losing your mom, and am glad the cats provide your with healing power. So some of your cats are pregnant right now? Be sure to get them all spade and neutered if not: many people have mentioned at TCS how quickly a cat can get pregnant again! Doing this will also help to relieve any tensions between the cats. The first thing I thought of as far as the construction going on next to you is: hey, if folks are moving in, maybe they will want cats, or like cats and can help you! All takes is finding a lead on one obsessed, crazy cat person who will have all the advice, ideas and leads to help you: I am SURE that person exists near you. Personally I still think it’s early days yet as far as a feral becoming more tame, so, I wouldn’t stress it. Trust takes time, and it sounds like you have a really good gut instinct for knowing when the time is right to test the waters for taking a cat or cats inside. Best of luck, one day at a time, and keep writing; want to know how this ends!
 

Jcatbird

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I am so very sorry about your mom! I lost the last female in the generation beyond me Christmas before last. My step mom. I am not the elder female is a very small family and none are in close proximity. My sympathies and heart are with you.
After losing my daughter, I found great comfort in the kitties here. They read us well. It seems the kitties there read you too. I have sensed from the start that you would handle them all very well and you have! No doubt about that. Not everyone can manage a large feral colony but you are amazing! If you go back and read all your early posts, it may surprise you at the progress you have made. I do that sometimes myself. Looking back at all the kitties here when I first found them and how they are now lifts my heart. They are happy, safe and loved. What more can any living creature ask for?
Milly! I have a male named Dolly. Lol He hid during mating time outside and I thought HE was avoiding getting pregnant. He was avoiding the males but for other reasons. Bee was also a male that I mistook for female. His floof hid the truth. Lol The names stuck. I now tell people that Dolly is Dali as in the artist instead of explaining the whole story. However, Dolly loves the song, “ Hello Dolly!” Nearly every feral I brought in learned that laps are nice. One is still wary but bonded to other cats. They are all very close now.
I gradually let each cat begin to investigate the others and get to know me. My house is now one United home. It takes time but they do adjust. We have squabbles at times. Nothing much though. Sort of like kids arguing over toys or telling a parent, “He touched me! Tell him to move over! This is my chair!” Little things. Some prefer human contact over cat contact and some prefer cat snuggles but we are a family and each one loves the others. Slow and steady wins. We climb one mountain at a time but the view from the top is awesome! You’ll get there. You’re great at climbing this mountain.:hugs:
 

fionasmom

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I am very sorry for the loss of your mother. You have clearly given so much care to others in your life and are a remarkable person.

It is good to hear that adjustments are happening and I agree that if you can start to allow a little more freedom that it will move you to the next stage of a good relationship with the cats. I think that the key word may be "some." I would not let all the cats out at once, just the two who are more sociable with you. If you can do that, it will let you modify the catteries. Maybe only let one cat out at a time at first into the closed room.

They are very lucky that they found you. Trying desperately to stay in that tree pile would have been the end of them.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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So some of your cats are pregnant right now? Be sure to get them all spade and neutered if not: many people have mentioned at TCS how quickly a cat can get pregnant again! Doing this will also help to relieve any tensions between the cats.
Oh no, they were each spayed/neutered within the first week or so after I trapped them. So that meant the pregnancies were terminated. Sad but unfortunately necessary.

Really nice to hear from you again fionasmom fionasmom and thank you for your kind words.

I think I'm leaning towards trying to expand their current accommodations as an intermediate step on the path to letting them out into the room. I'll have a chance to see how they will do with a little more space to play and maybe the more gradual change will be easier on them. I think I will combine Milly and Lippy into one space with a common area in the middle with their crates attached on opposite ends. I'm debating whether I should put both litter boxes in one crate on one end and then have their food station in the other crate on the other end OR try to keep it so they have their own litter boxes in their own crates on each end still and maybe try to do their food station in the middle.

I do have a concern. Milly has an issue with his eye. It's been like this for 3 days now where it appears his 3rd eyelid is stuck and is reddish and swollen. It seems like it has been getting worse each day and seeing it tonight has me really starting to worry. Not sure if anyone will recall from quite a while back but Milly had a bad eye injury at one time which appeared to have healed up. I'm guessing this is related but I'm not sure. Looking online, it seems like it may be something known as "cherry eye". Does anyone have any experience with this or know anything about it? I'm, of course, concerned that if Milly needs treatment, trying to get him in a carrier and take him to the vet could severely damage all the progress he's made to this point.
image1.jpeg
 

fionasmom

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I noticed the eye right away. The problem with these conditions (and it seems as if this is not resolving itself) is that they get worse, the eye gets more painful and dry, and it does not go away on its own. If it is an early case of cherry eye, it can sometimes be handled with medication. Can you get Milly into a carrier? I don't know if there is any chance that a vet would prescribe from a picture.

Putting Milly in a carrier and going to the vet will upset him; however, the relief that he will get with the eye will probably help him to understand that there was a reason for the visit.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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I'm really not sure about getting him in a carrier. He's comfortable with me and will engage in play, wants treats, licks food off my finger, and even tries to grab my hand and pull it towards him (I managed to scratch under his chin for a brief moment yesterday when he did this), but he's still quite skittish when it comes to unfamiliar objects or anything new. I wish there was a carrier that allowed for a comfy bed on top. That would be more like his current cat cave, which is pretty crucial with how limited the space is in his crate. Maybe I'll have to try to modify one and try to start feeding him inside. There was never any time for me to contemplate this before even though I had the worry in the back of my mind about how I would handle any medical concerns. I've reached out to the vet who helped me with all their initial work including spaying/neutering. I just really hope she can help me out. She did not require a visit when she got me the gabapentin early on. This is certainly different and I'm not sure what the treatment might be in this case but I'm certain he would have to be sedated to administer anything to the eye.
 

fionasmom

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I do understand that this ticks both boxes " for cat who does not want to be put in a carrier" and "cat who does not want to be given medication." Start by talking to the vet and seeing if they can do anything for you. If not, feeding him in a carrier will be a start, but the eye might need attention before he is really comfortable with the carrier.

Is this a cat you can purrito? Probably not? Oral medication is probably a long shot on an eye condition like this. Talk to the vet techs about how they handle cats who don't want to use eye drops. Frankly, many long time pet cats who will take oral meds in their food, or in other ways, will balk at eye medication.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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I’m guessing that trying a purrito with him would be a disaster and probably result in him freaking out, escaping and then freaking out even more….probably similar, you may recall, to the first night I trapped him and wasn’t careful enough trying to transfer him out of the trap and he got loose in the room. If that happened again, I would be the one needing sedation. I’m really clueless as to what I would do if Milly needs multiple rounds of eye drops. My only hope would be that he only needs them once and that the vet could sedate him or somehow manage to administer them. I’m not sure how successful I would be luring him into a carrier given his bad experiences with traps. We have a little trust but that might be a little too scary. I have a feeling my best option would be to just try to transfer him to a smaller crate that will fit through the doorway and take him that way. Even that could be difficult.

I sent a follow up message to the vet but I’m not getting a response. I hate to have to try another vet. The one I was using has changed a ton recently and I’m not sure if I’m happy with things there anymore. Oh, that reminds me, a while back I was able to have them to do a PCR test for Marshmallow, the flame point Siamese (who I still have in an enclosure in my garage…sigh), and thankfully it came back negative for ringworm. That was such a huge relief. I still can’t get any of the rescues/shelters to return my phone calls so sadly I haven’t found a good home for Mallow yet. Unfortunately he still has the missing patch of fur with some type of sore. Since it wasn’t ringworm, I just hoped it would heal up but that hasn’t been the case.
 

fionasmom

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I would concentrate on the plan to transfer him to a smaller crate as it sounds the easiest. The problem with the eye is that it has to be treated by a vet. If you can get him there, you can discuss with the vet the difficulty of treating him and ask for any other help, such as an antibiotic shots (not even sure if that would do it) which might help without having to use drops.

Abbey, a feral cat, has an eye infection.
Medicating Feral Cats and Kittens
HELP!! I NEED TO GIVE STRAY CAT EYEDROPS
How to give eye ointment to a feral cat??

These are threads/advice about a feral cat and eye medication. I don't know if there is anything in these which might give you an idea.

This is not just you. I have been in these almost impossible situations with rescued cats.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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So, the vet is saying she suspects Milly may have Horner's Syndrome. This is, of course, just based on pictures and the info I've provided. It sounds like sometimes Horner's can be a result of an injury or there can be some other underlying cause. All I know is that Milly had what appeared to be a bad eye injury back in October. I dug up a video clip I had of Milly when the injury was at its worst. It really looks like what I originally thought was a very bloodshot eye was actually the third eyelid exposed and very reddish/inflamed...perhaps damaged. I had not actually realized that until now. The major difference is that there was also a lot of additional fluid and/or goop all around the eye. I assumed it was blood/fluids from some kind of laceration. The vet did say that when she neutered him, she noticed a small tear or defect at the edge of the third eyelid with some inflammation. I've been going through trying to find additional pics/video of Milly since the eye injury occurred. I'm now realizing that every pic I have that is clear enough to tell, you can see a little glob in the corner of his eye. It's not super noticeable unless you're really looking for it, but it's definitely there. So it seems to me that the third eyelid has been exposed to a certain degree ever since the injury. I guess it's just lately that it has gotten to the point where it is now covering more and more of Milly's eye. Also, the first few weeks I had him inside, besides the fact that I was always in a hurry to get things taken care of, I avoided looking at him directly in the eyes since I had read that cat's (especially ferals) can interpret that as threatening behavior and a sign of aggression. Milly was already defensive enough. So far, the vet seems to not want to make a recommendation as to whether I should bring Milly in for further examination/tests. Obviously there's the concern and probability that he would be greatly upset and could easily go back to the old aggressive/defensive Milly. She also hasn't provided any thoughts on whether she suspects additional damage or complications would be likely without treatment. Right now I feel like I'm sort of just left hoping he'll start showing some improvement.
 

Margot Lane

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Are there any traveling vets in your area…anything perhaps slightly further afield from your immediate location, anyone who could maybe come to you, esp. if you forwarded your TCS postings to them? I feel so protective of you—- taking on so much! Even having one nearby cat loving comrade might provide some rest and backup.
 

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If the vet noticed a slight tear when Milly was neutered, then you already have some info to go on. I know you don’t want to take Milly back to the vet but sometimes a vet can medicate more easily than we can. I am often amazed at how these cats allow the vet to do things they don’t want me to do. When we get home, they don’t resent me because the vet did it! Sometimes this also works ,after the cat calms, to bring the cat closer to me. Every cat is different. However, if an eye lubricant is needed regularly, you may need to do this. I find ointments are easier than drops. From what little I read about Horners it can mean an eye lubricant may be needed. Ask the vet. Hornets may not last but if it is something else, medication could really be needed. I started using carriers with a door and top loading for more skittish cats. It’s much easier to get them to go in if the top is open at the same time as the door. They don’t feel as trapped. I have many carriers but invested in a top loader for this very reason. I needed to get a skittish cat to the vet. I know you worry about Milly regressing but better that than worrying or Milly having a painful eye situation. Who knows? Maybe if the eye is better Milly will be less skittish! I think this could make a difference.

As for Mallow, I assume the vet saw the missing patch of fur? No thorn or claw piece in the wound? No abscess? Those are common in kitties. No smell from the area? What about other parasites like mites, fleas or even an allergy? Some cats react strongly to a single flea bite. Do you have time to watch Mallow to see any biting or scratching of the missing fur patch? I have two cats that are verrrry sensitive to fleas, food and litter. With forty plus cats inside two buildings at first, I bought inexpensive litter by the bucket! Lol I had no idea that this dusty litter would be an issue until cat fur was missing. It took me awhile to figure out their sensitivities. They have all their fur again now though. Flame points are so beautiful! Give yourself time. You have accomplished a huge amount in a very short time! I know it probably seems longer but it has been a lot and you had to work fast. You have come a very long way!
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Sorry I haven't posted for a while. Thanks for your comments Margot Lane Margot Lane and Jcatbird Jcatbird . I really had hoped I would be able to provide an update on Milly's eye issue but I still have received no further advice or communication from the vet. I don't know what to make of it but it's really a big blow to me considering the fact I knew I would need a trusted resource that I could turn to for veterinary advice/assistance when I took all this on and I had really counted on being able to rely on her. She seemed to be the only vet in the area that was willing and capable of working with ferals. Meanwhile, it seems like Milly's eye may be getting worse. His 3rd eyelid often seems to be covering nearly half his eye. I can get really close while I'm letting him lick tasty wet food and treats off my finger...I may even be able to squeeze some drops in his eye or something along those lines if I had a vet that was willing to take the time to provide some treatment options and a prescription. I certainly wish I knew of a good traveling vet. I've searched but haven't been able to find any. I mean, there are vets who travel to attend to horses, livestock, etc. in the area, but not really ones that come into people's homes for small animals, much less feral kitties.

As for Marshmallow, after many weeks of trying, I finally got a response from a lady who runs a rescue and I've been exchanging texts with her. As she requested, I sent her pics and gave her all of his info including the part about his missing patch of fur and that he's been shedding a lot. Well, then it would be several days between responses from her and I kept having to follow up over and over. Then this past weekend she texts me that she could come and get him this week. I felt like I should remind her about the missing patch of fur and shedding. Once I mentioned that (even though I'd provided this info before) she was like "oh, people won't adopt animals that have medical issues". Then she said she'd have to text me later and discuss it with me. I haven't heard from her since. I don't get it. I thought shelters were composed of compassionate animal lovers who are there to help kitties and animals that are in need of help, not just perfectly healthy and 100% ready for adoption animals. Do they get certain funding based on how quickly they can place animals or something? Another possible issue with Marshmallow is that I've noticed he rarely drinks water. I'm worried about that especially as the temperatures have gone up. It will be in the 90s this weekend. I really have no way to keep my garage cool and it will be as warm or warmer in there as it is outside. Marshmallow is such a good, sweet, sensitive, and loving kitty. He's also older (most likely senior status), has some potential health issues, has had a tough life as far as I can tell...and who knows how long he lived on the streets. Apparently that makes it so he can't be loved?? Of course, I'm being dramatic here, but I am amazed how it seems (in my experience so far) there's so little interest and it's so difficult to find help for these poor little creatures who aren't perfect but still want to give all their love and just need a little love and care in return.

I'll provide some updates on the rest of the gang later when I have a little more time.
 

Margot Lane

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Good to hear from you, glad your persisting in this & staying strong. Those kitties are lucky to have you. Perhaps you need to widen your circle in your search for help. I hope at least w/ the heat they have shade and any kind of breeze. You can put ice cubes in their water…you could even make ice cubes of juice from cat food or tuna (though too much fish can be bad for cats). Homest;y, you almost sound as if you could be a vet yourself, b/c the caring I hear in your writing really emanates. Have you thought about a Go Fund Me page? Do you use Facebook or Nextdoor? I wish there was some petition could sign to get you help! I’ll send a photo of your cat’s eye to my local vet…it’s a long shot, but maybe she has advice. Thanks for reporting in!!!
 
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