Some advice for this wounded feral

Meowmee

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Thanks for the replies. Great advice and information.

So the vet did give him an antibiotic shot they referred to as something like long acting. It’s very tough to see his wounds because he’s in the carrier and when he’s laying down, his fur scrunches over the wounds.

As far as feeding goes, I will try warming the food and placing near the carrier and moving as far away as possible. He’s never eaten in my presence. When he was still outside, I’d talk to him and then wait but he always waited me out to go eat. I also Don’t have a lot of time each day. I never Intended to bring an animal inside because my time is so limited. In this case, I felt Like this was better than nothing. Hopefully by not free feeding, he will start coming out to eat. I am pretty sure he knows I’m the one bringing the food. He knew this when he was still outside. We started interacting a month or so before i trapped him.

Directed to Norachan or anyone else w an opinion on this: as far as neutering, is there a better time than not with respect to his current condition? In other words, based on me recently trapping him, the vet visit, new surroundings, his wounds, does any of this play a role? I was figuring maybe that giving him some adjusted period and not subjecting him to more would help w him trusting me and letting him get more comfortable?

For now, when I go to spend time w him, he’s in his carrier, so it would be super easy to just close the door and go to the vet. I also figured another procedure might be another thing on his plate to deal with. As I said, I’m feeling my way in the dark.

The first week when he was not using the carrier, I tried Using a long string to entice him to play or a laser but he didn’t budge. I try To put myself in his place and I think if it were me I’d be sleeping a lot and not feeling 100%

The more I write and read, it does seem like at some point, he was someone’s cat. He is one of the most calm cats I’ve ever seen. To address his long term living situation: this can be his forever home unless he shows me signs that he wants out and he starts climbing the walls. My hunch is that will not happen and he’s welcome here. I’ve already told him that this is his house too. It’s not mine. He now lives here and we will share it. (Somehow i don’t think he’s going to help w shoveling snow or yard work!) I do Not believe in the concept of “owning” an animal. I think That’s no more possible than owning a tree. As I told Him when he was outside, him and me are buddies. I actually see a lot of similarities between both of us, without sounding crazy. We are both males, middle aged, gray hair on our head, on the quieter side, mostly calm and laid back, reserved and take a while to get comfortable and be ourselves, and can be a handful without doing much. We both have plenty of scars and have been through some battles in life. Of course I know He’s a cat, and I’m not bonkers but I do respect him and try to treat others as they are me...

As long as the wounds heal, I’m not worried about the looks. Health is number 1. He seems to scratch more than he’s now inside. I was monitoring him while he was still outside and the scabs seemed to remain intact then. The vet shaved the fur around the wounds and cleaned the wounds. Perhaps he’s healing more now and that is making him itchier.

I’d like to eventually allow him to roam the rest of the house or at least give him that option. I think It’ll be easy to know when that time has come. How he is living now seems so boring. I know He’s a cat but I’m just hoping he becomes more social just so he can be more free in the rest of the house. I’m so opposed to caging of animals and although he isn’t restricted like that, it seems like life could be better for him if he played and got some more affection. Truly, it’s not a need of mine to have a cuddly pet. Just seems like life would be more full for him.

Each day I look Forward to the new posts and advice and experiences. Every word is invaluable and I appreciate it beyond words. Please accept my gratitude.
I would keep him where he is for a few weeks at least for a few reasons. A not tame formally outdoor kitty needs this to transition to be tamer and to being inside. He is healing from bad wounds and he needs to feel safe and stable in his environment with as little stress as possible. He is also being quarantined for rabies. You don’t know his vaccination history and rabies has a variable incubation and is a fatal disease. As far as we know no cats have survived it and only 7-8 people worldwide have survived who didn't get rpep before it went to the phase where symptoms started.

The quarantine for a vaccinated cat who has bitten someone is usually 10 days because they can have the virus in their saliva and transmit it for 6 days before showing symptoms. So after 10 days they would most likely be very ill and soon pass if they were capable of transmitting it.

The doctor who developed a new protocol for treating people who get to the symptoms stage who did not get rpep believes that 20% of people exposed fight off the virus depnding on the strains and how bad the exposure was so some cats and dogs may as well.

For an unvaccinated cat, who bit or not I think, the quarantine is much longer because the incubation can be up to a year but it is usually 3 months. But I think if he doesn’t show signs and he had bitten you you would be in the clear after 10 days except that he has been vaccinated now so if he had been exposed that could potentially help him fight the virus off and he probably can’t transmit it at this stage. It takes 14 days after vaccination for antibodies to build up. So just be careful until after this because you don’t want to be exposed. Chances are he was not exposed and he will be fine once he heals. It may be rarer in cats because their body temp is higher or so one dvm told me recently.
 
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katzspirit

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It’s funny how little I realize I know about something like rabies till now. Originally an animal rescue league told me if I trapped him and turned him over to them, and they discovered his wounds were from an unknown origin that wound euthanize him immediately. They do not have the resources to quarantine animals. I was Also told if he scratches or bites me, they would have to euthanize him to check his brain for rabies. I have read before that the incubation period can vary. Tomorrow evening will be 3 wks since his rabies vaccination and approx 2 months since I first saw his wounds.

My intuition tells me he is ok. I guess time will tell. My intuition also tells me to leave him be for a while. As stated, he needs time, I believe.

I’ve had no physical contact w him nor is he aggressive. By body language, he is more cautious and fearful than anything. Each day that passes, I think, he sees he is safe and I’m not there to hurt him but slow is trust to build. I simply think how I am if I’m trying to recover from anything, and all I’d want is rest and to be left alone.

He is forced to tolerate my voice and presence. He tends to close his eyes when I talk to him. If I’m with him for a while, he usually falls back to sleep. Hopefully those are good signs.

I’m going to start trying no free feeding and warmed food presented while I’m in the room. Surely I’ll give updates...

Again...everything word on every line is greatly appreciated.
 

movinintime

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This feral sounds very domesticated. :)

My feral barely eyeballs me when I call or bring him food -- at a safe distance for him. Or else he'd bolt off. So, I think you either have a non feral or a very, very good & unusual feral. Even after over 2.5 yrs I can't garner that much trust from my big alpha Tom. I'm trying tho & when he comes inside the home very soon later this spring, I hope, then hopefully he'll show me his true "indoor" colors, lol.

Best of luck tho & kudos you got this much control/closeness w/ him. ;)
 

Meowmee

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It’s funny how little I realize I know about something like rabies till now. Originally an animal rescue league told me if I trapped him and turned him over to them, and they discovered his wounds were from an unknown origin that wound euthanize him immediately. They do not have the resources to quarantine animals. I was Also told if he scratches or bites me, they would have to euthanize him to check his brain for rabies. I have read before that the incubation period can vary. Tomorrow evening will be 3 wks since his rabies vaccination and approx 2 months since I first saw his wounds.

My intuition tells me he is ok. I guess time will tell. My intuition also tells me to leave him be for a while. As stated, he needs time, I believe.

I’ve had no physical contact w him nor is he aggressive. By body language, he is more cautious and fearful than anything. Each day that passes, I think, he sees he is safe and I’m not there to hurt him but slow is trust to build. I simply think how I am if I’m trying to recover from anything, and all I’d want is rest and to be left alone.

He is forced to tolerate my voice and presence. He tends to close his eyes when I talk to him. If I’m with him for a while, he usually falls back to sleep. Hopefully those are good signs.

I’m going to start trying no free feeding and warmed food presented while I’m in the room. Surely I’ll give updates...

Again...everything word on every line is greatly appreciated.
It is so complex and I read a lot about it after potential exposure by Merlin and having to fill out a form for the health board etc. That is sad that they would just euthanize and it is fantastic you are helping him and saving his life. I think you are right and he is ok, so he just needs to heal now and adjust to his new situation which I am sure he is relieved about even if he is nervous.

That is great that he is doing that! Those are signs that he trusts you, just keep up the good work and let him interact as he wants to etc. Just be cautious until the quarantine is over due to legalities in case you were bitten etc and needed medical treatment. I am looking forward to updates on him😻
 

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He is a beautiful cat! But those horrific wounds! I am shocked by how bad they are. You are a prince for taking him in and caring for him.

If he falls asleep when you talk to him, that means he is not afraid of you; in fact, it means he trusts you. It will just take a while for him to heal and feel confident enough to approach you. He is probably very grateful for the safety you have provided. Warming his food and staying with him while he eats is a very good suggestion. You are doing a wonderful thing.
 

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For some reason I have envisaged you as a lady. Until you mentioned the things you have in common with this little man. Now I don't know if other TCS posters might agree - I would be happy to hear their opinions on this:- a lot of men do not like cats, and will often be VERY UNKIND to them; ie seem to like tossing things at them, delight in chasing a poor little stray away, which helps nobody - and this little chap may have "lived" near some such people and have been badly treated by a man. Now this would have to be balanced against this cat being nervous of yet another person visiting him. If other (cat people on TCS agree) - do you have a (quietly spoken) female friend who could come by briefly just to see if he seems any more trusting of a female? I would really like to hear what other posters with stray/feral socialising also think of this suggestion because I don't want to suggest anything to hamper your wonderful caring for this boy. You probably know or have male friends who don't like cats so you know what I am getting at. Actually as I type this I now recall you have been feeding this little bloke for a long while - which may negate my thought. I would strongly agree that you do not physically reach out & put a hand anywhere in his carrier. He could misinterpret and lash out with the claws in nervousness. It's really encouraging to learn from you he is a very calm boy - but we are all unpredictable under stress! If you are not concerned about possible "spraying" (he's still a Tom cat) I would definitely allow him to quietly explore a larger area of you home - always make sure he has ready access to his SAFE ZONE (his carrier?) so he will run straight back there is spooked. I would imagine he would very cautiously come out at night when you are safely in bed - and very slowly sniff his way around his new home "extension." If the rest of the house is not such an 'unknown' quantity to him - he may also not feel so intimidated about life beyond his little security house (carrier). Main thing to keep in mind - don't allow him to secrete himself under a bed or lounges etc. - normally cats really enjoy finding their own little "beds" in old boxes, clothes baskets (they usually prefer the ones full of clean clothes!!) My cats ALWAYS have anyway. This included a "stray" that used to visit. Will continue that guy's story in another post - he was a gorgeous cat. SEE FOLLOWING POST about "Abu." Keep up your wonderful devotion to this poor little cat. Bless you.
 

mani

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S smartcat009 I think katzspirit is doing an incredible job as it is. Cats that find themselves homeless lead really hard lives and males will often fight. I think the hard life he's had to live is the most likey source of his injuries, and those who have lived a hard life are bound to take time and patience to recover. I doubt katzspirit's 'maleness' is an issue. ;)

K katzspirit regarding spaying; I'm not sure whether you received an answer...
If you have to take him to the vet, then it would be great to get him done. I wouldn't be making a special trip for it just yet. And of course, you need to be guided by the vet. And thank you so much for taking this guy in. As Norachan Norachan said, these old guys can make wonderful friends.
 

Norachan

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I agree with mani mani There's no need to make a special trip to get him neutered right now. Give him time to recover and get used to you.

Do you have to take him back to the vet after the rabies quarantine period is over? Was he blood tested for FIV and FeLV? Do you know what other vaccinations he had? He will probably need a follow-up vet visit sooner or later, so you could schedule a neuter at the same time.

If he is still too wary of you to coax into a carrier and you have to give him a sedative before you can get him to the vet he won't know anything about it, so that won't affect his relationship with you.

You'll be the one "rescuing" him from the clinic, bringing him home and letting him out of the carrier, so he'll remember that and see you as his hero.

Just ask if you have any questions about anything. We're all very feral friendly here.

:)
 
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katzspirit

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Hello to all. This is just such an excellent site and just phenomenal comments and suggestions. It greatly helps me (and hopefully Whitey) each day.

In answering the questions, the vet said he did not need a follow up after the quarantine and I’ll have to check to see if he received any other shots.

At this point, if the need arose, getting him to the vet would be simple because he spends his time in my presence inside the carrier. Just s close of the door and we would be off.

I’ll still wait to let me explore more. I think the next step is to remove a piece of plywood that would expose the other side of the basement. I may wait a couple more weeks for that.

I have noticed that if there is a blanket or towel on the floor he pees on that. He also peed on a catnip toy. Otherwise there hasn’t been spraying. I think I’d neuter him before he has the opportunity to turn the rest of the house into a big litter box.

I’d never reach in his carrier as I’d consider that an invasion and I dont want to get scratched or bitten which would of course harm me but also possibly jeopardize him. Before entering the basement, I tap My nails on the door as a knock so he knows I’m coming. It’s his area. I do Try to respect him. I dont View him as just an animal or pet. We are all equals.

I appreciate the compliment on my femininity. I do Think a lot of males are very macho. Even though some females don’t like cats, males tend to be more outward w that. Many many years ago, I took In a stray that was very friendly. He was a male also. But typically I attract more females than anything, human or animals. Most males don’t click w me. But overall, I love all animals and nature and try to respect every aspect of it. We are all part of the same whole in my opinion.

I may wait a bit longer to introduce any other presence. I would like him to be more comfortable, in general, first before making more changes.

Last night was the first time I warmed food and placed it and some dry near his carrier. I then retreated to the farthest point, and kept talking to him so he knew I was still there. He waited me out. But I will try again tonight. This will be the first full 24 hrs without free feeding. Of course updates will follow.

I’m really appreciative of all the posts. It sounds like this guy has had some domestication in the past and has been outside for quite some time which maybe put him into feral mode but maybe there is still parts of his brain that will turn back on and socialize a bit more at some point. Like anything in life, it’s a journey.

Though I do appreciate all of your kind words, I dont think I saved his life or that I’m anything great for taking him in. It’s a standard in life. Offer help when needed. Life is a matter of perspective. What if one day he wakes me up or steps in to save my life? Directly. Then who would be the one in debt? Quite often I’ve found that when trying to put something back into life, I end up getting more out than what I put in. Which is never my motivation. So I’m not so quick to boost my ego and think I’m doing “good.” I’m doing what I should be doing. Just like brushing my teeth. I dont pat myself on the back for that either.

Though this is difficult and consumes what little free time I have, I’m very grateful that this boy is either not feral or unusually so. I feel like my hands are very full already.

I’m also glad to hear how many wonderful people are out there, caring for so many animals.

Lastly, I named him Whitey because of his color. Because there is a gray squirrel around with a lot of dark fur on his underside which is unusual and I call him Blackie. And because I live in the Boston area. And during the weeks of trying to trap him, this guy evaded authorities for quite some time. Like the real life example, when finally caught, whitey had a lot of white fur on his face.

I’d love to hear more comments on anyone’s thoughts or stories and if what I wrote About him peeing on towels or blankets on the floor is examples of spraying.

I cant post without saying thank you again. All of you are greatly appreciated!
(These pics are from the first week- not many photo ops when he’s in the carrier)
 

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mani

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It's hard to say in this case, but choosing to pee on soft things can be a sign of a UTI (urinary tract infection).
Also, some cats won't pee where they poo (including mine) so the general rule is two litterboxes per cat.

You're being so wonderfully patient. It's a gift with ferals/strays. :)
 
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katzspirit

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That’s interesting. I do have 2 litter boxes for him that are apart. He does poop in both but I’m pretty sure he pees in them too. I took the towel away. Yesterday was fine. Tonight I see he peed on a very small cloth under his water bowl. So I removed that. Now there is nothing on the floor but I did make him a cat box w a catbed in it. That’s the only thing left on the floor that’s soft.

When I first Brought him back him, I put down a blanket that the vet gave me. He was peeing on that. I removed It and things were good for a while. Then he started peeing on the towel.

Would there be any other indications of uti?
 

mani

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Cats are really good at hiding illness, so it can be hard to know. Straining to pee, in bad cases, blood in urine. But what he is doing is often the more obvious sign.
It is something that can be checked without a vet visit if you can capture some urine. You could ask your vet about that. With mine, I use non-absorbant litter in the tray, wait till they pee, then go in with a dropper and container and get it straight to the vet. If that doesn't work it means a visit.
 

Norachan

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Peeing on towels and bedding can be a sign of a UTI. I have known cats that have peed on soft things when they were first brought indoors because they were confused about what the litter box was for. Peeing on something they had slept on and already had their smell must have seemed like a good idea to them.

As he has a long lasting shot of antibiotics it should help any bacterial UTI as well as helping his neck injuries heal up. UTI can also be stress induced too though.

If he doesn't make a habit of peeing outside the box we could just put it down to stress or confusion but, as Mani says, if he continues getting a urine sample to the vet would be the next step.

(Hoping the link works. :crossfingers:) This is the kind of cat litter you need if you have to collect a sample.

 
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katzspirit

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First off, I am just blown away by how nice and helpful and sharing everyone is. It really feels like I’m not in this alone, so thank all of you so much.

It had been over a week when he had not peed outside the box. At first, I thought he was confused and got two litter boxes, both large size. That seemed to do the trick. Then less than a week ago, I noticed a little pee on the towel. Then there was a puddle on the catnip toy. Then again on the towel. Then tonight on the small cloth.

I’ve tried to keep things very routine, as much as I’m able. The house is very quiet most of the time. There’s no one else here and no other animals. Everything is very peaceful so hopefully there’s nothing adding any additional stress.

The litter i use, because of his wounds, are natural pine pellets. It seems like peeing and scratching around creates sawdust, which seems to be in both boxes.

The link did work and I so Very appreciate it. More than I can say. I’ll call the vet tomorrow. At this point, a vet visit would be easy with him in the carrier.

The no free feeding/trying to get him to come out to eat isn’t going too well. He just waits me out. And I dont Have an hour to sit and wait. He used to do this outside too. I’d try to wait to see if I could gain some trust w him. He’d never eat while I was around.
 

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First off, I am just blown away by how nice and helpful and sharing everyone is. It really feels like I’m not in this alone, so thank all of you so much.

It had been over a week when he had not peed outside the box. At first, I thought he was confused and got two litter boxes, both large size. That seemed to do the trick. Then less than a week ago, I noticed a little pee on the towel. Then there was a puddle on the catnip toy. Then again on the towel. Then tonight on the small cloth.

I’ve tried to keep things very routine, as much as I’m able. The house is very quiet most of the time. There’s no one else here and no other animals. Everything is very peaceful so hopefully there’s nothing adding any additional stress.

The litter i use, because of his wounds, are natural pine pellets. It seems like peeing and scratching around creates sawdust, which seems to be in both boxes.

The link did work and I so Very appreciate it. More than I can say. I’ll call the vet tomorrow. At this point, a vet visit would be easy with him in the carrier.

The no free feeding/trying to get him to come out to eat isn’t going too well. He just waits me out. And I dont Have an hour to sit and wait. He used to do this outside too. I’d try to wait to see if I could gain some trust w him. He’d never eat while I was around.
I have no advice as I have never had the opportunity to take in a feral.

You seem to be doing an amazing job. Keep up the excellent work.

Thank you.
 

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You are doing an amazing job! Your instincts with him have been wonderful. Trust them. I agree with what you said about “owning.” We are their friends and during times of trouble, their guardians. Every time I am talking to someone who has put out the kind of love and effort you have put forth, I like them to know that,”If you are a kitty guardian, you’re a kitty hero!” He must have been so frightened out there alone against predators. His friend did give him safe haven and rescue him from the jaws that came at him. Snatched from the jaws and into the first place he could truly sleep with both eyes shut. The photo of him resting but so wounded really got to me. He trusts you. And so he should. I have worked mostly with very feral kitties but a few strays or “dumped” kitties. Whitey has my heart. I know the battles they face. I had to pull in an entire colony that had become targets. Some were easier than others. Each was a different kind of issue. Over two years I managed to convince each one to trust me. The male leader of the colony observed as I brought in his friends and family. I would see him in the swamp watching. Often I saw as he protected the other cats and kittens. Sometimes when a human threat appeared he would quickly lead the mothers and babies to safety. I was rescuing as quickly as I could but there were many. He kept the kitties safe as I worked and he watched. I always knew he would be the last one I would be attempting to rescue. He always stayed away from me until the last Mother and kittens were at risk. Then he actually brought them into the shelter I had built and left them with me. I got them to safety and then would spend days and nights sitting in the edge of the woods talking to this male. Time passed. I kept asking him to follow me home and one night he did. In fact, after some time watching me through an open door, he came in that night and I shut the door. Only then did it occur to me that I was shut in with a frightened feral. Lol The rest of his story? He is the most wonderful fellow! He is super intelligent and is resting beside me on the sofa right now. I never dreamed that an old feral Tom (that I imagined would try to eat me) would recognize the love of a human and put his trust in me so completely. Some ferals remain a bit nervous no matter how much time or attention they get. I can hold and pet all of the kitties that came in but BJ is now my hero and guardian. Lol The tables have turned. We rescue them but they return everything and then some. You have my admiration and gratitude for rescuing Whitey. I’m sure you have his too. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I wish everyone cared as much. Whitey is a beautiful kitty. Thank goodness he doesn’t have to struggle anymore. I’m sure that in time, he’ll begin to approach you. There is a process to it all.
Peeing on soft stuff may be a UTI and you can still encourage use of the box right now by adding something soft like shredded paper towels or even putting a puppy pee pad in the box. If his urine checks out okay, it could be that he has some old wounds that have left him a bit stiff at times. Soft may feel better. After the quarantine is done and he has slept and regained his strength, you can encourage him to approach you more. For now, sit on the floor when you keep him company. Being more on his level helps. Laying with belly up will be something he sees as non threatening too. There are lots of ways you can communicate with him through body language and he with you. It will all come in time. I will cherish watching this loving friendship grow. Thank you for allowing us to see and hear this heartwarming story.
 

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You're making great progress with him, but I guess he'd like things to move a little more slowly. Try feeding him on something that smells strongly of you. You could try putting the shirt you've been wearing that day down on the floor and then putting his food bowls on top of that.

That way he'll start to build a more direct link between you and the food.

One of my feral rescues spent a whole month living in the closet. The only way we knew he was there was because the food and water would disappear and the litter box would be used. Then one day he decided we were safe and allowed himself to be seen. He's been with us for 8 years now and he's only, in the past 12 months, started sitting on my lap. So they all move at their own pace, we just have to go as slow as they want things to be.

He's so lucky to have you, you seem like a very patient person.
 

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My looney feral (aww he's SUCH a good boy & I cant say nor luv him enuf) is lovin warm sun n passed out yet in the AZ sun in mid 70s past few days. he lounges in sun, gets hot, as he is all black, then moves to shade. ALL while lets me know & see him n his wherebouts, if i call him for meals. He looks up from under our 2nd flr patio & is in grass under us & licks his lips to signal he's ready for chowtime.

I let him call it, so long as its near the bed time or lunchtime appropriate times. We have an unwritten telepathy, I KNOW u all, all think I'm senile/nuts/psyho/crazy/1/2 baked, etc etc..heard it all from the Trader Joe's employees to the Safeway/Alberstons stores folks, to the gas station, to the other places I blab incessantly re Blackie!:)

He's my main man, my boy (I'm over 50 & no kids nor boys that I know of our legally mine child--- (have zero kids that I know of -- so,he is the REAL DEAL). Before u think this is a flaky post realize, I need vent/tell ppl that UNDERSTAND the luv for a feral & after nearing 3yrs feeding in Apr. (from way back in 4/17 til now) its amazing he is till here n with me.

Ok, just an side & sorry to ramble n hijack thread but have to vent/get this out while I'm pumped for his crazy loyal attentiveness -- that makes me smile & gets me out of bed 4am everyday to feed this monster! LOL :);)

Ok, I'm off my rocker on this fine Sunday warm afternoon.
 
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