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Took In Two 1 Yr Old Ferals

calicosrspecial

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Baxter says Hello. (He did this to me as soon as I came in)View attachment 293900

I'm beginning to become concerned that Sandy may be sick.

I was recording a video of Panda and Baxter playing through the door and she outbursts in coughing toward the end of the video. She did let out another cough a bit later but only briefly.


Baxter LOVES. SO adorable!!

Sandy sounded like it was either a hairball or an inverted sneeze. I am not a vet so a vet opinion is always best so if it continues for days happening multiple times a day I would get her in but for now I personally didn't see anything I would be worried about. But keep us up on how she is so we can better assess the need for a vet visit.

AND I am loving how she was. She looked relaxed, she wasn't hiding, she was near the door with Panda playing with a resident cat, you were there AND she ate!!! I think that video showed some real progress. I am ecstatic right now seeing her like this. I see a cat that looks much better than I expected and better than many ferals. I think you are doing a great job. She actually looked like a happy normal family cat right in that video not a feral a month removed from the streets. Keep up the great work!!

I just LOVE that Panda is playing with a resident cat under the door. I was actually amazed Panda didn't pounce on the paw when it was coming under the door. Of course, when there was no toy he did do it (that is what cats do) but I was really amazed he watched as the resident cat pulled the toy to the other side. The great thing about ferals is they tend to accept others better and Panda sure seems like he is. NOW we do need to work on the resident cats because resident cats are the ones whose territory is being "invaded" so making sure they are confident and make positive associations is very important. We'll probably want to start feeding 10 feet away from the door some time soon and step up play with the resident cats. It is more art than science but we'll get there.

I am really impressed with cat abilities. You have the touch. That is so important for the cats. Keep up the great work!! Sandy will have ups and downs but what I saw in this video is VERY encouraging. You efforts are bearing fruit!!! WELL DONE!! :hyper:
 
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MikeAW2010

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Sandy actually seems to like to sleep right in front of the door. Between Sandy and Panda Sandy is alot more hostile so I have to be very careful around her. Panda usually will only hiss but Sandy will attack if I get too close to her... that has been tricky when she's near her food bowl because I want to grab it from her without getting knifed and that means getting close to her. I could wrap up my hands but that seems to intimidate her as all the times I've handled her my hands were wrapped up so I'm trying not to make it negative. She seems to have calmed down a bit. This morning I layed down about 4-5ft infront of her and turned the other way so that way I wouldn't be looking at her and I just calmly spoke to her because I needed to get her bowl. I spoke to her for about 5 minutes before I turned over slowly and still kept my eyes away from her face and slowly ... ever so cautiously reached for her bowl and she didn't do anything. I grabbed it and fed her. I left the room for a moment, came back and she was eating and didn't stop even when I was in plain view... Another thing to note is that Sandy eats ALOT more than Panda. She can down 1 and a half bowls where Panda depending on hunger will eat half to 3/4 of a bowl.

Panda is acting more and more like a normal house cat. He will sit down and look at me almost as if to ask 'can we play?' And then I get the string and he goes into silly mode. He popped up from behind his bed with the string wrapped around himself and his tongue sticking way out looking at me sticking his tongue out ... I wish I got a photo of that it made him look like such a goober but it was funny. He will get closer and closer to me while playing. After play I leave him treats. Once in awhile I will lay down and extend my hand (slowly) on the ground toward him and he will curiously gaze at it and approach it and start pawing at it and sniff it. He likes to play with his bed alot too. He will get on his side and start clawing and kicking it with his feet moving and pushing it around. Then when he's tired he ends up sleeping on my bed. :p
 

calicosrspecial

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Very interesting she sleeps by the door. That is a good sign. How do the resident cats act by that door?

Yes, try to be careful and remove her dish in the most positive way possible. Stay lower (don't stand over her), don't stare at her (but keep an eye on her for your safety), stay as calm and confident as possible, talk softly, confidently and lovingly to her. Move in a "normal' way. Not too fast, not too slow.

What you did this morning is PERFECT. That was a really positive experience. WELL DONE!!

Yes, wrapping hands can bring back negative experiences from the past AND it is also not "normal" so that can put her on edge. One of the things I try to do is act as "normal" as possible and stay as calm and confident since cats take on our emotions. I am not saying take risks and don't put yourself at any risk of being hurt though. It is really art more than science. You are smart and have great instincts so just read the situation and do what you think is best. This morning tells me you understand how to interact. Just stay smart about it.

You may want to buy "Bite Gloves" for possible use down the road. Because getting her into the vet is going to be an experience. Some ferals freeze like a statue but many will give a good fight. What we'll probably do is reintroduce the kennel/crate a few days before a vet visit to make it a better experience (since she will probably choose to hang in there). I would rather do it that way than have to physically put her in a crate. But "Bite Gloves" are always good to have around.

That is so fantastic. He is loving his life, loving his new home. This is what makes this so worthwhile. You are not only saving a life but giving them a GREAT life. We still have work to do in introducing them and there will be ups and downs but I am highly confident we'll get there.

I am so impressed with your dedication and love for these cats. You are doing an amazing job with them. It is a journey and we have a to of work to go but so far the progress is fantastic.

How are the resident cats acting? Any change in behavior? Avoiding any areas? Etc. When we bring cats in we tend to focus on the new cats but the resident cats tend to have an even more difficult time adjusting so we need to focus on building their confidence and then once Sandy is in a little better place start the intro process. I would like her to be spayed before starting the intro process since the hormones can cause issues.

Keep up the great work!! You are doing fantastically!!
 
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MikeAW2010

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For the resident cats, it's really hard to keep Rabbit from darting in here when I'm entering the room. He's fast and agile and usually sneaks up behind me even when I have the door minimally open to squeeze my body through. On the few occasions he's made it in, he goes right for Panda. He hasnt hissed much at him but does a sniff test before I carefully pick him up (as not to startle Panda, getting me or Rabbit attacked) and quickly remove him from the room. Panda generally stands his ground and seems not to be intimidated by it. Usually he's the only one I have to watch out for in this regard.

Baxter likes coming to the door and playing with Panda through the bottom of the door, even when I'm in their room. Asside from Rabbit they seem for the most part unphased by their presence and seem more interested in getting treats or food than the new cats.

Gingers meow hasnt returned yet. I'm giving him his medicine every 12 hours as prescribed. He can kind of squeak alittle bit here and there so I guess that's something. I just hope it's not permanent.

When I'm playing with Panda, Rabbit and Baxter come to the door and peer under it and they get anxious and excited and want to play too so they start pawing through the door. Once, Sandy was laying there and she lashed at them for that but has only done that once so far.

For Sandy, does this look mean anything? This is often how she looks at me:
20190727_112934.jpg
 
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calicosrspecial

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Rabbit we are going to have to work on. Build his confidence (play then food), a lot of love and attention and making positive associations (food, no negative encounters, etc) with the new cats. Normal stuff. It is a process and we can handle it. For now just try to keep Rabbit away from the new cats and work on building his confidence. If you are with him in the other room away from the new cats and you sense he is "funny" by the door of the new cats try to turn it into a positive experience. Distract him away from any negativity and lay with him or love him or give him treats.

Baxter should do pretty well BUT it will depend on when the new cats are in "his" territory. That is one of the last steps in the intro process and a ways away. If we build his confidence and continue to make positive associations I expect he will do well.

I am so sorry about Ginger. What was it that Ginger is struggling with? BTW, is Ginger a boy or a girl? I have a feral orange cat I named "Ginger Tom" since I have another feral orange cat named OJ.

Play can agitate other cats that aren't involved in the play. It sounds like it is a positive for Baxter but possibly a negative for Rabbit. If you have anyone that can play with them (especially Rabbit) while you are playing with Panda that could be helpful. If you sense Rabbit is near the door and a little "anxious" then try to play with Panda away from that door just to help him a little.

It is totally normal and understandable that Sandy would lash out at the paws coming from under the door. It could be perceived as a threat by her so to protect is understandable. If it seems like it might be negative then blocking off the bottom of the door or putting a gate in front of the door so the resident cats can't get to under the door could be helpful.

Our goal is to try to make every encounter between the cats as positive as possible (regardless of length of time) and try to minimize the negative encounters between them. Again, it is more art than science but you'll find the right balance.

She actually looks like my oldest. I call that her "model" look. That "pouty" look. That might just be her look, she might be a bit tired or relaxed. Her ears look fine, her eyes look fine. She could have a little "don't mess with me now" catitude. But overall I think she looks like she is pretty content. And it looks like she ate well. So after eating cats do like to groom some and sleep. I will say, she is ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!!

Also, she is up against a wall and against the computer so she is a little "trapped" in a way so there are not many "escape" routes so she may be a bit more defensive if approached (and depending on how she is approached) but I personally would not think anything much of that look other than she looks ADORABLE!!
 
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MikeAW2010

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Panda is exhibiting some really interesting behavior that I wasn't exactly expecting.

He has been sitting down or hiding behind his bed and just staring at me for a long time, like not taking his eyes off me. He didn't seem 'alarmed' or even upset in any way but just a constant fixation. I pretended to ignore it and continued to do what I normally do. I'm able to get my hand much closer to Panda without him hissing now, even if I'm standing. I first gave him some treats and he ate a few of them but left many of them on the ground and sat infront of them and just looked up at me and stared while ignoring the treats. His eyes just locked onto my eyes and wouldn't unlock until I left the room. I came to give him food and put it on the ground right infront of him (he kind of meows when I have food which is something he never did in the past... Sandy still doesnt meow) .. He sat down straight up and just fixed his eyes right at my eyes. I was taken off guard admittedly as usually eye contact is avoided. He didn't seem alarmed or upset he just stared right into my eyes and ignored his food. I returned with a slow blink and he just kept staring. I walked away so he could eat in peace.

Later tonight I was preparing to go to bed. Laid down on the mattress on my back looking at the cieling and out the corner of my eye at the foot of my bed, I saw this:
20190729_015231.jpg


Instead of sleeping on his bed he was laying down on the sheet he dragged off his cat bed and just layed there staring right up at me. He hasnt really slept this close to me before.

Later that night he curled up into a cat ball and I had been dozing off and on and he was still there sleeping next to me. I couldn't believe it.

Sandy however still gets skittish if I wake up an repositions herself from the open to a corner if she detects movement from me.

20190729_020406.jpg
 
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calicosrspecial

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It is hard to know what he is thinking. But he doesn't sound like he is bothered etc. I am wondering if he was expecting a toy? As long as the body language isn't negative (eyes dilated, ears flat, etc) then it is just a cat being a cat. The picture of him looking at the camera/you is a normal look. Mine do that all the time.

It is fantastic he is sleeping so close. That says all is good. A bond has developed. FANTASTIC!!!!

It is normal for a cat to get a little cautious is the human repositions etc. BUT the cat will realize it is not negative and over time come to terms with it and accept it. It is just part of the process of acclimating to the new environment. They still need to build that territorial security (ownership) and confidence. Panda is way ahead and Sandy is about normal progress (maybe a touch ahead of normal).

It is interesting that Sandy goes by the door to the resident cats. That is not typical and is a good sign.

Keep up the great work. You are doing fantastically!!
 
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MikeAW2010

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So I think Sandy and Panda still have fleas. I had Panda treated before bringing him in but Sandy was too apprehensive for them to treat in our last vet visit. I want to treat them but not sure if it's a good idea to try that yet.
 

calicosrspecial

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I think it would be best if you could treat them if at all possible. I would ask your vet for the options. For their benefit and the resident cats. The negative of the fleas are much greater than any negative encounter risk in my opinion. And once you get ride of them they will be gone.

Let us know what you decide and how it goes.
 
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MikeAW2010

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Ima have to wait until I have some reserves, the bills are due and I kind of got hit hard financially with Ginger's vet bill and some other ongoing life stuff. I did go ahead and email the local Humane Society to see if they would spay and treat Sandy. Waiting on them to reply.

Tonight Panda came and slept on the side of my bed, watching me for a moment then fell asleep. He woke up at around 3:30am and I was half woke. He looked and me kind of like he wanted me to play with him so I took the shoe string and guided it around the scratching post and he just loved it. He then scaled up and down the side of my mattress pouncing on the string whenever he could. He's starting to show no fear of my hand as he will go for that too if I'm not careful. I got nic'd by his claws twice (he was playing so it didn't really hurt) and he did slightly hiss when he nic'd them but calmed down and returned to play mode rather quickly. He's coming much closer to me now as well.

It's interesting in a way because I remember seeing him outside the office and on the slightest hint of approaching him he would go as far as darting off across the street or into the woods behind the building near the railroad tracks and now he's as playful if not more playful than my resident cats.

Sandy didn't run to the other side of the room tonight when I went to bed so I guess theres progress there. I can also get my hand pretty close to her when I'm giving her food.
 

calicosrspecial

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Understandable. You can also check into feral rescue groups in your area for potential help as you did rescue Panda and Sandy as ferals. Oftentimes they have low or no cost spay/neuter opportunities.

Fantastic. He is responding to love. He is building that trust and confidence. It truly is fantastic and very special. WELL DONE!!

It really is interesting and special. It shows us that cats are cats whether feral (born in the wild) or at a home. Cats respond to being loved and cared for. The human has such an impact on the situation. If you didn't have that caring and compassion he would be different. But you do have that love and compassion for him and he sees it and appreciates it. It really is special. A special bond.

GREAT!!! Again, she is sensing your emotions and responding in a positive way. You showing her that love and caring and compassion is so important to helping her build trust, security and confidence.

Seriously, really well done!! You are a great person!!
 
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MikeAW2010

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The Humane Society emailed me back, they're willing to take in Sandy under one condition, she comes in a caged trap rather than a pet carrier. When I initially captured Sandy I didn't use a trap and I'm concerned putting her in one will definitely freak her out. Should I go for it or just take my chances with a veterinarian?

Edit: Also my resident cats now also have fleas. I need to treat them quickly. What OTC products would you recommend? I was thinking Frontline and Capstar.
 
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calicosrspecial

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I would post on the health area of the website to get suggestions on OTC flea products. If at all possible I always recommend talking to your vet as a first option though as a vet opinion is always best. I am so sorry to hear about everyone getting fleas. You should be able to get rid of them quickly. Having experts give advice on the health area will help you get through it.

You are right, the fleas are the immediate priority. Getting rid of them is most important.

On Sandy. I should mention some risks of Humane Societies (in my opinion). Some are very persnickety on animal limits in city ordinances. So knowing your city animal limits is important and knowing how to answer if they ask is very important. Since you have a few cats already (though they are extremely well taken care of) they may raise some questions or concerns and honestly no one likes to be questioned when they are doing their best and doing the right things.

Also, I have found that some Humane Societies at times will not allow a feral to come back to the person because of behavior of the cat. Since it is stressful and different a cat can react more aggressively in a situation at a Human Society or Animal Control facility even though they are sweet with the human that brought them in.

So I actually think there are other issues to consider rather than the one posed in your question. Knowing your local HS can be really important as some are more strict than others.

Part of me thinks maybe wait (for the above reasons) and try to find a feral rescue that will do a low-cost spay. They tend to be more reasonable in wanting to save lives and allowing great homes even though maybe the person has more animals than the city ordinance says is allowed.

Do you know if your city has an ordinance that limits the number of cats or animals? Most do. If that is not an issue then it makes the decision a little easier.

We do need to get her spayed as soon as possible so it is a tricky decision. I personally don't worry about getting her into a trap (your love will get her over her trauma) but I am trying to think of other issues that may come up.

Does anyone else have an opinion on how best to proceed?
 
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calicosrspecial

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I would also add this. Ask your vet if they can work with you on payment for the flea treatment etc. A lot of time vets will help spread payments out if the pet owner is in a bind. Especially if they know you well. It is not only the right thing to do for the animals but it is also good business as it builds customer loyalty. Hopefully they will do the right thing.
 
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MikeAW2010

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I'm taking Panda and Sandy in this morning. Panda for flea treatment / booster shots, Sandy for flea treatment, spay, vaccinations. I'm also taking the resident cats for vaccinations / flea treatments.

I brought the Kennel back so as to get her used to it again for a moment. I had to have some work done to my ceiling because a storm that occured last month took out my roof and it started raining inside my bedroom - the leak was fixed long ago but the ceiling was not because they had to wait till we had drier weather so I had to cage them both and I found that Panda's collected and fairly calmer attitude seems only to be directed toward me as he did not like the contractor at all.

Some interesting things have happened...

Although the kennel is out, Sandy is not always staying in it. When I'm laying down in bed she will come out and walk around, sometimes even right infront of my bed. Panda has become super super super playful. At night he will lay on his side and run up and down the side of my bed while pouncing on the very edge of my matress while I'm sleep... I wake up at 3am to find him doing this...Then he pops his head up to look at me and seemingly asks to play so I get the shoe string and play with him until he gets tired enough to lay down.

Panda is almost like a normal house cat in the aspect that I can approach him and even extend my hand toward him without worrying unless I catch him off gaurd which I try not to do. He will sniff my hands. Also lately, when I'm typing on my keyboard he will stand on his hind legs at the side of my desk seemingly trying to reach my hands...

Sandy came right up to my bed, where my feet are tonight - I was shocked and also kind of worried a bit because I can't tell Sandy's intentions and then she started walking along the very side of the bed where I can't see her due to the blind spot...stayed very still because I didnt want claws in my face... Then Panda surprisingly jumped in and they kind of had a stare for a moment...and Sandy went to the Kennel and Panda jumped on the bed where I was....and slept right by my feet... (this was even more shocking).

Anyway...Im hoping everything goes well at the vet. Another thing Im worried about with Sandy is they are going to put a cone on her and I will have to remove it and reapply it to feed her. I may need to get some bite-gloves.
 

Talien

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I may need to get some bite-gloves.
That is a good idea, I've found leather welding gloves work good as well since they will also protect your forearms. I haven't had a Cat bite through them, but I have gotten scratched through them from a Cat that would smack my hand with claws out.
 

calicosrspecial

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That is great. I am so glad you are getting them in to the vet.

It is totally normal for a cat (Panda) to be "different" when other people come around. Totally normal. I wouldn't worry. I am sorry to hear about your roof and ceiling. I hope your insurance covered the cost.

That is great Sandy is moving around. She is getting comfortable and more confident!! FANTASTIC. hat you are doing is working!! And of course Panda is doing great. Cats are active at night so it is not surprising he is wanting to play. It is fantastic they (especially Panda) are acclimating so well.

That is so terrific. You are obviously building that trust and bond with him and building his confidence. He is responding to your love. SO WONDERFUL!!

Sandy exploring. Wow. Again it is fantastic. Yes, it is best to be cautious. I am guessing she knew you were there but it is best not to startle. You did the right thing. Panda sounds like he got a little territorial. He is definitely yours and you his it sounds. Very cool he slept by your feet. If he does seem a little territorial tell him in a soothing, confident, loving voice that "it is ok". Anything to make the situation about bit better or calmer (not that he was bad or anything) but just to reassure that it is ok.

I am hoping all goes well at the vet as well. That is a lot. You have probably left already but if not take separate trips and when you get home feed them and give them some love (resident cats) etc.

On Sandy, I am surprised they are going to put a cone on her. Maybe others have experienced that? You may want to make a separate post about the cone. Also, I would ask the vet if it is really necessary. I know we don't want her to open anything up. And we want to keep her as still as possible. Is the kennel big enough for you to keep her in there with a litter box? Again, you may want to make a separate post to get really good advice for her recovery. It might be a bit buried in this post.

Honestly, I have no idea how I would get a cone on and off of a feral (even though Sandy is more advanced than a feral).

Maybe in the feral section make a post and see what others say.
 

shadowsrescue

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I am just chiming in here about the e collar after spay. I have never heard of putting one on a feral and cannot imagine the amount of turmoil that would cause. First off taking it on and off would be very difficult. It would cause you stress and certainly stress to the cat. I would only use it, if there was a problem developing from her trying to chew or bite the incision area or the incision becomes infected. This would mean that you will need to keep a very close eye on her.

I had a feral male who had to have surgery after a urinary blockage. He had to wear an e collar for 17 days. It was a nightmare. He was an absolute mess. Yet his surgery was extensive and very expensive so the collar was a must. My DH and I had to take turns being with him 24/7. It even meant sleeping in the room with him. I had wireless ip cameras that I used to keep an eye on him if I needed to leave the room. Maybe this would help you?

I would really really talk to the vet about this. Does the vet have experience with feral cats? You want the recovery to be as stress free as possible. Wearing an e collar will certainly complicate things.
 
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MikeAW2010

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Today
was
a
nightmare.

Well not all of it was horrible...I did get alot done but it wasnt fun.

Before I begin:
-- Sandy is spayed - and flea treated - no E-Collar.
-- Panda got his booster shots but they gave the flea treatment to me to administer and that... did... not... work... at... all. He put up a fight - I wasted the flea treatment and he's hiding in the kennel with Sandy. The vet gave me another one for free but I need a better way to apply it.
-- Ginger, Marshmallow, Rabbit, and Baxter all got their vaccinations and flea treaments, but Rabbit is now vomiting uncontrollably. He didn't eat anything before we left either and won't eat right now.
-- Of all the cats that behaved, it was a tie between Baxter (who acted pretty much like he was at home) - and Sandy (who didn't put up any fight according to the vet)
-- Total Vet visit, aprox $450.

I'm on hold as I type with the vet to see if anything can be done about Rabbit's vommitting.

So basically, this morning I decided since all my cats were going to be gone, I would fleabomb the house at 5am to give it enough time to clear for the contractor to come (10am). So, I put the Kennel out, luckily Sandy and Panda went in on their own accord and I didnt have to fight with them to do that. Loaded them up in the car and the resident cats in a seperate Kennel then drove to the vet and waited till they opened. They were slammed because it is a discount animal clinic, first filling up with a ton of dogs and I started getting second thoughts but I decided to go with it anyway. I went inside when it was time and they told me because Sandy and Panda were ferals they needed them in seperate cages. I went to PetsMart and bought a separate cage for Panda, and also some double leathered gloves from Home Depot. I took Panda and Sandy into a PetsMart bathroom and with the aid of gloves, scooted a fighting Panda cat into his new Kennel. Reloaded them into my car and drove them back to the Vet.

At the time, they could only see Sandy (for the Spay apointment) and the rest would be serviced in queue so they told me they would text me about 30 minutes before they would be ready. Since it was going to be a few hours, I had other errands to run. It's 100*F here in Texas so I always had to leave the car and A/C running at max and leave it unattended as least as possible. I have the ability to leave the engine on but disable it from being stolen and even lock the doors without locking myself out.

After about 2.5 Hours of running arrends they called me and told me they were ready, so I brought them in. They weren't sure if they were going to be able to do anything for Panda so they saved him for last. Marshmallow put up a fight. Ginger tried to get away. Baxter plainly made friends with everyone even during the operation and ended up playing and hugging on me right after getting his shots.. and Rabbit was apprehensive. Panda...was scooped up in a blanket and only the parts they needed were exposed...he didn't fight too much. Then they gave me all the flea treatments to take home. Sandy got hers (thankfully) during her spay operation...but they needed more time with her so I took the resident cats + Panda home to get them out of the heat and back in a familiar environment.

I had enough time to apply the flea treatments to all the resident cats who were fairly apprehensive except for Baxter who practically welcomed it. Then....it was time for Panda... I was thinking, yea sure I'll just dip it on him while he's in the Kennel...only I came in the room to find a very aware and a very adverse Panda at the door of his Kennel looking right at me just waiting on me to try something. In short after trying again and again, getting swatted at, bit, and even trying to go around the room after him - didn't happen...ended up dropping it on the floor wasting it...plus Im pretty sure I wrecked his trust in me.

I went to pick up Sandy, they told me they didnt put the E-Collar on her because she's a Feral and it would make for a nightmare...I was glad for this... so she looks completely out of it and is currently in the back of her Kennel, with Panda infront of her sleeping there protecting her.

any idea as to how I can administer this flea treatment?
 
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