What to do

Silentseason

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
4
Purraise
14
Hi Everyone,

I just joined the forum. Here is my situation. I started caring for a colony at my workplace in 2007 with 5 original cats. The original 5 have passed away and I was left with two cats who I took up for as they sort of took the place of the original 5. Lots of trials with them: driving through hurricanes to get them fed, climbing locked fences, dealing with unpleasant apartment people, etc. It is tough some days getting out to them on off days and weekends (I live 10 miles away) but as the years have gone on this task has become really important, something to be proud of, particularly with other issues in life that I am dealing with. So here is my question: the older of the two, an orange tabby named Saturday, has been getting sick the past month or so: matted fur, losing weight, can't do the speaky meow that was so endearing about her, one of her eyes was running. She was still moving about OK and still in the routine of waiting for me to show up to feed them. But clearly she was ill. Here is my dilemma: you don't want them to suffer obviously. But she is still active, and I don't know if she was trappable. I am torn about what to do: she is probably at the end of her life, but trying to catch her would stress her out, and if I did putting her in a carrier/trap and taking her to a vet to euthanize somehow didn't seem right. She has lived in this quasi wooded area her whole life, it is her home and taking her away would somehow steal what is rightfully hers. The moment may have passed as I haven't seen her since July 4, but she has disappeared before and I thought she was gone, and she turned back up. Anyway I am interested in anyone's opinion or similar story. I know feeding ferals and colonies is gut wrenching but Saturday is extra special. Thanks for allowing me to join the forum.
 

Furballsmom

Forum Helper and Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
31,733
Purraise
42,789
Location
Colorado USA
Thank you so much for sharing this situation with us. Have you added L-lysine to their food? It's not necessarily proven to help their immune system but on the other hand it probably provides some benefit.

I can't really speak to your dilemma, although I wonder if maybe I'd leave her there ... Gosh, I don't know.

Tremendous hugs!!
 
Last edited:

poolcat

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
43
Purraise
75
You should get an award for what you've been doing for these two. Since you know them better than anyone else, I suggest trusting your instincts as far as what to do about Saturday if she shows up again. Even if you could get her to a vet, what would you do if she needed daily medication? Euthanizing her might save her some suffering, but how would you feel about that? A hard decision, for sure ... and a sad situation.
 

fionasmom

Moderator
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
7,827
Purraise
10,843
Location
Los Angeles
I have been in your situation previously of maintaining a feral colony at my workplace with many of the uncertainties and obstacles that you are facing. You are to be commended greatly for what you are doing for these cats, and have done.

This is a real judgment call on your part, although I don't mean to throw it back in your lap like that. I have, and just did recently, trapped a feral who was in terrible shape and brought him in for euthanasia. It was the third time I have done that with ferals. So, I do understand that option. When they have no road forward except suffering, it outweighs, for me, letting them wander off to die on their own.

I have made attempts at medicating ferals, once with my own prescription which I parceled out into gelatin capsules and disguised in pill pockets. You won't be able to get a prescription unless you can get her to a vet and then the question of administering it at all comes up. This cat you describe sounds as if she is in serious condition, injured, diabetic, kidney failure, etc and I don't know that trying to even medicate is not ultimately a valiant attempt that won't be workable.

I did think one feral had gone for good once, and he turned up in even worse condition a couple of weeks later....so brace yourself in case.

You do sound extremely informed and grounded about these cats. I know this is so hard; please let us know what you do.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

Silentseason

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
4
Purraise
14
Thanks all for the input. I haven't seen Saturday since July 4. I'm sure there were fireworks galore and that probably stressed her. I'm still going every day to feed the other cat, a torti named Peanut Butter and am shaking the food container and calling her name. There have been several times I thought she was gone only to see her return safe and ok. This time she is clearly ill. Feeding a colony is out of preference and necessity a solitary task. I can't impart how much joy Saturday brought me over the years, her waiting impatiently for me to feed them, running up and rubbing against my ankles as I walked up to their feeding area. At this point I needed help, but it is a very lonely position doing this. I just didn't think she deserved to be put down, but I don't think there is any chance for a recovery. I will pray that the needed solution is done or will come. I've lost a multitude of ferals in the past, almost all unexpectedly. You rarely get closure. The thought of Saturday being nearby but being too sick to come out really saddens me.

I will post what happens. Thanks for listening and the advice.
20200522_184012.jpg
 

Furballsmom

Forum Helper and Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
31,733
Purraise
42,789
Location
Colorado USA
Their lives are so tough. Thank you for being you.

You've given her so much joy and delight as well.
 

kittychick

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Messages
1,553
Purraise
1,819
Location
Ohio
I see you haven't been back to this thread - - but saw it and I wanted to say a few things in case you do come back to this thread.

First - I'm SO happy you found this site. When I found it years ago, I was struggling with trapping a very feral mom and her 3 kittens that were born under our neighbor's hot tub. We trapped all 4 - - but it was my first time putting a mom back out post-spay without her kittens (we socialized and adopted the kittens) was gut-wrenching. Hearing her wail 24/7 for them was enough to make us seriously consider putting the kittens back out with her. But then I found this site - - and the knowledgeable, caring members here truly got me through it. I hope we can do the same for you! Please take advantage of all of the members who really want to help - - or are just willing to listen.

You've truly done a wonderful thing in caring so much for them all. And you're right - - often there isn't closure, which is beyond tough. I don't think a single person in this forum would disagree - and most of us have gone through it far too many times. But it still doesn't get any easier. I try to remind myself (and if I don't - members here remind me :) ) that even if/when there are bad times, their furry lives have been made SO much better by being fixed, fed, watered, sheltered and shown that someone cares. And remember too that you've very likely not only made the life they do have far more comfortable - - - you've also given them far more time (and time not spent being pregnant or hungry or thirsty) then they would have had without assistance.

One kitty ("Blackie" - hey, I didn't name her!) from the colony we TNR'd broke a leg one winter a few years ago. She separated herself from the rest of the colony and started living under our neighbor's deck, next to the hot tub heater. We figured she wouldn't survive long inured, and I cried buckets, wishing I could relieve Blackie's pain (or put her out of it if that's what was best). But she was VERY trap savvy (it took ages to trap her originally), and tho we talked about trapping her and keeping her inside until her leg healed (if that was possible). But she refused to be trapped. So hubby made her a shelter that fit under the neighbor's deck next to the heater. We got our hands on some cat pain relievers & antibiotics, which we put in her food morning and night. She stayed under the neighbor's deck all winter, & seemed to be getting less 'limpy.' She even started jumping onto the fence between our house and the neighbor's, where she could see into our family room window and would often commune for hours with Flick, one of our feral TNR's from that colony that became a permanent indoor love bug. Then suddenly Blackie was gone. We walked the neighborhood non-stop, called the county to see if a black cat had been hit in our area, and talked to every neighbor who knew the kitties. After a few months, we knew she had to be gone for good. But......over two years later I get a call from one of the other neighborhood trappers. She said "Didn't you say Blackie broke a leg and died? I just saw her for the first time in 2 years - and she seems to be fine. She's on my porch right now!" I drove over and yup - it was Blackie! She still had a limp, but she was happy, and now being fed and sheltered by my partner in TNR. Blackie never came our way again - but she's still hanging at that home! We get periodic reports - she's doing really well. Sorry so long - but that's my "never give up" story - which I wouldn't believe if it hadn't happened to me!

This is likely a stupid question (that you might have already answered and I missed it) - have you physically searched the area while calling for her/opening & closing a food can/whatever gets her attention normally? It sounds like she does have a bond with you, and that perhaps she will tolerate being trapped again (too feral to walk into a cat carrier w/food in it I'm guessing). If she does have enough trust in you to let her get her to the vet (and you have a vet that will work on a feral/semi-feral - - - which is hard here, so probably same for where you are), would she possibly let you do as we did - slip meds in her food if meds will help?

And as fionasmom fionasmom said - - - you do seem very grounded and realistic in your options. We too have trapped in order to euthanize - - - it's beyond hard but I know I'm doing that right thing at that point (my heart has trouble remembering that). And if you can medicate her - even surreptitiously w/o taking her to the vet if need be (I got Blackie's meds through a friend at a shelter - -she got me almost-expired meds, and they obviously worked on Blackie!).

PLEASE keep us posted - - - I hope that Saturday does come back, and that you're able to help. But remember - we're here regardless of the outcome. We've got strong shoulders to lean on. :alright:
 

kittychick

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Messages
1,553
Purraise
1,819
Location
Ohio
Just had to find post this - - Blackie (through a screen - so yes, the pic is cruddy) post-winter, on the fence between us and our neighbors, trying to see if she can see Flick through the window. Two minutes after I took this Flick jumped up and they communed through the window for ages. So the impossible can happen!
Blackie on fence looking for FLick.jpg
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

Silentseason

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
4
Purraise
14
Dear Friends,
I am definitely going to post something soon. As of today Saturday hasn't returned and I don't think she will. Trying to adjust to the emotional and physical emptiness of the situation. Thanks for caring, more to come. Ps still feeding Peanut Butter just in case you were wondering.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10

Silentseason

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
4
Purraise
14
Dear Friends,

It is the end of July, and I have not seen Saturday since July 4. There have been two stints previously where she had disappeared. Once in April of 2020 she was gone for 10 days when I believe a fox was keeping her away (this was during the height of COVID). She returned with no harm then. The second time was December 2021 when an unneutered male gray tabby invaded their domain and was beating up Peanut Butter and Saturday to get food. Both of them went into hiding until I could get the male cat removed (Note: he wasn't a bad cat, just looking to survive. He weighed 14 lbs and chased the two females off. I was finally able to trap and remove him to a cat sanctuary). When Saturday came back she was a little ragged and as it turns out this was the beginning of the end for her.

I feel I know her very well. She has passed on this time I truly believe. She was ill at the last I was seeing of her. I still am, and will always be, in conflict about what was the correct thing to do. Probably trying to trap her would have been best, but something inside of me said no. First problem would have been getting her trapped: she and Peanut Butter were always a pair, and I don't know if Peanut Butter would have gone in the trap as she is the more aggressive of the two. I thought about trying to grab and get her in a carrier, but Saturday still was active and I don't think I would have succeeded. And somehow I don't think that was the right thing to do anyway: she would have freaked out being in a carrier, then to take her to a vet and have her around several other cats in carriers might have finished her off. She was such a part of the area that I fed her that I just felt it was her land, and she deserved to live and roam there. Other that shaking the food jar and calling for her I haven't pursued trying to locate her. The area is a wooded section at the end of the high school I work at, with an apartment complex and valley/woods next to it. The apartment complex is not a good place, and if somehow there is a good soul who helped out then great, but the population there isn't real cat friendly.

So Peanut Butter is the legacy now of 6 previous cats whom I have fed in this area for the last 15 years. I hope Saturday knows how special she was and is not in pain anymore. Thanks to everyone here for the support and kind words. Sometimes I'm OK with how it happened, sometimes not. I still expect to see Saturday run up for food, but it isn't going to happen. I'll keep tending to Peanut Butter. She might be the last here, but as you know cats adopt you, you don't adopt them. Peace and love to all the caretakers out there. It ain't easy.
 

Furballsmom

Forum Helper and Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
31,733
Purraise
42,789
Location
Colorado USA
This was some time ago, but we had a cat that some neighbors were feeding (I never knew if she was actually theirs or a street kitty) that we called the Grey Lady, then after a while she became The Old Grey Lady. We helped disentangle her kittens from fence slats when they got stuck a time or two, and would see her with half grown youngsters now and then, and then of course one year we didn't see her anymore, just one or two of her offspring who I think were taken in by those same neighbors. One, Mr. Pants (for his white back legs on an otherwise black body and tail), got into a territorial bitey discussion with Poppycat which naturally sent our boy to the ER. Mr Pants survived the encounter with no ill effects that we could determine, and stayed out of our yard from then on :).

Right or wrong, It's an amazing thing they give to us who care for and about them :vibes: :heartshape::purr:
 
Last edited:

fionasmom

Moderator
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
7,827
Purraise
10,843
Location
Los Angeles
You have helped these cats live the best lives they could while honoring their wild nature. Other ferals should be so lucky.:redheartpump:
 
Top