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Old 06-29-2010, 09:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Stray cat won't eat or drink

I live in a wooded/farmland area out in Montana. Someone dropped a female cat (unsure of exactly when) out near where I live. The cat had kittens about 10 weeks ago... I found out about the kittens only about 4 weeks ago. One was captured right away, and the other was captured on Thursday of last week. One other had unfortunately passed away before I knew there were kittens out there The one caught earlier is completely tame now and a normal kitten. The one caught Thursday is playing with stuff now, playing with his sister some, and warming up to people.... So after catching the kittens my attention was turned to catching the mother cat, so she could be spayed right away, and domesticated..

I caught her yesterday morning between 5am and 7am in a hav-a-hart cat trap. She was not pleased.. I got her transported to a safe room in a house after was a little more calm and I could get her in a normal cat carrying case. I have an appointment set up to get her spayed and thoroughly checked out for feline leukaemia, etc etc (both the kittens were checked before and are fine).

The problem I've run into is she is not eating or drinking at all from what I can tell. She peed on the floor once about 4 or 5 hours after I got her in that room, which of course wasn't a big deal and was somewhat expected.....and peed a little in the litter box sometime earlier today. She's definitely not eating, and I'm not seeing any water disappear either. I can pet her a little without her hissing, swatting or biting, so I'm about 100% sure she's not feral.

Has anyone had this type of thing happen with a captured stray cat? Are there any suggestions you might have to get her to start at least drinking or eating wet food for moisture? When I was feeding her and her male kitten to try to catch them these past 4 weeks I was using small paper plates to feed them to get them up on my deck. So I've been putting the same type of food on small plates, and even putting water in a small saucer instead of a bowl (in case she doesn't like the bowl). No luck I've tried wet cat food, tuna, and even some baby food to try to get her to eat something with moisture in it.

I'm really worried about her. She's going to be going in to the vet tomorrow to be spayed and checked out.. I'm going to ask the vet to hydrate her too... I feel really bad and am beginning to wonder if I'm really doing her a favor by trying to save her from a life outdoors.... I'd hate to let her go though after being spayed and then one day find her in my barn dead

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm sorry for the length of this post.. I just wanted to make sure to get any possibly relevant details in the post. Thanks ahead of time for any info or suggestions!
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stray cat won't eat or drink

She's not eating because she's still adjusting to the new environment. Give her another day. If she's not eating then, then I'd worry.
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stray cat won't eat or drink

Very normal for a cat in a new environment!! It is a very normal thing. Give it a couple of days with TLC and she'll open up! If not, have her checked by a vet...Oh, I think you already were gonna bring her in tomorrow. Keep us posted!
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stray cat won't eat or drink

Thank you for the responses!

I guess I'm not too worried about her not eating yet (the kittens did the same thing). Not drinking any water is what's really concerning me. Should I take the same approach with that and see how she is tomorrow? Hopefully she'll drink some water tonight. With the kittens it was different since they were easy to pick up and shoot a little water in their mouths when they were refusing to drink early on to keep them hydrated.

Edit: One thing I should've added in the first post was the time she was caught yesterday. I caught her sometime between 5am and 7am yesterday morning. So she's been without water for somewhere around 40 hours already.

Now that we've been able to handle her more (and fail getting water into her mouth) we are going to try the skin test on the scruff of her neck and see if it snaps back quickly or if she's getting dehydrated. We are going to make another attempt to get water in her too.
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stray cat won't eat or drink

Late to the party, but welcome, and I think I you for helping these abandoned kitties. It's normal for cats to avoid eating/drinking in new environments. 24hrs is normal, and even up to 48hrs, but if the cat doesn't eat/drink by the 3rd day (72hrs), then I'd get concerned.
You caught her early Monday morning ... when is her vet/spay appointment? You could ask the vet about rehydrating her while he has her under and if you aren't at the 8-10hr cut-off-point for no food pre-surgery, can you tempt her with a canned food soup? About two Tablespoons of canned food mixed with a bit of water to make a cross between a paste and thick-ish soup.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stray cat won't eat or drink

Thanks Heidi and everyone else for the information

Just wanted to give an update on how she's doing. We did manage to get some water in her that night, and I'm pretty sure she drank a little over night (she used the litter box some time that night).

She was spayed yesterday and completely checked out. No feline leukemia or anything like that. She spent most of yesterday after the surgery resting, but I think she did drink a little water and ate a little food later.

It turned out that she had already gone into heat, so it was lucky she was caught before she ran into one of the male cats out here. There's a very large feral colony about 2 doors down from where I live. The people there have been getting them trapped, neutered/spayed and released, so it's pretty well managed luckily. There are also a couple decent size barn cat communities near here too... so I'm guessing she would've ended up pregnant again. I just found out about the feral colony, and barn cats about a month ago since I'm new to this area.

I'll have to type up the story about the kittens some other time. The last kitten sure wasn't easy to trap, and involved turning my house into a cat trap. I'm really glad a skunk, coyote or something bigger didn't wander into my house while I was trying to catch the kitten
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stray cat won't eat or drink

I guess the kitty you trapped is someone dumped companion animal? I know most vets and low cost spay nueter clinics want you to bring the feral in the hav a heart trap to them. Did you vet sub Q the momma cat? In the future I would ask them too if they havent drank in over 48 hours. I mix a tiny bit of water into soft food for recovering ferals. Soft food is better for them in recovery than hard since it has more liquid in it to hydrate them. I would think easier on digestion and eliminating also!

Hats off to you for what your doing for the abandoned kitties. Would love to hear more stories of how they are doing. Are you going to adopt them out or make them your own personal cats or barn cats?
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Old 07-02-2010, 03:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stray cat won't eat or drink

I'm pretty sure she was just dumped near my house. The vet estimated she was around 1 or 2 years old. The vet did re-hydrate her while she was there, and we have been able to get a little water in her mouth with a syringe (minus the needle of course). I don't think she's drinking at all out of the dishes in there though.

She's still not eating anything either We've tried tuna, wet cat food, the same type of dry cat food she ate outside, gerbers baby food, hamburger, a fairly thick chicken broth and will be trying chicken pieces later today along with more broth. We've tried bringing the kittens in to have them roam around the room a little and eat some food. None of it seems to get her interested at all in the food. We even tried using the syringe to get some of the thick chicken broth in her mouth. She almost seems despondent in there.

Per the vets suggestion we are going to put a black sheet over a desk that's in there so it'll be a nice larger spot for her to hide out, like a little tent. In there we are going to put some food and water, as well as having food and water in 2 other areas of the room (one set out in the open, and one set behind a large cat climbing condo she likes to sleep in).

I'm hoping that will work tonight. We are also going to put the kittens in there with her for a little while later today with some food, and leave them all alone to see if she comes out to eat (we'll be able to watch discretely through a window...just in case).

If she still isn't eating anything by tomorrow I'm going to get a hold of the vet again and bring her in to get a 2nd opinion from the weekend "emergency care" vet in our town.

As for the kittens, they are both doing great. My parents are keeping the kittens. I'll be keeping the mother cat. I really hope we can get her to eat soon though... Very worried about that as she's already skinny as it is (6 1/2 lbs).
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Old 07-02-2010, 03:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stray cat won't eat or drink

Maybe the vet could give her a B12 shot. Try giving her some babyfood ham or chicken or turkey. Sometime that little bit spurs their appetite to start eating also. She sounds like a friendly cat and not feral. If she is living in your office or spare room have places for her to hide and feel safe. I use boxes with a door cut into it. Upside down. So if you need to get her you can just life it up. I know Heidi uses litter box tops for them to crawl into to feel safe but your able to lift it up to get the cat. Fingers crossed she starts coming around. Is she running a fever? How do her gums look? Pink? Grayish?
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stray cat won't eat or drink

We got a little chicken broth mixed with baby food in her yesterday and last night. After she got a taste of it she ate a fair amount of it off of the spoon we were using to feed her. We have a nice tent like place for her to hide and sleep in there (a desk with a couple black sheets over it). We put some food and water in there too, as well as food and water in a couple other locations in the room. She's been spending a lot of time under the desk in the bed there near that food and water. She does come out quite a bit though and hang out in other areas of the room.

Unfortunately over night she didn't eat anything or drink anything I'm taking her to the vet today to have them check her out again and hopefully we'll find out what's going on and how to help her. She was pretty skinny when she was caught (about 6 1/2 lbs), and in observing her on my deck as I tried to catch the kitten, she'd only eat a little food then just stand watch as the kitten ate, and played with the bugs on the deck.

I know when we caught the kitten he was pretty constipated.. After a few days he finally got out what was plugging him up..it was very hard, had pine needles and tiny bones in it. I'm wondering if maybe that's what she's got going on so she doesn't feel well because of it..

I haven't got a good look at her gums yet. She didn't feel like she was running a fever. I'll make sure the vet checks her temperature and gums out too. I'm going to have the vet do whatever he/she needs to do in order to help her out.
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