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Old 07-22-2013, 05:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Stray cat to the vet - questions

So there has been this little scrawny stray cat that I have seen around my neighborhood for a while. Recently, he started coming to my house for food (I care for two ferals, too) and he has decided to stick around. I made an appointment with a vet for Wednesday morning, provided I can catch him. I don't think he is feral since he will let me and my husband pet him, but he obviously has not been well cared for. We think he may have lived at a nearby farm. He is skinny, has an old limp (mostly healed), has some scars around his ears as if he has been in fights, and is not neutered. He's very sweet though.

What specifically should I ask the vet to do? I assume I will want the distemper combo and rabies vaccinations. What to test for? Feline leukemia? FIV? Is there anything else I should request? I will get him neutered, of course.

I hope I will be able to get him into a carrier. He does not care to be picked up, but I hope I can make it work. And how long will I need to keep him separated from my strictly-indoor cat, Josie? I'm not sure how this will work out but I have to make sure this little guy is healthy and safe.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hopefully you can scoop him up and put him in the carrier without him getting too anguished. The vet will check for general health, ears, eye, teeth etc. Aside from what you already planned, I can't think of anything else. Any idea how old this guy is? Thanks for caring for this fellow!

I just cruised my local Craigslist and it always breaks my heart how many ads there are for ads that states rehoming needed NOW. Like they just thought this minute to do it! I'm sure many of these cats will end up on the streets.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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since he looks to have been fighting, i'd get FIV and FLV tests (and/or vacs) certainly if you intend to keep him and you have another cat.

then parasites, fleas and mites, but you need a stool sample for all the worm tests and you probably won't be able to get that unless you can follow him around all day lol.

trick him with food. really GOOD smelly stuff, like tuna or fried chicken. put it way in the back of the carrier and after he goes in you can slam it shut and abduct him. don't stand too far back or he'll grab it and back out and run. if that doesn't work, you can always try one of those cages they use for TNR, but if you're quick, you can do it with your regular carrier. try to do it when he's the hungriest, maybe first thing in the morning.

since you don't know his history or age, personally i'd want a full exam and blood panel. that's about $100 where I go (it covers all of the above, plus checking out his limp but no x-rays, + then you have baseline blood values). it just shows you what you're working with.

good luck!
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Tip your carrier up on it end with the door open. Quickly scruff him and drop him into the carrier bottom feet first and slam the door shut. If you've scruffed him correctly he won't be able to thrash around.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Good luck.

Are you hoping to adopt him and turn him into an indoor cat? Or re-release him as an outdoor one? Seems like that could also affect what you have the vet do/check (especially if there's a concern of passing something on to your current indoor cat).
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tips and well wishes. I don't know his age, but I've seen him on and off for over 2 years; I'd guess he is an older guy since he doesn't seem very spry and looks a bit ragged. I've been checking the Craigslist and local newspaper 'lost' ads but I doubt that anyone is looking for him. I'll contact the local shelter and have the vet check for a microchip just in case.

I don't know what to do once he is vetted. Ideally he will stay inside and join our family. I don't like the idea of outdoor cats. My husband thinks is fine to keep feeding him and providing vet care, but he would prefer that he stay outside. He's concerned about any potential litter box issues (if he has never seen a litter box or even been inside a house before) and worried how he will get along with our other cat and two dogs. He has been staying on our covered front porch, and we have a little insulated cat house for the ferals. I'd also consider adopting him out but realistically, I don't know if he is very adoptable.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ive never had a feral cat (your doesnt sound truly feral) that didnt use its litter box. So litter box issue is a non issue. The challenge would be to get him to trust you and integrate with your cat which would take time and patience.

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Old 07-24-2013, 02:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, an update. I was able to easily catch the little guy this morning. I simply brought out a dish of his regular food and put it in the carrier and in he went. He was not happy when I shut the door on him and he was pretty vocal on the trip to the vet, but otherwise it was much easier than expected.

However, he was not at all cooperative at the vet. He would not let the tech weigh him and literally climbed the door trying to get away. I was impressed with this cat-only vet clinic though -- they were awesome. The vet came in and after realizing that he is probably more feral than I thought, gave him some quiet time but eventually sedated him for the exam. She has a lot of experience with TNR so I felt like she knew what she was doing. So she examined him and everything looked good and she suggested that we just go ahead and neuter him today to avoid the traumatic experience of bringing him back. However, when she checked out his "privates" (as he was sedated), she discovered that there were no testicles, only the scrotum. Mystery, since he had no microchip, no ear tip, and no other signs of being neutered. He also has a large head and said he looks like an unneutered tom. She thought he may have undescended testicles, though couldn't feel anything.

So, she took some blood to test for evidence of testosterone, along with the other blood tests. Results should be back on Friday. She gave him the rabies and distemper vaccinations, and a dose of Revolution. When we got home, I put him in a large dog crate in my basement with a litter box, fleece bed, and some food & water. He laid down in the litter box instead of the bed, which broke my heart, and hasn't touched the food yet.

Thoughts? I hope the poor guy has already been neutered. She said to keep him confined until tomorrow due to the sedation.
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Old 07-24-2013, 04:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Awwwww, I could hug you for doing this for him. I know he is sad, stressed, and doesn't know what the heck is going on, but stand strong and don't let him back out, or you will NEVER catch him again. He doesn't understand now, but he will. I am hoping that he has already been neutered too, am holding out hope that is the case.

That is awesome that you found a cat only vet! And one that sounds great too, that is perfect. If I didn't have faith in the vets that I have and had to look for another one, I would find one that just does cats too. Sounds like they really know what they are doing and that they have cats best interest at heart.

Maybe after tomorrow you can let him out in the basement, hopefully he can't find his way out of there or into anything and hurt himself trying to get out. I would almost want to keep him in the dog crate until Friday, because if he isn't neutered, you are going to have one tough time getting him back in there. Maybe if you go down there and just talk quietly to him, offer him something really yummy, like tuna or a fishy canned food, maybe he will want that.

Maybe once you find out if he is neutered or not, they can ear tip him if he is, in case it doesn't work out with him being inside, then hopefully animal control would leave him alone or someone else that finds him doesn't go through this ordeal you are going through. And I get what your husband is thinking, if it doesn't work out him being inside, and he has to live outside, it will be obvious that he is neutered with the ear tip. Does your basement have a door that leads to outside? I am not familiar too much with basements, I'm in FL, so sorry if that is a stupid question, I just know my dads basement has a door that leads to outside, and I was thinking if yours did, maybe he could have a cat door and go in and out? Even if he ends up being an outside cat, you will have done so much for him by getting his shots up to date, and making sure he can't make more baby kitties. He may surprise you though, after living his rough life outdoors, he may be quite happy to become a house kitty. But if not, and he has to live outside, he will still be so much better off. Thank you for caring for this poor little guy.
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyK View Post
Thanks for the tips and well wishes. I don't know his age, but I've seen him on and off for over 2 years; I'd guess he is an older guy since he doesn't seem very spry and looks a bit ragged. I've been checking the Craigslist and local newspaper 'lost' ads but I doubt that anyone is looking for him. I'll contact the local shelter and have the vet check for a microchip just in case.

I don't know what to do once he is vetted. Ideally he will stay inside and join our family. I don't like the idea of outdoor cats. My husband thinks is fine to keep feeding him and providing vet care, but he would prefer that he stay outside. He's concerned about any potential litter box issues (if he has never seen a litter box or even been inside a house before) and worried how he will get along with our other cat and two dogs. He has been staying on our covered front porch, and we have a little insulated cat house for the ferals. I'd also consider adopting him out but realistically, I don't know if he is very adoptable.
Should you decide to keep him inside, he will adapt just fine. Cats adapt to litter boxes, usually without any prompting. When we first took in Annie, a stray in Sicily, I put a box out, put her in it and gently showed her how to dig in it while holding her front paws and doing a digging motion. She turned around, looked at me and peed in it! I knew we'd be best friends from that moment!

After being fixed, most cats settle down pretty well. He may cry to go back out but will resign himself to being inside in no time. (Annie cried for 3 weeks). Keep him in a room by himself until you are sure he is using the litter box and eating without problems. After that, or if he is having issues you could always re-release him outside and continue to feed and care for him.
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