Robert, my first TNR! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2007, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Robert, my first TNR!

I know TNRs are old hat to all you veterans, but this is my first one, and I'm really excited! This is Robert:



We first spotted him two weeks ago, but I suspect he's been around longer than that. A couple of our neighbors have free-roaming black cats, and I think he just quietly blended in, until we finally happened to see them all in one place.

I trapped him a couple of nights ago and have been housing him in a dog crate. He has not been overjoyed with the accommodations. I keep neatly arranging the litter box, food and water dishes, and a clean towel to sleep on. He keeps using the litter to bury the dishes, peeing on the towel, and sleeping in the litter box. We repeat this ritual several times a day.

He is not a pretty boy. He's mangy in places and covered in scars. But he lets me pet him without complaint, and seems to really enjoy head-scratches. He hasn't even tried very hard to escape.

Robert is at the vet today for his neutering, so he'll be free again soon. Once that cage door is open, he'll probably take off and never look back. But there will be food out for him every night, and if he decides he misses those head-scratches, I'll be here.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2007, 05:50 PM
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Good for you, JG! Robert looks handsome to me, but you know how much I love black cats. He must have had a home at one time, or he wouldn't have allowed you to pet him. It's so sad that a pet gets lost and his owners never find them...or they wandered him. Anyway, congratulations! You are lengthening his life considerably!




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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2007, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanie
He must have had a home at one time, or he wouldn't have allowed you to pet him.
That's what I think too, although I think it was a long time ago. He has a lot of scars, and he clearly would be happier back in the wild. But I'm glad you think he looks handsome!

He came through his surgery just fine, and is resting on the porch. But I could use some post-operative advice...the vet said not to let him outdoors for 10-12 days. Is it really necessary to wait that long? I certainly don't want him to have complications, but he's so miserable in that crate. He had a Metacam injection that is supposed to kill pain for 72 hours, but he is fully alert and active. When would you release him?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2007, 08:44 PM
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I would wait, JG, because you don't have an intermediate area for him. If you had a room where he could stay, that would be all right in a few days, but not outside...definitely. Sorry!




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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2007, 08:56 PM
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I agree with Jeanie!
post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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But everything I've read about TNR says you can release them within a day or two -- even females!

Quote:
Originally Posted by [url
http://www.peninsulacatworks.org/tnr/trapping.php[/url]]Some trappers like to have the clinic place cat after surgery in a plastic cat carrier lined with a towel for recovery. We do not recommend a carrier unless the cat is a male or a lactating female and will be released later that same night. If the cat is a non-nursing female, and especially if she was pregnant, you should plan to hold her in a trap for at least 48 hours after surgery.
Quote:
Originally Posted by [url
http://www.alleycat.org/pdf/surgery.pdf[/url]]Both males and females should be sheltered overnight. The morning after surgery, check that the cats are alert and clear-eyed, and do not display any signs of illness. If they appear healthy, they can be released the morning after surgery, barring inclement weather or extreme outdoor temperatures. If a female was pregnant, however, she should be held for an additional two days.
Quote:
Originally Posted by [url
http://www.hssaz.org/services_tnr.html[/url]]It is recommended that male cats not be released for at least 12-24 hours post surgery and females 24-36 hours post-surgery.
This is all I had planned on and prepared for. The dog crate is not very big. He can sit up in it and walk back and forth a little, but the smallest litter box I can find takes up half of the floor. It's fine for a couple of days, but two weeks just seems cruel. Why are the opinions of recovery time so different??
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 12:23 PM
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I wouldn't, but it's your choice, JG. I'd be concerned about infection and possible fights. I would do as the vet recommends.




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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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I talked with a local stray rescue group who supports TNR, and they also thought the 10-12 days was overcautious. They said you need to balance the extra recovery time with how stressful the confinement is for the cat, because if they end up thrashing a lot or chewing on the wound, it's riskier than if you let them out.

Robert isn't as bad as a full-bore feral, but he's definitely stressed. He's constantly rearranging everything in the crate; since the surgery he has started turning his litter box upside down and chewing on the edge. He's left the surgery site alone so far, but he has been biting on some of his other fur.

After extensive searching for other vets' online post-neuter-recovery instructions, the longest recommendation I could find was to keep them in for 48 hours. That was a regular vet site, not even a TNR one. So I remain confused by the huge variation in opinions.

I need to go with my gut. It would be ideal if I could keep him for the whole time my vet recommended, but given the balance of all the factors and the conflicting advice, if he's OK after 48 hours then I will let him out.

Poor Robert, I set out trying to do the right thing for him, and now I feel like I've just been cruel. We have at least two more cats to TNR, at least one of which is female. We are definitely going to have to come up with something better than that one crate.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 08:44 PM
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No, you haven't been cruel. An intact tom allowed outside has an expected livetime of two years. You have done a very good deed. If you had a larger space for him to recover, that would be ideal. But you can only do your best.




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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Green
Robert isn't as bad as a full-bore feral, but he's definitely stressed. He's constantly rearranging everything in the crate; since the surgery he has started turning his litter box upside down and chewing on the edge. He's left the surgery site alone so far, but he has been biting on some of his other fur.

Poor Robert, I set out trying to do the right thing for him, and now I feel like I've just been cruel. We have at least two more cats to TNR, at least one of which is female. We are definitely going to have to come up with something better than that one crate.
Kudos to you for nuetering Robert! I would cover the cage so he feels protected and like he is in a hiding place. If you release him on pain meds he might be over active not limiting himself while healing. I dont think youve been cruel. A few confined days in a crate that he has food and water is the best thing for him. Hes just unfamilar with it. All the cats we TNR do the tip over bowls, thrash to get out, pee on towels, etc. This is normal.

Next time you see the vet ask him why 10 days to hold a feral cat? Tell him youve read a day or two from most groups doing TNR. Id be interested to hear his reasoning. Keep us posted on the next ones you TNR also. Good job!


Edited for spelling
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