Please help me help her.
I joined today to ask for help with feral. I apologise for the post that follows being so long, I want to give as complete a picture as possible!
We moved to our farm in July, the farm had been empty for 18 months and the owners left ''three or four'' ''barn cats''. Bombolone (our name for her)we were told, was about 12, male and neutered. She turns out to be probably not yet 5 and female, but neutered.
She has always stayed closer to the house than the others, who I haven't yet discerned entirely from my neighbours cats (neutered). I'm happy to feed them for the rest of their lives, we're not moving again, but I did want to verify they are neutered, I suspect the limited numbers mean they are, though wonder if Bombolone is the offspring of a cat older than her that arrived 12 years ago.
Bombolone got in a pattern of waiting for food, which I take out when ever I see her, at 11 am and 6pm, nd sometimes other times too. She often came with a couple of cats my neighbours say are theirs, sometimes alone.
I fed her/them by my open front door and also in an outhouse where I later put food in a trap, and caught noone!
A few weeks ago Bombolone had the crouched uncomfortable posture of a cat with bladder infection, or a lower back problem and I decided she needed a vet trip urgently. It cleared up, but I sat with the food daily, moving it further in the house. Sometimes my own cats would join us and they'd all eat together.
The weekend before last Bombolone came far enough in the house for me to close the door. She was obviously very stressed, and my vet suggested I give her a few days to acclimatise in a very large crate, with a hidey hole, a litter tray. She saw the vet four days later who gave her a relatively clean bill of immediate health, but confirmed it probably had been a bladder infection (WBC count indicated infection) and that she has the very, very early stages of renal issues: failure to concentrate her urine.
The vet suggested we spend a few weeks trying to socialise her, so that she could receive treatment at later date when its needed, or be caught to be PTS at a later date.
So just over a week on and I feel very conflicted...are we really doing the right thing for her? She has very bad diarrhoea (the vet feels this is stress of change nothing more serious) and though she purrs and enjoys a scratch and a stroke, purring wildly after a while, but each time I approach her it takes 5- 15 minutes stroking with a long handled brush to get to the stage I can put my hand n her.
My vet things we should give it four months, handling and feeding and providing warmth.
She's coping with the litter tray ok, getting the idea...apart from with the diarrhoea. She has free access to the bathroom, and a large landing all the time, at night I open the room to my bedroom so she is ''close'' and realises proximity isn't always about pressuring her. She and my pet cats ignore each other pretty much, they sleep with me.
I feel she's not getting any happier with handling right now, though it has been suggested I'm too close to see we're making progress.
where do I go from here? Just persist with handling?