I had a cat that I originally found cowering under a truck at night near my apartment at the time that I took in. I had seen another cat a few weeks before roaming around that area and the next day saw it had been hit by a car. I promised myself if I ever saw another cat in that area I would take it in until I found the owner. He was quite thin, wearing a gold cheap flea and tick collar. I put signs and ads everywhere, walked him on harness to lead me to where he came from, contacted animal control, humane, craigslist, walked him visibly. I fed him top nutrition, exercised him, got him strong and in sparkling health. A month later my room mate and I moved to an apartment that didn't allow cats(I snuck him inside of a carrier each day and took him with me in the van everywhere). This became quite the undertaking. My mom was dying of a complex illness that required a lot of care. I would take him there but would keep him in the kitchen or tie him outside the window while I did the necessary things. I took him to nature areas to hike on harness, walked him in alleys in the city, made cat friends. 5 things complicated things temporily. I found a kitten that was wandering into traffic that added to the mix(another story), I got a terrible injury when a car came speeding around the corner not seeing my cat charging simultaneously toward the road in front of my parked car and I had a terrible fall holding onto the harness, the weather got cold, there was some type of apartment inspection, and my room mate had finals. I let my dad take care of the cats for a few days(big mistake). When I went to get them, they were gone. There was a note not saying much. He wouldn't tell me where they were. I figured the small cat went with one of my moms maids grandma as she expressed interest in that one saying that. Sad thing is, that one could have found the best of homes as it seemed to be a rarer breed with unusual blue eyes and markings and a swanky cat breeder came up to me at a gas station once very fascinated in him. The other one solid black, more prone to attack, not likely to be picked as a pet. I felt so horrified. Fast forward 2-3 years. October he finally told me where the cat was. He was on a farm. I didn't see him until this January. My first site of him was the single most guilt ridden, traumatizing, feeling I've had in my life. I've seen a lot(seeing family members die in various ways, etc.) so that is saying a lot. I didn't recognize him. If it weren't for his hallmark bite off the tip of one ear I wouldn't have known. He looked diseased ridden, eyes with sticky matter draping across them, defeated, void of the soul I'd come to know and love, struggled to meow, had gained weight, had grey streaks all through his fur, his head seemed sunken into his body somehow. He got up and limped and the whole back of his leg was red and completely exposed with no skin and I thought I saw the bone. (the cat that did that to him is no longer living on the farm, he went to live at the man's sisters and I think died) I knew in that moment, no matter what, my life would never be the same. After many family tragedies and prior to that a long cancer fight with my childhood dog, it was finally finally time that I was recovering and focusing on me(before my dads health will most likely fail). Hard to explain, a small window in many ways. I feel like by keeping the cat I will lose that window. I can't explain it.
But that farm has coyotes nearby that the man said inevitably kill the cats after about 5 years when they wander off too far(and I saw what looked like coyote prints in the snow right by the barns.), his injury makes him a sitting duck(though the farmer said he's quite smart), spring with fighting season is coming, he acquired FIV from the cat that bit his leg. This adds a lot of other issues to the mix. Before taking him to the vet I asked if any cats had FeLV and he said yeah they all have that. He tested negative for that so I think he was mixed up on the disease names. Anyway I got him vaccinated for FeLV just in case.
The positives: He is king at that farm with females and he is the only adult male, there are various structures to explore and a set up with straw or hay in a barn with ladders and different shacks and his nearby fathers farm that has a good barn structure with cat entrances. It is surrounded by a lot of farmland. He gets fed everyday. The mans house has windows that face the cat barns where he can watch them at least some of the time. When he's out in the field thats when the fights happened. There are bird feeders to provide more entertainment.
Anyway for the past two weeks I have taken him in to get vetted(I'm currently living at my dads place). I'm also sampling what it would be like to have him with me again and just how much it takes away or how happy he'd even be. Also, because the vet said the tip of his good ear had dead tissue from frostbite and a subzero cold spell was coming so I thought it was the time.
Both my dad and the man at the farm are people I have to kind of walk on eggshells with so have to approach this situation carefully and be 100% sure of the right thing.
Anyway in addition to trying to figure out this quagmire, I also have probably some helpful advice I could give to others like innovative ways to catch wildish cats, some health stuff, etc. Hoping to get and seek advice soon.