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Discussion Starter #1
I encountered a stray kitty just a little while ago, and I'm not sure if there is something wrong with him, but since I have an elderly cat with health issues, I'm kind of concerned that he may be sick, and wonder if anyone recognizes this symptom.

I went out into the garage around 3am to see if my cat felt like having a bit of food, since she hadn't eaten much in the daytime. We keep the garage door raised about an inch or two in the summer for airflow into the garage, which can get very hot and stuffy without it. That was when I saw a whiskered black nose sticking through the small gap and a white paw beside it :/

Win was sitting about a foot away, carrying on a conversation with the black nose.

I went out the front door to see if I recognized the other cat, as there are a few other cats in my neighborhood.

It was a black-and-white adult cat, male (I think - it was hard to get a look at his potential junk). No collar. I don't know for sure if he's a stray or not, but his appearance and behavior seem to point to him having been a pet.

He was thin, but otherwise in good condition; he wasn't dirty or ratty and his ears weren't ragged or torn. His eyes and nose were clean and free of crust and discharge. He was super affectionate and came towards me, meowing and rubbing against my legs. He let me pet him and even rolled onto his back for a belly rub. His teeth looked fairly white.

However, he kept making this weird, wheezy, raspy sort of horking noise, mouth open, and sometimes he would hiss while he was doing it, but the hiss was not aggressive or hostile as he'd still be rubbing his face on my hands while he was making the sounds.

In between bouts of this sound, his breathing was totally normal, not raspy at all. His meow and purr both sounded normal. But he would keep making the horking sort-of-coughing sounds mixed with the hisses. It kind of sounded like he had a hairball and a respiratory infection at the same time. Plus hissing.

He did not sneeze or cough at all, nor was he drooling or panting. I gave him a can of food (which was probably a stupid move) and he scarfed it down. I think he's been on his own for a while, as he was ravenous.

I went straight to take a shower after I petted him, and changed my clothes, but he HAD been fairly close to Win through the gap in the garage door. Win is current on her vaccinations, but she doesn't need to catch a virus with all her other health issues right now.

Should I be worried about this weird horking-hissing? Does it sound like a respiratory illness?

Once it's daylight, if he's still around, I'm going to rent a humane trap and take him to the shelter, where (hopefully) they'll scan him for a microchip and find his family :{

If he isn't chipped... I want to adopt him myself, because he's an incredibly affectionate and sweet kitty and I have a huge soft spot for tuxedos. But with Win's health and age, I don't know if it's feasible >_<
 

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Sounds like congestion. Like us, could be URI or just allergies. Or maybe he just just super-excited that someone was paying attention to him.
 

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It sounds like he's pretty sick! Poor baby.

Hissing isn't always agressive, especially in our house. Torri hisses at EVERYTHING! (The silly Princess) She hisses at thunder, the boys walking past without even looking at her, her own bum when she has 'dingleberries', the loud neighbors, the city lawn mowers, ect. I don't really even listen to her hisses anymore and the other cats pretty much ignore it.

When Jitzu was really congested this winter (chronic feline herpes/nasal damage from a flare up) she would sometimes sneeze, or wheeze a bit and then hiss. The symptoms you're describing sound exactly like her when she's feeling sickest. In that case I think it's like when you get really mad when you're sick. You aren't mad at anything in particular, just the sickness and feeling crappy in general.

TBH I would take this poor little guy into the vet and claim him if he isn't chipped. Even if he does belong to someone he shouldn't be let outside if he's that sick!
 

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Yes--sounds sick. I would get to the vet. My Conrad (former barn cat) has chronic herpes infection and that's what he does. We're about to try nasal saline drops rather than abios (b/c it keeps happening, he can't be on abios all the time, and even if he could, herpes is viral so unless it's a secondary infection it won't make any difference). But this could be all sorts of thing--you need a real diagnosis.
 

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Elizabeth, have you seen this yahoo group? felineherpes : For companions of cats who have feline herpes virus (FVR) I've gotten lots of great suggestions that have helped Jitzu out immensely! There are tons of great suggestions that I would never have even heard about otherwise.

OP, if you do adopt this boy he needs to see a vet, and like I said in my original post, the sooner the better! (sorry to repeat myself, but it's important :) ) Any online message board (this one included) is no substitution for seeing a real-live vet.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If I see my little visitor in the night again tonight, I am definitely going to pop him into Win's old carrier and take him to the vet :} He's so friendly that I don't think I need a humane trap. I'll put on gloves in case he freaks out a bit when I pick him up, though.

Realistically, I doubt my family would be even remotely okay with having me adopt him (my father is disabled and requires round-the-clock, intensive care, and my mother thinks everything is "contagious"). But I can at least get him some TLC, a check-up, and a trip to the local no-kill cat rescue :}

I am a member of HomeAgain's Pet Detectives (basically I get email alerts when there are pets lost in my area so I can help keep an eye out for them) and this kitty matches the description of a cat lost in my area recently. However, the owner didn't post a picture in the alert, so I can't tell. Here's hoping the little guy is microchipped, though.

I'll try to keep him away from Win as much as possible though, since it sounds like he definitely has something viral.

Thanks :}
 

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Can't you contact the owner of the lost cat directly and let them know about the cat who's been visiting you? Or wasn't there any contact info in the alert you received (which would be ridiculous, because why post an alert if you can't be contacted?). I wouldn't rely on the remote possibility of a microchip when you already know there's someone in your area looking for a cat with that description.

Laurie
 

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Well, the flip side of this is that having to pick up your pet from the shelter (and pay the requisite fines / vet bill) may be good encouragement to 1) get it microchipped, and; 2) Not let it wander when it's ill.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Laurie -

Unfortunately, the HomeAgain PetRescuers site is devoid of what would be most useful - contact info :/ There's a section for a description, where the pet was seen last, and even its microchip number, but absolutely no way of getting a hold of an owner. Now that you've mentioned it, it seems like a fairly shoddy "Lost Pet" system if it lacks any kind of contact info. I'm going to call HomeAgain's 800 number now and see if they can give me info, or at least check on the listing to see if the pet has been reported as "found" yet.

Help Lost Pets – Become a PetRescuer | HomeAgain Pet Microchip

My hope was that since this alert came from a company that makes/registers microchips, if this is the missing kitty in the alert, he DOES have a microchip. If he doesn't have a chip, then I'll put up flyers around the area reporting that he's been taken to the no-kill cat shelter.
 

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Laurie -

Unfortunately, the HomeAgain PetRescuers site is devoid of what would be most useful - contact info :/ There's a section for a description, where the pet was seen last, and even its microchip number, but absolutely no way of getting a hold of an owner. Now that you've mentioned it, it seems like a fairly shoddy "Lost Pet" system if it lacks any kind of contact info. I'm going to call HomeAgain's 800 number now and see if they can give me info, or at least check on the listing to see if the pet has been reported as "found" yet.

Help Lost Pets – Become a PetRescuer | HomeAgain Pet Microchip

My hope was that since this alert came from a company that makes/registers microchips, if this is the missing kitty in the alert, he DOES have a microchip. If he doesn't have a chip, then I'll put up flyers around the area reporting that he's been taken to the no-kill cat shelter.
OK, now I get it. That whole Home Again thing wasn't making any sense to me until you added this explanation. Scanning for a chip does seem to be the next logical step ... at least in terms of the alert you read. Flyers is also a good idea. I also suggest you call and/or visit all of the vets, police/sheriff/animal control officers, humane shelters/rescues, pet stores, feed stores, and groomers in your area and give them each one of the flyers to post on their bulletin boards. If someone is missing that boy, you never know who they may think to call in order to try to locate him. The farther you can spread the word, the more likely any worried owners will be to contact you.

Thank you for caring about your wayward visitor, esp. in light of your current concerns about Win.

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm going to take the little guy to my regular vet today, to get him scanned for a microchip. If he's not chipped, I'm going to get him a checkup and get him whatever meds/etc he needs while I search around for his owner :}

My family actually seems fond of him, so if he's healthy... I may be able to adopt him. I'm not sure how "fair" that is to Win since she's an old lady now, and maybe shouldn't be expected to get used to having a new cat around.

She seems amicable towards him, if not friendly, but he hisses and swipes at her, so we'll see how it all turns out :{
 

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mystery kitty

I hope, whether your take him or he gets returned to his owners, that he gets well soon! Poor kitty. I sympathize because my own kitten is making mystery noises :-/
 

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Discussion Starter #14
UPDATE:

He has a microchip! I'm so excited.

My vet got his owner's contact info from HomeAgain. Then my vet called the owner and left a message with the instructions to call the vet's office back. The other number on file with the owner was disconnected, so I'm a little nervous. :/

The vet wouldn't give me any of the owner's info, but she did give me the cross-streets of the owner's address. It's almost 4 miles away from where I live O_O So he either traveled 4 miles to my house, or his owner dumped him.

I really hope the little guy wasn't abandoned. There's a park right across the street from my house, so maybe he was dumped there.

My vet said to keep him around until Monday, and if the owner hasn't called back by then, they'll try to contact them again. If there is still no answer in a few days, then it's up to me what to do with him.

I would love to keep him, but he's showed nothing but hostility towards my 14-year-old cat, and I don't know if it's fair to stress her by introducing an adult cat and trying to see if they'll eventually get along. Since she has various health issues (CRF, high blood pressure, IBD), I'm not sure if a new cat is really a good idea right now.

I'll take him to my local no-kill shelter if the owner doesn't call my vet back, and I'll fill the shelter in on the whole story.

Additionally, if you can believe this -

Last night, my boyfriend was leaving around 2am (and trying to prevent the adult male cat from running into the house) when he heard ANOTHER cat meowing. We looked under my car and discovered a tiny black and white kitten.

Since Mr. Black and White was showing signs of hostility towards the kitten, we caught it and I popped it into one of Win's old carriers. Since it's Sunday, I can't take it to my vet to check for a chip, but I'm thinking of going to the local humane society to see if they can scan it.

It weighs a bit over 3 pounds. It's also very friendly and affectionate. It's very thin and dirty, and has fleas, so I think it's been a stray for a while.

I usually see maybe one or two strays per year in my neighborhood, tops, so two strays in four days is unprecedented. (Plus, the fact that they're both black and white tuxedos is just .... very unusual.)

If the kitten isn't chipped, I'll take it to my vet tomorrow for a check-up and whatever treatments it needs.
 

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It's such a wonderful thing you're doing for the waifs who end up on your doorstep.

It'd be darn foolish to dump a cat with a microchip that can be traced right back to you. Then again, there are a lot of remarkably stupid people in the world. Hopefully, this cat's owners will get back to your vet and be overjoyed at being reunited with their beloved feline. If the cat is an intact male, a jaunt of 4 miles wouldn't be at all surprising. It's not particularly surprising in a desexed cat, either. Did your vet acquire the cat's name from Home Again?

As far as adopting a new feline into your family is concerned, I would strongly advise you AGAINST adopting the adult male, esp. if he is exhibiting aggression toward Win. With her medical issues, the stress of dealing with an aggressive "invader" may tip her over the treacherous physical edge on which she will spend the rest of her life teetering. Cats are particularly vulnerable to stress-induced illness, you know. You have invested so much of yourself in Win's care and well-being, it would be devastating to lose her as a result of the kindness you have extended to another.

That said, Win may be more willing and able to accept the presence of a kitten, if it turns out that you can't locate the kit's family. I wouldn't necessarily shut the door on that possibility. You should be prepared, however, to rehome the kit if Win can't adjust kindly to that one, either. Until you get the kitten to your vet for a thorough checkup and FeLV testing, don't allow Win anywhere near it.

If it makes you feel any better, back in 2005, four intact, young adult toms and a puppy were dumped on my driveway. Humans!

Laurie
 

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I live in the country and it's not uncommon at all for people to dump their pets, especially the cats... there are a lot of feral colonies because of it. I just wish people would learn to be responsibly pet owners, spay and neuter, and keep and care for the animals they take into their lives! I'm so happy that you're a kind person and are helping the poor souls you've inherited from someone else's irresponsibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
HAPPY UPDATE!

So, over the weekend, I tried everything I could to find the owner for the adult male ... I called vets in the area, called the microchip company repeatedly, put ads in my newspaper and on craigslist, and posted flyers in the vicinity of the owners' last known address. No results, nothing.

I couldn't keep the male around, because of Win's illnesses/issues and the fact that he was aggressive towards her, but I hated to take him to a shelter to be destroyed. So...

Monday, I did something bold. I stopped at a cellphone store and bought a pre-paid cellphone. (A "burner" phone... I felt like a secret agent.) Then, Tuesday night, I called the owners' phone number. The secretary at my vet had broken the rules a bit and had "allowed" me to see the piece of paper she had written the cat's info on, and I had jotted down the phone numbers.

Despite my vet and the microchip company saying they'd left several messages with no answer... someone picked up when I called.

I asked if they'd lost a cat. The lady replied no. I said "Oh... okay. Well, I've found a cat and the microchip company listed this as his owner's phone number. He's black and white..."

At this point, the lady interrupted "Wait. I lost a cat ... but that was a while ago! There's no way it can be the same cat."

Apparently, she had lost him TWO years ago! I didn't really understand the whole rambly story she told me, but it sounded like the cat had gotten lost two years ago, and she had moved before she could find him. Then, her neighbors had found him and had taken care of him for a while and she hadn't heard anything about him since.

She then asked me if there was "any way I could keep him". I was a little disturbed; wouldn't she want her long-lost cat back? I told her I really couldn't as he was aggressive towards my old cat. She said okay and said she'd be over with a cat carrier in a few minutes.

When she arrived, the male ran past me and ran right up to her. She also had a Pomeranian with her, and when she said "Boo, do you remember Shanez?" the dog and cat sniffed noses and the cat gave the dog a couple of affectionate licks - obviously he remembered his family!

I was a little wary of giving him back to her because of how she'd asked me if I'd keep him, but she explained that she had two other cats now and lived in an apartment, and that Shanez would have to be a full-indoor cat from now on and he'd be unhappy about it. But she was clearly thrilled to see him again.

I was definitely sad to see him go - he'd been around for only five days, but he'd felt like a part of the family, even with all the hassles of keeping him and Win apart. I miss his constant, high-pitched, ridiculous meow. He was such a nice, affectionate kitty, but I'm so happy he's back with his owner now, and after such a long seperation!






I think my mom is going to miss him too ;} She bought him a little rug to lie on, and kept asking me if we were going to keep him. After his owner left, she turned to me and said "We need to get a kitten!"
 

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Wow that is amazing news! He is so handsome... Looks just like my Anna. What happened to the kitten you saw? Since your mom wants a kitten now do you think you will take it in?
 

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Great job getting Shanez back to his original owner! He clearly missed his family and was happy to be reunited. Sounds like he'll have some adjusting to do, but at least you know he's with someone who loves him.

Yes, what did happen with the kitten your boyfriend found?

Laurie
 

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I'm so glad you found it's owner. Did you decide to keep the kitten your boyfriend found. Maybe your older cat and kitten can get along given time and the proper introduction?
 
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