She probably doesn’t think she was in the right place at the right time, but she was.
We’re in the midst of one of our trap/neuter/return (TNR) weeks and last night one of the transporters brought in a young black cat in a trap, that we now know to be female. As I took the sheet off of her trap to get a look at her and do paperwork, my adrenaline spiked. Her left eye was a disaster area, with all kinds of yucky-colored fluids flowing out, though no blood. Her eye looked almost sunken in her head. I’m no vet, but I was pretty sure this was bad.
We have a great vet who was kind enough to talk to us at night, even after her long day. She asked a lot of questions, and I gave the answers as best I could. This was bad, but it wasn’t a life or death emergency, and it could wait until morning. The vet recommended some pain meds for the overnight, however, and we had them on hand.
I’ve given a lot of cats meds in my life, but not too many of them have been feral. Giving meds to a feral cat who is, first of all, completely terrified from having been trapped, and secondly, is in a lot of pain and misery, is…shall we say…challenging. But with the help of another group member, we got it done. We gave her food and water for the night, and some nice fleece to curl up in, and covered her trap with blankets to keep her warm, and said good night.
I woke about 3 am still thinking about the poor creature. We weren’t sure if this was a pre-existing condition or something that happened to her – God forbid- in the process of being trapped. I didn’t see any crusting on the wounded eye, so I was pretty sure the wound was fresh. It happens rarely, but once in a great while a cat is so terrified on being trapped that they hurt themselves flailing around. I was worried that we had, inadvertently, been the source of her injury and pain.
Another kind member of our group took her to the vet’s office in the morning, and it turns out that some other creature, a four-legged one and not us, was the source of her misery. Someone took a really good swipe at her eye. It is trying to heal with all that green and yellow puss and misery, and it may heal. It may not. She may lose it. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, she is going to be staying in our guest room, and hopefully moved into a dog crate tomorrow to give her more space. And I get to practice my skills at putting drops in the eye of a feral cat. It turns out that if you don’t try to scruff her or mess with her in any way, she will let you drop the stuff in her eyes. We’ve come to an agreement about the drops, it seems.
Hopefully she will heal up, or the vet will remove the eye and help her heal that way, and eventually we will get her neutered too. When we’re not trying to put drops in her eyes she is actually pretty calm, and may even be semi-friendly. She’s pretty scared at the moment, but she’ll probably adjust quickly. I don’t know if she’ll ever know how lucky she was to be trapped last night. Without being trapped that eye would have become even more infected and her future uncertain. She was in the right place at the right time last night, even if it doesn’t look like that to her at the moment. We’ll offer her our best hospitality while she is with us, and hope the healing, for her sake, is quick.