“We never make it through one of these weeks without a sick cat!” That, from one of my pals in the ongoing effort to TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) the cats in our area. Many TNR programs just trap and neuter the cats and send them back to their locations, but we provide medical care for cats that need it, so a sick cat means that TNR week isn’t just a week anymore. I’m pretty sure we’ve never actually had a TNR week that was a week. In fact, our monthly TNR week sometimes spreads perilously close to the next month’s TNR week.
Those of you who have followed me for awhile know the stories of Annie and Blackie, two very sick cats. Annie now lives with me, and Blackie has her forever home in a sanctuary for ferals with disabilities. Several members of our merry volunteer band have raised litter after litter of feral kittens who were young and impressionable enough to be socialized and adopted into homes. We are very grateful to a couple local rescue groups who work with us to take these kittens and help them find a furever place.
But it is always something…or someone. This week it is a good sized boy (we think) who is fairly friendly for an outdoor cat. He came in with a clear upper respiratory inflection, and our vet has put him on a week of antibiotics before she will even consider him for surgery.
Because he is pretty large, and will be with us for more than a week, and is reasonably friendly, we moved him to a dog crate so he can stretch out a bit. The traps are okay for a few days, but beyond that it seems a bit like torture. We’re also watching this guy closely because he eats everything he is given (and wants more), drinks way more than cats usually drink, and is a bit thin for his size. We don’t know if he is just warm (temps and humidity are high) or if he might be a diabetic. As an outdoor cat, there won’t be much we can do about diabetes, but at least for now, he can have all the food and water he wants, along with his antibiotics, and we’ll see how it goes.
When he first arrived he was pretty lethargic and his breathing sounded more like a frog croaking than a cat breathing. A few days of antibiotics and he is sounding better and looking more lively. This may be one of the more gratifying parts of what we do – being able to help a cat who needs a little more than the others. That, and the gratitude of the colony caretakers who know we are giving our best for their kitties.
Depending on how he does he may or may not be celebrating July 4th with us, but he has a place with us for as long as he needs it. He’s quickly becoming a favorite of everyone. I’m pretty sure we’ll be sorry to see him go home when it is time, but the person who feeds him will be happy to have him home. And that is, after all, what we do most of the time, trap…neuter…and RETURN! There isn’t one member of our volunteer group that doesn’t have enough cats at home already.