We’re finishing up our most recent TNR (trap/neuter/return) week, and it has been a bit of a roller coaster. It looked like smooth sailing for a while, but then two of the kittens developed diarrhea. I don’t mean just a little bit of it, either. It was hard to believe that two little three-pound kittens could actually hold and excrete as much as they did over a couple days.

I’ve taken to calling them the Orange Brothers. Two siblings who hate being apart, and apparently share body ailments as well. I spent most a of day changing the newspaper in their traps hourly or more often, and we finally moved the one who was having the most trouble to a dog crate so he wouldn’t have to sleep in his poop.

They are both recovering nicely. Luckily they continued to be hungry throughout their ordeal. At three pounds they don’t have a lot of body fat or anything else to spare, so eating is critical, even if they have the runs. I added a little Pedialyte to their water to help with electrolytes and a little generic fiber to their food to help firm up the stools, and they are both finally doing better.

But one of the two brothers was covered in feces from his ordeal. (Skip over this photo if you have a sensitive stomach!)



So last night he got his first (and he hopes, only) bath. A friend who helped me with this calls it the dunk and swish method. We filled a dishpan with warm water, scruffed the little guy and dunked his butt in the water, swished him around, and (with gloves on!) applied liberal amounts of pet shampoo and got all the poop off him. He was drenched by the time we were done with him, so a nice long towel session was in order. Because it was actually chilly last night, he also won a night in the house so he could finish drying off in a warm place. We moved his dog crate to the spare bedroom, which seems to be feral cat care central these days. Our nursing area.

The poor guy was a little stressed being away from his brother, but he finally settled down and had a good night. We gave him a clean dry towel to curl up in, and he took advantage of his good fortune for the night.


Little things in life make you happy in this kind of rescue work. Both brothers had formed stools last night. That’s enough to cause happy dances around here. I guess we’re easy to please. A couple more days of rehab and these two should be ready to go home. And we’ll start getting the space ready for the next group, who will, no doubt, have a challenge or two to lay down for us.


8 thoughts on “The ups and downs of TNR

      1. I have a long hair that occasionally gets a blob embedded, usually at 2 a.m. just before she jumps on the bed so I know what that’s like. Jake also got all poopy when his anal glands were infected. He’s a big cat so he wasn’t happy at all. Having multiple cats has made me pretty immune to poop.

      2. We’re pretty immune to poop too. Comes with the territory. But I was so glad to get this guy cleaned up. He was getting a rash from all the ick.

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