This may have been one of our most difficult TNR weeks in a long time. We were soooo excited to capture a large colony with nine kittens. I wasn’t doing the trapping, but those who were did it in 90+ degree heat – very hard work. We really wanted to be able to place them into the foster/adoption system, and we had a commitment from a local rescue group to do just that. Some of you saw the stories about June, one of the kittens, last week.

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June turned out to be Jake, and recovered nicely. All of the kittens needed antibiotics and eye drops, but that’s not unusual for the outdoor kitties. What was less usual, and absolutely heartbreaking, was the presence of FeLV, feline leukemia, in the group.

Of all the icky diseases, this is the most devastating, and its presence makes adoption a no-go. It would be six months before we could know if those who are negative now are actually free of the disease, and by then, they’re no longer cute, adoptable kittens that get homes quickly. Besides that, they would have to be completely isolated from each other and other cats for that time period, a sentence akin to hell. So the FeLV-negative ones went back to their colony. And fortunately, a sanctuary for positive cats took the sick one.

That was so not what we hoped for with this group. But better that they live out their  lives in a place they know, and with each other, than to be sentenced to solitary confinement for months on end only to be deemed too old for the adoption process anyway. They have been spayed and neutered, and had their vaccines, which will provide some protection for those who are truly negative right now. Still, more than a few tears were shed this week.

Delicate stomachs are not permitted in the kind of work we do, and if you happen to have one, you might not want to read the next bit. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

We trapped another kitten this week, about 8 weeks old, with a fractured jaw. The injury was not new, and the pain he was in is unimaginable. To make matters so much worse, he was covered with fly eggs, preparing to break out into maggots. Not only was he covered outside (here is the really gross part) but he had them in his mouth as well. Our first clue was a bunch of gooey green stuff coming out of the side of his mouth.

Off to the vet he – Skyler – went. He had a temp of 104.9, which is well past crisis point. Our amazing vet clinic cared for him for two days. Got his temp down, bathed all the fly eggs off of him, cleaned all the awful stuff out of the inside of his cheek, dewormed him, got rid of other parasites, tested him for FIV/FeLV (he is negative), put him on antibiotics, and for all of that they charged us a ridiculously small amount of money, about what an annual checkup would cost for one of our cats,  and we are so grateful. Skyler is doing well at the moment, eating like a little pig, and getting better. Once he’s run the course of antibiotics they will be able to determine better what is going on with his jaw. Surgery may be in his future…time will tell.

In the meantime, Skyler is getting great care from one of our best cat people and her wonderful girls. And he is, to put it bluntly, so stinking cute! We don’t know how long it will be before he is ready to adopt, but given how adorable he is, and his sad story, I don’t think there will be any shortage of offers! Here he is…and I dare you not to say “awwwwwwwwww!!”

It was such a hard week in so many ways. We are more than a little grateful that it ended with this little cutie doing well. We’ll take our victories where we can find ’em.

16 thoughts on “The TNR Stories: Heartbreak and Cuteness Overload

    1. We agree! But at least they have gone back healthier than they were and with a little protection. Still, not what we hoped for.

  1. This work is so emotionally hard. I want them all or at least have them go to good homes. My former hair stylist had 4 cats all FIV positive (which is different from what your group had but many shelters don’t consider them adoptable either). She is a really good person. It started with one. Then her vet asked is she would take another. Then a shelter asked. You know how it is and it’s so hard to say no. And yes, that kitty is awesome!

    1. Many rescues and shelters are making efforts, and getting results, with FIV cats, which is wonderful. FeLV is so much nastier. But hooray for your friend!! So good to hear.

  2. It is not fair that such poor babies have these lives given to them..i know the grossness you saw as our pet sheep had flystrike and i had to physically remove them from his back..he made a full recovery but never grew wool in that spot again..bless you all for doing what you do…loves Fozziemum xxx

    1. I hadn’t heard the term flystrike before – very appropriate name! And it does not seem fair to the poor little ones when they get deal a crappy hand. We’ll do what we can for them.

      1. Flystrike is very appropriate and common in sheep..our boy got hit very quickly and it was revolting..sheep get sick and actually give up so to keep him alive was hard work..keep strong as you are making a difference xxx

  3. The work is hard on the heart. But the heartbreaking moments help us appreciate all the good that is done. Thanks for what you do.

    1. Back at you, for all the work you do with the Goldens (and not-Goldens.) Yes, the victories, small and large, make it all worthwhile.

  4. So sad for these poor little kitties, but I love that you do for them as much as you can. Skyler and Jake are absolutely precious! I believe ‘so stinking cute’ is the perfect description.

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