While most of the work of Derry Township Community Cats is about trap/neuter/return (TNR) occasionally we get calls about stray cats who appear to be sick or, in most cases, dying or already deceased. We are not a rescue organization so we don’t take in strays in general, but if they are in distress we try out best to capture them, take them to the vet, and if need be the vet helps them out of this life as peacefully as possible.

That’s what we thought would be needed last Thursday when my trapping buddy, P., got a call about a cat who had not moved in a couple hours. Would we come get the cat? You never know what that’s actually going to entail, and P. and I have had some adventures capturing cats here and there. This one, however, turned out to be easy, and P. was able to just place her right in a trap and take her to the vet’s office.

Turns out she wasn’t a dying cat, but she was very wobbly and having trouble standing much less moving. Vestibular Syndrome is the technical term…it was new to me. Think kitty vertigo. But she was otherwise bright eyed, meowing, and very thin. Probably hadn’t been able to eat for a bit. She certainly was in no shape to catch any food. She was front declawed as well, and really had no business being outside.


(Photos courtesy of Animal Health Care Center of Hershey.)

We certainly weren’t going to euthanize her without more reason, so it was agreed that she would stay at the vet’s office for a bit, get checked out, and we would all see what was up with her.

In the meantime, I posted her picture far and wide on Facebook, hoping maybe someone had lost her. It was shared a zillion times (well…close to that) but so far no calls. That doesn’t mean no one is looking for her…not everyone is on Facebook…but the chances that someone is looking for her are certainly smaller.

She’s eating and purring, a total sweetheart according the the vet staff. She’s been tested for FIV/FELV and is negative, which is a blessing. Her blood work isn’t bad, though she has a low white blood cell count, so she’s on an antibiotic.

The litter box has been a bit of a challenge for her since she is so wobbly. The wobbles might be temporary…paws crossed…we will have to wait a week or so and see if they improve. May be related to the white blood cell count…might not. Lots of unknowns for now.


What we do know is that she’s sweet, and deserves a safe place to live out her life. She’s at the vet’s for the weekend, but Monday she’ll come to my house for a bit while we figure things out for her. I’ve got  a safe dog crate set up for her in the office where I spend a chunk of my day so she’ll have some company. Her litter box is just the base of a case of cat food…very low to the ground so her chances of using it are as good as we can make them. She can’t have a big pillow to sleep on since she’s so wobbly, but I have some nice warm soft fleece for her…easily washable if she has any accidents.


I’m going to call her Vanessa for now, and look forward to getting to know her a little next week while we watch and wait and plan for her. She’s had a rough time, at least recently. We’ll see if we can make sure the rest of her days are a bit easier.


24 thoughts on “Vanessa

  1. So glad that you found a place where she can recuperate. Front declawed means she was definitely a pet although if they haven’t contacted local rescues about her being missing I don’t have a lot of hope for them.

    1. We will make sure she has a safe place to live, even if we don’t find her original person. She won’t go back out.

      1. I have not had a cat for almost a year and now that the dog passed on I feel bereft. That will happen. And there should be a law about declawing them.

  2. We have had quite a few pups with Vestibular Syndrome…most bounce back nicely after a week or so. Paws crossed. She’s a sweetie!

    1. Vet is hoping that whatever has caused the low white blood cell count, when treated with the antibiotics, may help her bounce back. We’ve got our paws crossed too.

  3. We had a kitty like her with Vestibular Syndrome at the Helen Krause shelter in one of our Special Needs rooms. She was there for a couple of years, and then just a few months ago she was adopted!! She is happy as can be in her new home with a wonderful family, who recently wrote with a lovely update about her progress. I hope things go as well for sweet Vanessa.

    1. Thanks, and it is so good to hear of folks who will take the special needs babies into their homes!

    2. Do you think that Helen Krause might take her if her condition doesn’t improve? I have her here now and she is super sweet, already head bumping me while wobbling around the room. She definitely likes to move around. She is super thin and needs to gain weight, FIV/FELV negative and blood work good except low white blood cells which is being treated. If the condition doesn’t clear, I really want to find a good place for her. Condition aside she is declawed and really can’t go back out. My email is derrycats@gmail.com if you want to talk!

      1. I’ll send you an email! I hope Vanessa is doing better. Mimi’s case (the kitty at the shelter), sadly, has never improved–which I think is pretty rare.

  4. Bless everyone involved in helping all these sweet kitties. One of my outdoor boys actually had this for about a week, then came back fine (he was confined while he recovered) – vet opined he fell out of a tree and got concussed.

    1. We’re hoping for a similar result. She’s confined for the time being, but hope she recovers like your boy did!

    1. We’re had a very mild winter, but it is getting colder now. The day we captured her temps were just turning cold, so we were very glad to get her inside.

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