Every once in a while we, well usually me or P., my trapping partner at Derry Township Community Cats, do something really crazy. Last year, it was trapping kittens in a raging thunderstorm with tornado warnings about. And because it’s been about a year since that little episode of insanity, I guess it was time for another one.
We trapped a very large colony a week or so ago, and one of the cats had a really bad eye. Clearly blind, and had been for four years, according to the caretaker. She is called Magic, and she’s totally feral.
Now a blind eye that’s been okay for years isn’t necessarily a problem. It certainly hasn’t stopped her from reproducing too many times. But when she was spayed the vet felt the eye was causing her pain. We try to draw the line at pain whenever possible and address that. We scheduled her for the removal of the eye, and she got an e-collar put on while she was still out.
The plan: put her in a big dog crate to recover. The vet hopes we can keep her 10-14 days. We never thought it would be easy, but we definitely underestimated the challenge.
Let me just say that a feral cat with an e-collar on is a fairly terrifying cat. She wouldn’t eat for the first two days, which means she wasn’t getting the pain meds in her food. I ordered some oral medications, and that quickly proved completely impossible without severe damage to me and to her. We gave up on the idea of oral meds last evening, and put a crushed up pain pill in her food hoping she would eat it overnight. She has been one stressed out cat, leaping around the crate, hindered by the e-collar, and frightened to death by the whole thing. Shaking, literally, in her boots, and with claws and teeth to keep us at bay.
And P. and I began to wonder how in the world we were ever going to get the e-collar off before returning her to her colony. My husband suggested we contact one of our colleagues at the zoo here – maybe they could dart the cat. And though the vet could certainly sedate her to get the collar off, getting her back into a trap to get her to the vet seemed pretty difficult. The original plan was to just put her, in the crate, in the back of a pickup truck to return her, but the collar still has to come off.
Well, Magic solved the problem overnight for us. I came in this morning to find this.
She’d removed the collar herself, rather prematurely, but it allowed her to eat every bite of food, including the pain meds, and she is much calmer this morning. Her incision looks dry and clean right now, and hopefully it will stay that way, or we will have to put her in a trap and take her to the vet to sedate and put the collar back on. We are really hoping we don’t have to do that, and that she will be calm enough now to hold until the eye is well healed.
She’s looking good this morning, and let me take a minimal amount of care of her crate, and give her fresh food and water without being so threatening.
Wish us luck over the next 10 days or so. Hopefully we won’t do anything this crazy again until next year. One episode of shear insanity a year is probably enough.