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.

16 thoughts on “What Were We Thinking?

  1. That collar is scary even for a human like me to look at. They make more flexible ones that allow them to eat easier. Hopefully the collar part is done. As the caretaker (or the staff as they call me) of two one-eyed cats she should be able to hunt again. Can you get her to take meds in her food now? This was scary for you. I can’t imagine how scary this was for the cat but she will be better.

    1. Oh yes, you will do something equally stressful again. You are a soft touch for animals so you will always try to make their lives better no matter what!

    2. We didn’t think the soft collar would be enough to keep her away from her eye, but hopefully we’re all done with it. Paws crossed. And yes, she will be better when this is all done. Hopefully pain free for the rest of her days.

    1. Bravery or arrogance…not sure which. But we sure got humbled by this cat!! Hoping she continues to heal up so she can go home.

  2. great story. so much credit to you for remaining vigilant for her health and well being. happy ending….hopefully…..a long and safe life ahead….

  3. I just put flea collars on my 2 last week and they were not happy with that! I didn’t expect their hyper reactions at all-running and jumping all over for about 20 minutes. I can’t imagine Magic’s stress, but as you say, she took care of it. She’s a survivor. Maybe a sleeping pill for a day or two for her and you and P deserve a glass of sangria! Well done.

    1. The sangria sounds like just the ticket! Hope your kitties are getting more comfortable with the collars.

  4. The things we do as rescuers for our four legged charges But in the end so worth while to be able to help a distressed animal Thank God that we have people like you and all the other rescuers that trap, feed, and take care of these abandoned animals

  5. Well, you were thinking you needed to help thiscat – and it turned out the usual methods didn’t work. Glad she took things into her own paws and things are looking up now.

    I hope Connie’s cats aren’t freaking because there is something in the flea collars causing a reaction (I know you can use the same brand of something for years and all of a sudden there is some subtle change that can cause havoc.)

    Keep up the good work !

  6. What an adrenaline rush you must have when you have to deal with these wild ones. Your intentions are for the highest good, but sadly, the ferals don’t understand that. Hope it works out well from here.

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