Abbey My Old Feral Gets Another Eye Infection
Abbey is one of two feral cats that remain from my large colony. I have been feeding and trapping, neutering and releasing them so the numbers have really gone down over the years.
When I moved out of Toronto to settle near Fort Erie, I trapped and brought my remaining 2 ferals. Abbey and Red settled in well and Red actually decided that he would move into the house. He is now a somewhat timid house cat. Abbey did not want to tame so she stayed outside. She has her partially heated feral shelter and she's found a safe spot under the deck.
At the end of December I noticed her eye looked inflamed and red and when it started running I caught her in her house and brought her in. She settled in the puppy crate with her nest box on the side.
I make it sound easy, but catching Abbey require that I sneak up on her when she is in her house and cover the entrance. She is very smart and keeps a good watch. It takes a while to get hold of her. I don't think she was feeling very well so her guard was down.
A couple of years ago this had happened so I was able to recognize the symptoms and act sooner. Here is the story of how she got better last time she was sick.
She was not feeling very well and did not put up much of a fight when we put ointment in her eyes. A few required hisses and bites was all she did.
She is starting to look quite old. As far as I can figure out she is at least 15 years old. This is quite amazing for a wild cat living outside.
We treated her for about 10 days at which time she figured out that if she ran into her nest box, I would not go and drag her out. Since her eyes had quickly cleared up and looked good we declared her cured of her eye infection.
I put her through a course of deworming medicine and tried to fatten her up a bit.
At this point it is a bit difficult to decide what to do with her. She has chronic diarrhea. She has had this on and off for a long time and when I had her at the vet the last time nothing stood out. Luckily she is not showing any pain and is eating well.
I'm feeding her very well and she seems otherwise OK. I have not found vets here that are terribly keen on wild cats and I'm not convinced that there is much I can do anyway.
The weather at this time has been very cold. Tonight is minus 17 centigrade and there is 3 feet of snow on the ground. There is no possibility of releasing her after 4 weeks in the warm house. Luckily for her she is not a very active cat these days and she has been quite content to sleep and sit in the sun spot that comes on her puppy crate for a couple of hours when it is sunny out.
In the meantime I built her an extention for her cage. I can take it apart when I'm done using it.
I also added a small shelf in the puppy crate if she wants to climb. She adapted fine to the change and after a day is lounging in her new digs. I gave her a log for scratching and some catnip toys. I feed her several times a day in small quantities and she looks forward to that.
I gave her a small box tonight. What cat can resist curling up in a box. That's were she is right now, I'll get a photo tomorrow.
I'll try and keep her amused till the weather warms up enough for her to be safe outside. If she was outside she would be in her box all day, reluctantly sneaking out to eat and have a drink, go for a pit stop and quickly go back in her house so no great loss there.
She is older and not grooming as well so her fur is getting matted in spots. Before I release her probably in the spring, I'll try and cut the worst off. We should all have fun doing that!
I had a vet come to vaccinate my cat herd (pride?) and had her look at Abbey. Her eye was better but she has had ongoing diarrhea.
She either has bowel cancer or Irritable Bowels. We are hoping for Irritable Bowels, this is likely because it has been going on for a long time. I see no sign of pain which is a good sign.
The vet gave me a prescription to try but Abbey can sniff a pill a mile away and we are not on friendly enough terms for me to grab her and give her a pill twice a day. I tried hiding the pill in good food but I got caught out and the pill neatly left in the plate with all the good food eaten.
Since Abbey was seriously matted I asked her to clip her. After some sedation the doc clipped her. I had tried cutting her hair with scissors but she was so felted and her skin is so thin that after several hours I had only managed to cut about 4 square inches. Although she looks awful after her haircut, I can see she is moving much more comfortably. She can now curl up which she did not do before. She has a box to nest in with a heated pad and I have a small heater going to keep her warm. I've been gradually lowering the temperature in her shelter as her fur grows. She is not really enjoying being inside and as soon as the weather improves I'll prepare a spot in the enclosed pool greenhouse and let her loose there complete with heated bed and heater.
Eventually the weather warmed and I moved her set up into the covered pool enclosure. I added the heater. She settled and eventually moved outside the pool area. There are lots of cat size openings in the cover so she can come and go.
She had a good summer. Putting on weight and fluffing up. She occasionally sneaks into the house. The doors are often open to deal with the constant in and out of the other cats. I guess she sees her buddy Red going in.
Later that fall, after a good summer, she started looking unwell and eventually I had her euthanized. I looked after her for almost all of her life. She was the last of the Feral Colony I had.
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