View Full Version : Injured barn cat...

Dec. 8, 2008, 09:18 AM
We bought a 5 acre farm back in June and the previous owners left the barn cat and asked that we take care of her. She's really nice and personable, so we didn't mind at all. She is long haired though - which is definitely not a good idea for a barn cat!

Anyway...she has come in limping a little before, but has always been fine the next day. Over the weekend we noticed her not wanting to put weight on her LF paw. She will attempt to walk around the barn on it, but obviously doesn't want to put weight on it. It's been 2 days and she doesn't seem to be getting any better...

My question is....do you guys take your barn cats to the vet? I don't know if she has been in a crate recently, so this should be interesting. I wish cat vets would come to the farm like horse vets! :)

Dec. 8, 2008, 09:24 AM
Yes. My barn cats are spayed and neutered, get regular shots, and flea meds. It is not safe to have them around unvaccinated. They are a risk to any of your other animals, and you if they are not vaccinated against rabies. Please take her to the vet, in a carrier in case she doesn't like the car. Let the vet know if there is a limit to what you will spend. You can call around. Some horse vets will work on small animals on a very limited basis, and some small animal vets make house calls. Please don't let her just suffer, though. It could be something simple.

Dec. 8, 2008, 09:27 AM
I take my cats to the vet when they get injured or ill. I have a friend who helps me vaccinate and do routine stuff.

in your case I'd definitely throw her in the crate and take her in.

I also inherited two long hair barn cats when I bought my 7acre place. they had not had care in a long time and cost me a pretty penny to bring up to speed. sadly I lost them both within three years :-(

(one to a car, one to a coyote)

Dec. 8, 2008, 09:29 AM
yes, my barn cats go to the vet. I have one I call the million dollar kitty.
(No his vet bill wasn't really that much but it was kinda high)

Several years ago he somehow fell off the roof and must have landed on his head.
All he could do when I took him to the vet was stagger around in circles.
After several days and plenty of drugs he came home, but he walks with a list to one side.
I even forget what his original name was because we've been calling him "Tilt" since that incident.

Mine don't LIKE to go in a crate but I just grab 'em while they're eating and shove 'em in.

Dec. 8, 2008, 10:19 AM
When I had my first barn, our horse vet did our cat work - he carried vaccines and neutered the males for me - had to take the females in to be spayed. But that was many years ago.....

Getting ready to open a new barn and will get some cats in the spring from the shelter - they will all have regular care since they will be more prone to illness and injury in the barn.

Still use same vet, but doubt he still does cats!

Dec. 8, 2008, 10:21 AM
I recently took a barn cat from the co-op barn where I board, to the vet. It had been actually dragging its hind leg..The cat lived in a crate, then in a small enclosed area for a while for recovery while on meds that the vet gave me to give him, plus the rest/rehab time. At the vets, they also treated for worms. I think the cat was at my house for about 3 weeks. He is now back at the barn all well, save for a very slight limp which is getting better. Only thing...I think he got really attached to me at my house, and now is like glue everytime I am at the barn...and rubs on my car...(maybe trying to come back home with me!?!?!)

Yes, please take the cat to the vet, for the limp as well as general maintenance (shots, worming, etc)

Dec. 8, 2008, 11:49 AM
It's an animal you agreed to take custody of, isn't it?

Then as it is injured (and in at least discomfort if not actual pain), you take it to the vet.

Who gives a crap it if it is a barn or house cat? You agreed to become it's owner, therefore you have to act responsibly for it.

If you won't / can't afford to treat it as needed, please either euthanize if needed or attempt to place with a rescue or ASPCA.

Obviously there are monetary limits in which most of us are constrained so talk to your vet regarding how much you are prepared to spend.

ETA:I just re-read your post. if your question was simply relating to the transportation method in which to get the cat to the vet, I heartily apologize for going off on you about responsible animal ownership.

I really hope you don't leave it without any kind of care because it is a barn cat.

Dec. 8, 2008, 12:28 PM
....do you guys take your barn cats to the vet? I don't know if she has been in a crate recently, so this should be interesting. :)

Yes -- I take my barn cats to the vet. It's cheaper for me to pay for an office visit than to pay for a farm call, and I don't know that my large animal vet is equipped to do much diagnostic work on small animals.

To get an unwilling cat into a crate, it's usually easiest (at least for me) to stand the crate on end, with the door facing upwards. While supporting the weight of the cat in my arms, I hold/restrain the cat's back feet in my left hand, and front feed in my right hand. I put the cat in back end first. Hold onto the front paws -- if the cat is spooky, they're going to want to grab the edge of the carrier to try and get out. As soon as you get the front paws and head in, close the carrier.

Good luck with your cat -- I hope you're dealing with something easily treated.

Dec. 8, 2008, 12:28 PM
Welcome to Barn cat 101. :)

Most likely culprit is that supper bit back and she's now infected in that paw. Since you said you've seen her limp before--and that she is a long-hair--the other possibility is that mats around her paws are trapping claws outside of the sheath. Very ouchy and can lead to the claw eventually growing back and into the pads themselves.

Are you able to touch, pet, pick up this kitty? Have you been able to inspect the paw for injury? If she's not touchy-feely, you'll need to accomplish this with a thick towel and gloves. Do *not* hold her tentatively. She will only thrash and struggle more. Wrap her complete body tightly, and hold her in a firm all-over bear-huggish manner.

This is the point where you generally would assess and perhaps treat the issue yourself if it didn't need antibiotics/stitches, etc. However, since it appears that you have no medical history on this girl, now would be the time to start with a "clean slate". Pop Miss Kitty into a carrier and off to the vet with you. In addition to checking the wound, I'd get a FeLuk test, see if she's been spayed and certainly her basic vaccinations.

If you are brewing an abcess, I've found that barncats and shunts (draintubes inserted via operation) do *not* do well. Better results from opening/cleaning the puncture site, injection at the clinic and a course of infood antibiotics. Of course, ymmv, and the vet's best recommendations should taek precedence over a forum board.

A few additional barncat tips--especially as you're going into your 1st winter with her:
Common misconception that barncats are entirely self-sufficient--they are not.
Access to fresh water, daily food and safe, warm shelter is a minimum daily requirement for a happy, healthy barn kitty.
Regular checkups and healthcare is as necessary as it would be for any other animal. Most large animal vets are happy to accomodate vaccination boosters, etc for the farm cats/dogs during a routine visit--they just need a heads-up so as to come prepared--and you should have said animals contained and ready to go for them at the time.

Hope that this helps--perhaps you already do some or all of this. If so, great--consider it a general PSA in case others are reading who could benefit. :)

Best wishes with your barn cat.

Walter W Smith
Dec. 8, 2008, 12:44 PM
Alice, it is a good thing you re-read the post. I am the husband of Filly78 and was about to BLAST you for your response as if my wife doesn't take care of her animals. She takes top-shelf care of all of our animals - cats and horses. She could have worded some of it better, I'll admit - of course all animals need to go to the vet if they are sick and get their vaccinations for their own sake and the sake of the others around them - WHICH WE DO. Our animals are as pampered and spoiled as any other. I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND why on these message boards people GET SO ANGRY so QUICKLY when people are just looking for SIMPLE ANSWERS to SIMPLE Questions. My advice to you and everyone else who is quick to rip people on these boards is to take a deep breath before you go launch into somebody!!!!! Now, as to the specific injury to this cat. The cat is still purring, eating, and walking around - hobbling a bit - but still walking around. So what you do is monitor it for a few days and if it doesn't get better then you take the cat to the vet. SIMPLE SOLUTION to a SIMPLE PROBLEM. Of course, if the cat was in obvious pain or not eating, etc., you go to the vet immediately. Pretty sensible plan everybody -- Don't you think????

cheryl ann
Dec. 8, 2008, 12:52 PM
Everyone at my barn sees medical care when they need it. I took one of my boys in a couple years ago because he was lame on a front leg. After an exam, the vet found a small bite wound at the shoulder which was just starting to abcess, the leg itself was fine. The kitty was a longhair and it was very hard to see any swelling. But this doc wrote the book on barn cat battle trauma and found it right away.

I've also had a couple older kitties with arthritic issues. Is the kitty older?

Good luck with the kitty. You sound like a good kitty mom. (I have 10, BTW)

Dec. 8, 2008, 01:07 PM
Walter, in Alice's defense, I read the OP the same way she did.

It wasn't until I read your post that I figured out the question was how to get the cat there.

Dec. 8, 2008, 01:09 PM
Regarding the long hair: I have heard about some kitties that matt easily getting kitty-poodle cuts... now, HOW they accomplish that... I have no idea! :lol:

Dec. 8, 2008, 02:01 PM
Thanks to all those that responded. I apologize for any confusion I caused in the OP.

I am an animal lover and would do anything for my "kids". I'm just new to having a barn cat and didn't know how she would handle being shoved in a crate and taken to the vet or if any vets would be willing to come to me to take a look at her.

If she isn't any better tonight, we will definitely be making a vet appt. We have 2 indoor cats, so I already have a cat vet that I go to for them.

Dec. 8, 2008, 02:08 PM
I think this is a very valid question as not all barn cats are very domesticated. Trying to stuff a domesticated house cat into a crate can be challenging enough; let alone one who is a wild thing.

The OP didn't say if the cat is very tame or not.. so honestly... if it is not, I might call my horse vet and if I needed anything routine done, ask her to come out and do it, and ask her if she can see the cat while she is there. If you just pick them up and quickly sedate them, without the event of getting the adrenaline going, it works a lot better, too :)

FWIW my vet does all my small animal shots so this is not out of the realm of possibility.

Dec. 8, 2008, 02:47 PM
Aww... now I'm crying. A few months ago I found a baby mouse curled up in the doormat on my deck. My cat had obviously just killed its mother, as there were mouse guts all over the deck. Anyway, I couldn't just leave it there to die, so brought it in, made it a box house, and carried it to work with me for a week so I could feed it kitten formula every 4 hours. Named him Fivel, and he was a celeb at the office.

Little guy made it for 5 days, he even opened his eyes on Friday. He had the most adorable personality, hated it when I got formula on his whiskers, he'd scold me and wash them up like crazy. Then all of a sudden that Saturday he just got listless and died. I was heartbroken, cried for hours. He's buried out back now with my dog and cat, who both died of old age, and I still miss that little guy. A mouse! I have barn cats for the express purpose of keeping the mouse population down, but I'm still crying over Fivel.

Bless the OP's BO for being compassionate and taking care of the kitten!

Dec. 8, 2008, 03:08 PM
Getting a barn cat into a carrier is sometimes very tricky. Be sure to open the top of the crate if you can and set the cat in, then close the top. It is very hard to stuff an injured animal into a crate if they aren't use to it(and some even if they are use to it) Also, I have three indoor long haired cats that get shaved once a year to control matting. They look hideous but they seem so much more comfortable. Everyone that comes to the house gets a chuckle out of seeing their do's. I haven't decided if the barn cat needs to be shaved yet because we just got him this summer, but if he gets matted and needs it..he too will get the poodle do.

Dec. 8, 2008, 03:24 PM
Oddly enough, my barn cat is way better at getting into the crate than my house cats. Of course, she's much more outgoing than they are, too...and it's possible she sees the trip to the vet as an adventure, whereas they see it as torture. <grin>

Dec. 8, 2008, 04:37 PM
How kitty gets to the vet will entirely depend on how niceley kitty handles being in a crate & handled. ;)

Most of our barn cats handled going in a crate & the car ride & being at the vet's office just fine. There were a few exceptions. Those got handled with leather barn gloves, a towel & yowled the entire time while in the crate. Once at the vet, the crate wasn't opened until the office door was securely closed & the office door wasn't opened again until kitty was back in the crate to go home. They weren't happy about it, but it was once a year so they had to deal. Once back home they were perfectly content.

Our horse vet used to have small animal stuff & gave them yearly shots when he came for the horses. But he no longer does that. Worth inquiring with your vet next time.

Dec. 8, 2008, 05:50 PM
if Miss Kitty likes treats or canned food you may be able to put that in crate and lure her in. Sometimes its easier if they voluntarily enter the crate. Good luck and jingles for Miss Kitty.

Dec. 8, 2008, 07:49 PM
I have found that sometimes you have better luck (I have anyway...) putting them in the crate backwards, instead of head first. They can't quite put their hind legs in the same position as their front legs, as they are trying desperately to not get shoved in that crate!! :lol:

I had one get dumped here, he was an uncastrated male, and all he did for days was meow meow meow, REALLY loud! Fast forward 3 months, he gets hit by a car, broken pelvis. He got his jewels removed while he was in for his xrays. :D

He is now the most spoiled cat on the place. Someone dumped a really super nice cat. People can be so ignorant and heartless. We are in such a nice location for people to dump their cats. Love it. :mad:

Good luck with your kitty.

Dec. 8, 2008, 08:08 PM
I have more luck covering them with a towel and the putting the crate on it's end, open door at the top. Just make sure you have the crate all ready before you towel! if she has never been in a crate, seeing it shouldn't tip her off the first time. After the first time, though, all bets are off!
Sorry if I accused you. I misread your post to be - should I take her? Not how do I. Good luck with her. Hopefully it won't require any meds. If it does, put them in a little bit of canned food, works for mine.

Dec. 8, 2008, 08:54 PM
First, you get a can of tuna, feed day one. Day two, bring can of tuna and the heaviest, thickest bath towel (the ones you use on the horses when your husband isn't looking) and while kitty is scarfing down the tuna, cover and grab. Do not hesitate, grab kitty under front legs, hold tight to your body with one hand while wrapping that towel as tight as possible with the other, head and all, he won't smother in the few seconds it takes and trust me when I say if they can't scratch, they'll bite. It is best if carrier is up on end for this. Plop kitty in, slam door shut. Make sure that your small animal vet knows that you are bringing a feral(or certainly not tame) kitty, so that once you catch her and cage her, you can go right to the vet. Make sure you don't take kitty out of carrier anywhere that is not small and secure. She'll forgive you. Really. Oh, and do the FeLuke test FIRST, before you spend a whole bunch of money. I had a barn kitty that apparently fell out of the rafters and broke a hip, we did the test AFTER we'd done about $200 worth of x-rays and had to put the poor thing down anyway.

Susan P
Dec. 8, 2008, 09:54 PM
Not all barn cats are created equal.

I have released feral cats at my farm, they are not pets, not friendly and some you never see except when they sneak in and out for food. You can't touch them, you can't even get near them, they just run. But if I were to see one injured I would try to trap them and take them to Forgotten Cats clinic when possible. I had my first cat from the first release have a fox bite on her back. I got her in the trap, this is not for friendly cats. She was knocked out then examined and treated. Then I brought her back to the barn. They knock them out inside the trap, it's tricky but these people are pros and working with ferals. Since then she decided she wants to love me, LOL. I still don't know if I could get her in a carrier. She is the friendliest one I have at my farm. I have 4 friendly house cats at home and more ferals at my husband's business. You hardly ever even see them, just put out the food, try to provide some shelter and make sure they have the freshest water you can provide.

I would dare you to try to handle most of my cats, and putting them in a carrier, LOL. :lol:

Dec. 9, 2008, 12:13 AM
Our barn cats range from extremely friendly (he can "hear" someone sitting down, i.e. making a LAP to SIT ON!!! from anywhere on the property) to quite wild and unhandleable. It depends on personality and origin.

For the wild ones, getting them in a carrier consists of baiting the carrier with yummy smelly squishy food, tying several lengths of haystring to the carrier door, and sitting out of sight. Cat enters carrier, I pull haystring, it closes the door, and there you have it. It works better with the wire crates than with conventional plastic carrying cases.