Charlie is quite a lucky guy, in a roundabout way. He was picked up by Baltimore City Animal Control a week or two ago -- since he is ear-tipped, so they assumed he was feral. There's a city ordinance that says any ear-tipped feral cat that's part of a managed colony should basically be left alone, so when AC picks one up, they call one of the local TNR groups to come get the cat and take it back to where they found it. Since I live a few blocks from the city shelter, I get "volunteered" for this job frequently.
I picked Mr. Charlie up, brought him home and put him in a crate. Thought to myself, "He doesn't seem feral..." Stuck my hand in the crate, and he rushed right over for some ear scritches, and practically fell over he was so happy. OK, so much for putting Mr. Charlie back with his colony... he would very much like to be an indoor cat again!
So I took Charlie to my regular vet for a checkup. Here's where things get interesting.
Most stray cats are 4-5 years old, max. (They don't last very long out there, unfortunately. ) Charlie is 10 or 12. I figure he was probably a pet for most of that time, and just got dumped or "lost" recently.
Charlie is also FIV+, which is not a surprise. (Many, if not most, stray tomcats are.) FIV is not a big deal, but is probably a contributing factor to the fact that...
Charlie has MAJOR dental problems. He has 3-4 teeth that should probably be pulled. One of his canines is infected and so has "dropped down" a bit, and has caused a big sore where it meets his lower lip.
Charlie ALSO has a heart murmur. (It was about at this point in the exam that my vet started laughing and saying "Man, I'm sorry!") This could be due to hyperthyroidism, which can be treated with medication. Or it could be due to some underlying heart problem, which would require a trip to a cardiologist to diagnose.
So, poor Charlie has some issues! Right now, we've just got him on some antibiotics to see if that helps the dental situation. If not, he needs a cleaning and extractions, which will be about $600-700. I'll get that done if he needs it... although if a potential adopter wants to chip in for part of it, that would be lovely. He'll have blood work done before he has the dental surgery, and that should indicate if he is hyperthyroid or not. If so, the hyperthyroid meds are not expensive... about $20 a month. If not... a cardiologist IS expensive. But he's made it this long with the murmur, so personally I'd probably opt for blissful ignorance in that case.
Despite all this, Charlie is SUPER sweet. He's a very quiet, calm guy, and has this raspy, tiny little meow that you can barely hear. He loves to sit in laps. He's an older guy who's had a rough time of it, and he would love to just have someone to snuggle with and take care of him in his senior years.
Although he does have some medical issues, I don't expect anyone to spend tons of money on him... I, and he, would be perfectly happy if someone could just give him love and keep him comfortable. Obviously he'd do much better with even the most basic care as an inside cat, than he was doing on the street. He would be great for a younger person who is in a situation to have a cat now but doesn't know what the future will bring, or an older person.
He is a little on the shy side, but very friendly and cuddly once he gets to know you. I don't know how he is with other cats yet, but he's definitely not a dominant/aggressive type. He was already neutered, and has had his shots updated.
When I realized he was friendly, I initially thought I could just put him with a rescue to place... but, obviously, given his age, no rescue is going to take him. So I really hope some kind COTHer might have room for this older gentleman. I can guarantee he is very appreciative, despite his sometimes dour-looking expression!
I had a kittie with a heart murmur. It was pretty significant and never bothered her. Lost her to kidney disease at age 14.
Unfortunately I also just lost my 19 year old hyperthryroid cat. I have about 30-45 days of meds that are just sitting here. Erin if he needs meds I would be more than happy to send them down for him. Just let me know.
I would love, love, love this guy but can't while we're still renting. Cuuuuuuute! If he's still around in a few months when we get our own place (August?), I think Bing Bong needs someone to commiserate with about the FIV!
MDE, I still have kattens with your name on them...
CAH, I will probably get the bloodwork done in another couple of weeks to see if he's hyperthyroid, and if he is, will definitely take the meds off your hands. Thanks!
I think he will be OK with other cats -- I had a temporary overnight visitor last night who Charlie seemed interested in. With gradual introductions, I think he would be just fine.
Really, he is just a sweetheart of a cat... SO appreciative of any attention, and just wants to sleep in your lap all day. He totally reminds me of the first cat I had on my own as an adult... another 10+-year-old brown tabby guy who I found living under the porch of a house I was renting in Upperville.
Someone out there needs a quiet old softie of a kitty, I'm sure...
Unfortunately we cant introduce a FIV+ cat into our herd
But Charlie so reminds us of our rescue cat Tommy
We would be happy to contribute to his dental expenses so he can be fixed up so someone more local can give him a home
He looks like a real lovebug
We had many friends contribute to our horse Alex and his recovery from a barn fire
We have reached the point that we have replaced everything we need to and paid all the medical bills.
and there is still money left . . . so we are distributing it out to good causes that we come across.
If you can PM an address, we'll send you something for Charlie's help
Yep, he will probably get bloodwork done when I take him in this week, so we'll find out if he's hyperthyroid or not. If so, I will definitely let you know!
And Charlie is still looking for a home. He is a very low-key guy... spends about 23.5 hours a day sleeping on a shelf in the basement, as far as I can tell. Half the time he doesn't even wake up when I go down there! But he's always pleased to get an ear scritch or a cuddle... and then goes back to sleep.
Charlie is doing great! I didn't get a chance to take him into the vet this week (had sort of an emergency situation with another cat and had to go in 3 times with her ) but will go in next week. His mouth does look much better having had the antibiotics, so at least he should be more comfortable now, but I'm assuming he's still going to need the dental work.
He is just such a doll... I'm really hoping I can find him a home somewhere. He seems pretty darn happy just snoozing the day away in my basement, but I'm sure he'd rather be doing his snoozing in someone's lap!
An update on Charlie... we are going to go ahead and do his dental work, and did blood work in preparation for that. He is *not* hyperthyroid, which means the heart murmur is likely due to some kind of cardiac issue. I'm not planning to haul him off to a cardiologist to get that diagnosed... I figure we'll just do the dental to make him more comfortable. The murmur certainly doesn't seem to be bothering him, so... blissful ignorance.
He really is a super-sweet cat... quite a character! Anyone know an older person who would like an older lap cat?
I had one with a pretty significant heart murmur. Always was fearful it would do her in. She was fine all her life and lost her to kidney disease when she was about 15. They seem to well with the murmurs.
For everyone who was following Charlie's saga... he had his dental yesterday, and is now minus six teeth, but should be MUCH more comfortable! The heart murmur didn't pose any problems while he was under anesthesia and he came through just fine.
(Although my vet *did* find a "dark spot" on his eye when giving him a physical before the surgery, and thinks it might be a melanoma. I told them they need to quit being so observant and stop finding things wrong with this poor cat! )
So, now I just need to work on finding Charlie a forever home. Although he is tolerant of other cats, he's pretty timid and seems to get picked on... I think he'd like a quiet home with some people for company and maybe other quiet, laid-back cats. He really is a sweetheart and is totally endearing... you can't help but fall in love with the silly old geezer.
Glad Charlie is doing well. Erin you are wonderful to do so much for these kitties. I just had to say that the website you linked to had me in hysterics. I mean, crying, rolling on the floor hysterics! And I only read the first few pages. Those people are very clever!