I'd appreciate a reality check about my options for this little guy since I think my emotions are clouding my judgment.
Backstory: 2 months ago I spotted a lanky kitten (appeared 6-8 months old) with a bum leg (lower half turns back on itself) at our soon to be new house. I saw the leg from 15+ feet and assumed it was a birth defect.
We moved in yesterday and are working to get the 3 neighborhood feral cats on a feeding schedule. The lanky kitten is the exact same size leading me to believe that he is full grown but small due to poor nutrition. Leg up close looks like an old break and the lower half is swollen and painful. He does not get along well and relies on dumpster diving.
Neighborhood rumor is that the three came out of Siamese-esque female and a black male. Both are now deceased. The three adolescents are what remains of their litter.
I can borrow a feral traps and TNR the two littermates for $35 a piece. However, the low cost spay/neuter clinic is not set up for any other surgery.
I don't think it is humane to release a tripod. A tripod isn't going to be a good barn cat or at least one that most barns would take a chance on. At his age I doubt he would be happy as an indoor kitty. Even if he was happy inside this area is inundated with cats and the odds of a tripod feral getting adopted seem VERY slim.
You might be surprised at how well a feral cat turns around-- especially if he's been fed by humans and doesn't have negative associations. I'm not promising this will be the case, but I'd trap him and see how he behaves and go from there. My experience has been about 50/50 with more adolescent cats turning friendly. Sometimes it works. I will also say, if he gets around on the bum leg-- there may be a solution short of surgery that still renders him an ok outside cat with a decent life. I'd trap him, see how he acts, and go from there. If he's in pain and doesn't seem conducive to taming, then I think putting him down is a fine option. But I'd start with trapping and go from there.
Tripods can be awesome barn cats. If MEAN. (Mom is sick of Tripod punching the other cats, but ever since the older female who was boss of the barn died, he's been trying to occupy the power vacuum.) He had a severe bite on his left foreleg when he came to us with an infection to the bone, it was amputated, after a couple weeks living in the utility room in a cage and doing his 'therapy walks' he went back to the barn and has been there ever since.
Thanks for the input. I would be shocked if anyone in the area wanted him as a barn cat. AC has 50 cats, the humane society has about 20 more, and craigslist is overflowing. A barn owner in the area has a HUGE feral colony trying to help so there is already a great resource for neutered ferals if a barn was in need.
Maybe he has more house potential than I am giving him credit. I fostered a feral for a friend a few years back and that poor girl lived in my bathroom for a month and never got closer than 3 feet to me in a bathroom that was 3 feet wide. She was spayed and released and was thrilled to go back to her eat and disappear routine. After that experience I vowed not to try and rehab an adult but I do know that others have has better luck. He is awfully food motivated. The biggest hitch to going down that road is that I'm not set up to foster in house at this time. I do worry about the long term expense associated with boarding him. I can find a way to cover the amputation but a month of boarding could run $450+ a month and there is no way I can swing what amounts to another horse in boarding on a college budget.
Ugh. I just want to do what's right but also feasible.
Would it be cheaper to do a partial amputation? Just the "broken" part of the leg, and leave the upper part? Is there a reason that's not done more?
I am reminded of a coyote I saw several times (back when I was walking my dogs at dusk) who had nothing below the hock. She got along just fine.
Even if full amputation, I think he'd do fine as a tripod. Kitties seem to take to that well, since they are so light. His small form actually makes it more likely he would adjust without a hitch, so to speak.
Wow he's gorgeous!! You'd be surprised at how well tripods get around. We had a similar situation at my old farm. Feral cat showed up with a bum leg, he was trapped and it was amputated (and he was neutered). He was released and ended up turning himself into a barn cat by spending more and more time around. He came to realize that life was good with constant food, a heated tack room to sleep in, and occasional scratches and hugs.
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I trapped an adult feral cat about 18 months ago. I had him neutered and then shortly after I brought him home he escaped from the cage I was keeping him in and hid in the basement. It took a few months of slow progression, but eventually I was able to pet him and he was getting pretty tame.
Then last spring he escaped and found his way to the barn loft. It took longer, but just recently he has been willing to come up and sniff my hand.
Don't write off taming the adults, some can be tamed, especially if they already have some positive experiences with people. Just be patient and don't force the issue.
We have a feral who survived a broken leg. It healed on it's own before I could catch him to get him neutered. He was an adult. He spends a lot of time on the couch now . We also have another adult feral who tamed himself and shares the couch with the above mentioned cat.
Your cat is beautiful and looks young. I'd bet he will tame down and be fine as either a house cat or a barn cat. The males are far easier to tame than the females.
Our three-legged former feral was a wee kitten when DH found him. But he was the most feral kitten I've ever seen (I have tamed several feral kittens and have some as house cats now). After his two surgeries, he was even madder at humanity.
But he's now a house cat. He's scared of strangers and hides when they're here, but he demands his snuggle time with me and can be quite sweet. I know he was younger than your guy, but I would give him a chance if it was me...
My feral cat is sitting under my coffee table. Yes, they can turn around- especially if food motivated.
He is very handsome. Do you not want another cat? It is so hard to make these decisions. I just spent 800 bucks on a cat that belonged to my boyfriend's cousin that never bothered to have her spayed. Ugh.
They can get turned around after they get their balls/uterus and ovaries removed. We have an TRP and we keep ones that end up nice and adopt them out. Some will be feral before the surgery and afterwards are a different animals!
My foster cat was caught about 2-3 months ago now and is a lover. He is older. I would say 2 or 3, but its hard to say as he is missing some teeth from his fighting days. Picture of my handsome man: http://instagram.com/p/ZyjAXmkCV-/
Mr. Handsome is very handsome! I would trap him and see how he acts. I think he could get a long as a tripod since he already is essential one now. If he is super mean when you trap him and you don't think rehab is possible and he is in pain from his leg then putting him down maybe the nicest thing. We can't save them all.