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WWYD: Injured Feral Cat

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    WWYD: Injured Feral Cat

    A little backstory: this big (~20lb!) tom cat was dumped on my property maybe six or seven years ago now, as a full grown adult. It took a couple weeks to trap him, but then he went to the feral cat program to get fixed and vaccinated. Because I live on a very busy road, I kept him in my bathroom for a week, post-neuter, to try to tame him into a housecat. He was having NONE of it. I have tamed dozens of ferals, some were trickier than others, but this guy, a week in, was still race-caring 5' up the walls when I walked in to pee.

    Not house cat material, so I put him back out in my barn (had to set up the trap in my bathroom!) and hoped for the best. Any outdoor cat (ie, the ones that don't get trapped quick enough) usually don't make it more than a year at my place. But this guy has made it another seven years, and I'm quite fond of him. I feed him daily when he shows up in the hay barn hollering, still can't get within 10' of him, but he does bring me presents and will come running to his name.

    Two days ago, he showed up with a rather significant lump right above his hip. When I say significant, I mean baseball-sized. I got a decent look at it, and there is a patch of fur missing with what I assume is a puncture, but no blood. So...abscess? He is NOT limping, still eating heartily, still showing up regularly for his food, still bright eyed.

    Now, of course I cannot scoop him into a carrier and take him to the vet. Or, I can, but it will be a traumatic experience and god help everyone if the resulting fix needs some sort of after care.

    Would getting some antibiotics into his food be a good plan? How long would you "wait and see" before setting up the humane trap and warning your long-suffering vet that you'll be bringing a little feline tornado in for a visit?

    Do you have a sympathetic vet that can answer this question?

    Given that he's so feral, I'd expect that he won't get dull until he's about to die. My inclination would be to trap and haul to the vet, as fun as that will be....


      I'd trap and take to vet, with prior warning that they need the leather gloves and the sedatives...

      If it's an abscess they can sedate him, clean it up and shoot him up with a long acting antibiotic so you don't have to do any medicating.

      I've had to do this in the past, and it worked out well for the cat.


        Original Poster

        I actually have two vets who will handle him. My regular vet who takes pity on me, and the place that does all the S&N for ferals. (And are therefore well-versed in handling through the humane trap.)

        I'll set the trap up tomorrow morning and see if he'll play the game.

        Thanks for confirming my gut. I rescued an injured raccoon the other weekend, he was a peach compared to what this guy is!


          I did the trap with a feral cat for an abcess. Vets have ways of working with ferals. And a long lasting antibiotic can help him get better quickly.


            Buy at the store or borrow from animal control a trap. Then take cat in trap to vet for treatment. BTDT
            Hardware stores have the hav-a-hart traps. Buy a big one.


              Since you are in Ma, the Animal Rescue League of Boston would help if you can't trap him. I've heard they are very good about helping feral cats/wildlife. Even your AC may be able to help you.


                Original Poster

                Thanks guys, like I said, well versed in trapping ferals/dumpees. (Thanks, assholes who think I want cats just because I have a farm.) Have the trap, have the skills, he's just very wise to it.

                I'll give him a couple days to take the bait; I set it up this morning and he's super pissed about his usual breakfast being in it, he's sitting right outside the closed end and staring at his wet food.


                  Thank you for taking care of him. He sounds like quite the character! Best of luck hope it all turns out well


                    Bless you for caring for the handsome big boy ~

                    Jingles & AO for his smooth recovery with some antibiotic help ~

                    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                      Trap him and drug him in food! two summers ago we trapped a very young feral momma and her babies and kept them in the extra bathroom in my parents house. Kittens were easy to socialize, but momma never came around. Then, she got up in the drop ceiling and WOULD NOT come out- no amount of withholding food, etc worked. She was up there for weeks before we found the correct sedative that would make her handleable (FYI was 5mg of Valium for a 4# cat-she was INSANE). Good luck with him!


                        My experience is that my feral cats are too smart to eat food with medicine hidden in it.

                        Sending easy trapping jingles to you!


                          Thank you for looking after him - AND for all the ferals you've taken care of over the years!

                          Good luck with the trapping and... the rodeo.
                          Fingers crossed for you!
                          I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.
                          Frederick Douglass


                            Bless you for caring for him! (And don't forget to get pics.)
                            Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                            You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.


                              Original Poster

                              Six hours later, I have reports that he occasionally leaves the trap, but for the most part has continued to stay and stare longingly at his encaged breakfast. Weighing his options.

                              I'm actually thinking about giving him another opportunity to be a house cat, after he's caught and treated. I've left the door propped open for him on numerous occasions, and he does peer in/occasionally step over the door sill.

                              He also winters in my basement; I have an "old" section that the furnace keeps warm, and I am able to crack a window without chilling the rest of the house or the finished area where the washing machines are. Then he slips in/out as he pleases. No spraying, either!

                              He's now getting to be a very old man for a feral (~10 years) so maybe he wants to upgrade to a life of leisure in my attic.


                                Original Poster

                                I don't have any good pictures of him, but here's a pic of two of his babies: Bello and Bunny

                                The grey one with the full tail in the back is 16lbs, the big black one in the front with the bob tail regularly clocks in at 22+lbs of healthy weight. She is also the sweetest of the bunch, nicknamed "Bunny", and a prolific drooler.

                                He was dropped off with a (very) pregnant female who had kittens in the week I was trying to get her trapped. The four of them (all rehomed, but with family members) are all monsters, but seeing as they were trapped at three weeks, are fully domesticated.


                                  Good luck! Hoping for a good outcome! and maybe pictures...


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                                      He may succeed eventually as a housecat. My most recent failed barn cat was so feral she peed all over me out of fear when I brought her into the house to wait overnight for her annual vet check (couldn't count on catching her in the morning so always caught her the day before and stashed her in the spare bathroom overnight). Three years ago she had a bad abscess and I had to trap her and take her to the vet. After an overnight stay at the vet hospital and living indoors for a week to recover she started to settle in. Now if I leave the back door open she'll peek outside, then RUN down the hall to get away. She does NOT want to go outside, and she sits on my lap and purrs almost daily.