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Trying to do the right thing for a stray

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am just sick about the way this worked out. "Corey" was hanging around my yard for several weeks - cats like it here, lots of wildlife and catnip - and I finally realized he was homeless and had nowhere to go when I tried to chase him out. The no-kill shelters were full, so I thought I'd trap him and take him out to animal control (I have an indoor cat and my mom was afraid of upsetting the old guy with a new arrival). Well, I started feeding Corey a week ago. He was very timid, but by the second day he let me pet him. I knew I could never take him to animal control, and convinced my mom to try him out indoors if he proved to be healthy. After a couple days later he actually followed me around the yard briefly and made one tentative "meow", and really thought about sitting next to me on the bench. He remained fearful each time he came around for food, but would let me pet him once he settled in eating.

I called the vet and described the situation, made an appointment to bring him in for the FIV/FLeV test, explaining that I had never picked him up and he might be a difficult patient. They said no problem. I got him to go into the carrier for cat treats, and whisked him off to the vet, very excited about being able to bring him inside for the night.

I explained again in the examining room that this cat was fearful and that I hadn't more than petted him, but they said, let him out of the carrier, and he exploded out of there, bouncing off walls, counters, windows, finally coming to rest behind the blinds on a low window sill. The technician went to get a doctor's advice. The doctor came in and said we needed to talk while the cat calmed down. She proceeded to tell me I would be better off getting a cat from a shelter as this one would probably not make a good pet. I described my progress with it, but she seemed to have made up her mind about him. She finally decided to leave him alone for a while, then if necessary sedate him for the blood test.

So about 4 hours later I got a call at work from another doctor, saying the first doctor had to leave and had turned this over to him. He said when he went in the room Corey hissed and growled. He encouraged me to have him "put down". I said Corey had never been agressive with me, never hissed, and had been letting me pet him more. I insisted they go through with the blood test, then, if he was healthy, neutering and vaccinations. About half an hour later the same doctor called to say the FIV test was positive. I would not jeaopardize the health of my dear companion cat, and no place else would take Corey, so I agreed to let them euthanize him.

Now, what is killing me, is I can't help but suspect the vet just told me the test was positive so they could be done with him. Is that possible? The cat was probably less than a year old, so it seems odd to me that he would have been exposed to the virus already. I keep thinking maybe I should have waited until the cat was more socialized before taking him to the vet, but it is getting cold here, there are lots of dogs and raccoons, even some coyotes, and I see way too may roadkills. I really wanted to give him a good life, had a room all prepared based on what I had read on this forum, and now I feel like I took his life myself.

Thanks for any replies.
post #2 of 9
I was in a simular situation many years ago not with the aggresive but when i was about 13 we had a kitten that we took into get flea dipped and a check up shots ect. About a hour later the vet called and said the cat somehow got really sick and that he tested pos for fel luk he told her she died and she must have got really stressed out from the dip. Ok well we went on didnt question him. 2 years later I got a job working there and ran across her old file. In her file it stated that he enuthanised her after testing pos for fel luk!!!
Needless to say i was only 15 and didnt know how to address the issue with him. He later moved and i got a job with another vet but it still haunts me to think they could do something like that without permission. I believe she might have got sick but its hard to believe you can take in a healthy animal and a hour alter they died??
SO i could see your story happening. I am sorry for your loss. You took him there cause you were doing the best for him. Its not your fault you trusted them witha animal they are there to help them.
post #3 of 9
Quote:
Now, what is killing me, is I can't help but suspect the vet just told me the test was positive so they could be done with him. Is that possible? The cat was probably less than a year old, so it seems odd to me that he would have been exposed to the virus already. I keep thinking maybe I should have waited until the cat was more socialized before taking him to the vet, but it is getting cold here, there are lots of dogs and raccoons, even some coyotes, and I see way too may roadkills. I really wanted to give him a good life, had a room all prepared based on what I had read on this forum, and now I feel like I took his life myself.
Welcome to TCS....I would hate to think that a vet would lie about the results of bloodwork just to euthanize a cat. Although FIV is rare....it tends to be found more frequently in outdoor cats:

http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/health/FIV.html

Your little friend could have gotten FIV from his mom at birth....many FIV cats do not develop active symptoms for years.

I think you did do the right thing and I wouldn't have waited till he was more socialized because you do not know if he would have run off at some point and while he was intact, he could create more homeless litters. Besides...if he was positive for FIV...wouldn't you have wanted to know?

I think if you find any other strays, I would recommend you to use a humane trap to bring this cat into the vet. With a trap, the vet can apply a seditive through the trap instead of having to open the carrier. It's safer for everyone.

I don't know if you are famiilar with Alley Cat Allies but they are a national organization that works with feral/stray cats:

http://www.alleycat.org/

Also, PAWs of Chicago has a TNR clinic in case you ever have another cat that needs to be seen:

http://www.pawschicago.org/animalwel...ter_return.htm

Thank you so much for caring for this cat!!!

Katie
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Perhaps I overreacted to the way both doctors tried to talk me out of taking this cat. It just bothered me that they based their evaluation on the way it behaved in that stressful setting, while I had seen no aggression from the cat, only fear. Anyway, thank you for replying to me. This is a wonderful community.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownie View Post
Perhaps I overreacted to the way both doctors tried to talk me out of taking this cat. It just bothered me that they based their evaluation on the way it behaved in that stressful setting, while I had seen no aggression from the cat, only fear. Anyway, thank you for replying to me. This is a wonderful community.
I think you just really cared for this cat and the vets were not sympathetic to that...which is a shame. This is definately a wonderful community...as you can see, I've been here for a few years now and I've learned a LOT about cat care from reading other posts.

Katie
post #6 of 9
We live in a rural area, and thankfully the vets are used to working with feral cats.

With the humane traps, as Katie pointed out, even a vet that hasn't worked with ferals can anaesthetize (sp?) the cat while in the trap.

I think it's a real shame that your vets discourage people adopting or working with ferals. With time, patience and understanding, they make great pets, and there's nothing in the world like the bond between a formerly feral cat and the human(s) that rescued him or her.

I would have the same suspicions you do given the circumstances. I hate to say it or think it. Unfortunately, I don't think there's any way to know, and I don't think there's anything you can do about it.

What you can do, however, is "shop around" for another vet - perhaps one that isn't afraid of feral cats.

Laurie
post #7 of 9
Brownie,
Sorry about your experience with the vet. When I took my 3 kitties to the vet for the first time they too went a little berserk, and they are extremely affectionate and tame at all other occasions. You would think a vet would get used to animals acting up! My vet was so nice when our little cat tried to get away from him he said "He just wants to run til he finds a sun beam".
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownie View Post
I am just sick about the way this worked out. "Corey" was hanging around my yard for several weeks - cats like it here, lots of wildlife and catnip - and I finally realized he was homeless and had nowhere to go when I tried to chase him out. The no-kill shelters were full, so I thought I'd trap him and take him out to animal control (I have an indoor cat and my mom was afraid of upsetting the old guy with a new arrival). Well, I started feeding Corey a week ago. He was very timid, but by the second day he let me pet him. I knew I could never take him to animal control, and convinced my mom to try him out indoors if he proved to be healthy. After a couple days later he actually followed me around the yard briefly and made one tentative "meow", and really thought about sitting next to me on the bench. He remained fearful each time he came around for food, but would let me pet him once he settled in eating.

I called the vet and described the situation, made an appointment to bring him in for the FIV/FLeV test, explaining that I had never picked him up and he might be a difficult patient. They said no problem. I got him to go into the carrier for cat treats, and whisked him off to the vet, very excited about being able to bring him inside for the night.

I explained again in the examining room that this cat was fearful and that I hadn't more than petted him, but they said, let him out of the carrier, and he exploded out of there, bouncing off walls, counters, windows, finally coming to rest behind the blinds on a low window sill. The technician went to get a doctor's advice. The doctor came in and said we needed to talk while the cat calmed down. She proceeded to tell me I would be better off getting a cat from a shelter as this one would probably not make a good pet. I described my progress with it, but she seemed to have made up her mind about him. She finally decided to leave him alone for a while, then if necessary sedate him for the blood test.

So about 4 hours later I got a call at work from another doctor, saying the first doctor had to leave and had turned this over to him. He said when he went in the room Corey hissed and growled. He encouraged me to have him "put down". I said Corey had never been agressive with me, never hissed, and had been letting me pet him more. I insisted they go through with the blood test, then, if he was healthy, neutering and vaccinations. About half an hour later the same doctor called to say the FIV test was positive. I would not jeaopardize the health of my dear companion cat, and no place else would take Corey, so I agreed to let them euthanize him.

Now, what is killing me, is I can't help but suspect the vet just told me the test was positive so they could be done with him. Is that possible? The cat was probably less than a year old, so it seems odd to me that he would have been exposed to the virus already. I keep thinking maybe I should have waited until the cat was more socialized before taking him to the vet, but it is getting cold here, there are lots of dogs and raccoons, even some coyotes, and I see way too may roadkills. I really wanted to give him a good life, had a room all prepared based on what I had read on this forum, and now I feel like I took his life myself.

Thanks for any replies.
I'm not sure if it works the same way for you guys over there, but in the UK you have a legal right to access all information held on your account about you and your animal. If you want to find out what really happened, ask for the test results and medical history that they have kept for that day.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I thought about going to the vet and asking for the file, but talked myself out of it, saying it might not have "proof" anway - guess I'm just not up for the confrontation. I'm still disappointed that over the phone they made it sound like they could deal with this cat, but when I got there it seemed they had no plan.

I definitely learned something from the ordeal. I did sense that I could, given time, become an important friend to that cat, just never imagined it would end so badly. Still wake up in the middle of the night and think about it, just not every night.
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