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Socializing a feral: The story of Lucky - Page 7

post #181 of 369
Yup, Sandi, regular sized straws. They can chew those to their hearts content and it's almost like a teething ring for them. Unfortunately I have never seen a kitty chew toy or teething toy (although it's on my To Do list of things to invent ). It does sound like she's teething. Ophelia never really did, but Trent was a little chewing monster when he was getting his teeth in!

Lucky will get used to the screen door and the other critters eventually. Remember when you moved stuff under the bed and how she reacted to that? Well, you made another change to her world with the screen door and she isn't quite sure what to make of it yet. She has to get all that courage up again to be brave.
post #182 of 369
Ooo - sorry Sandi! Heidi's right - just regular straws. One of our guys can chew hard plastic apart - like the rings you pull off around milk bottles? But the straws are softer, so don't "break". They get full of holes, and then we just replace it with new ones. None of them ever ate any piece of a straw. It's the harder plastic you have to worry about them being able to chew apart in to pieces they can accidentally swallow. And the bummer with that is, the plastic doen't really show up on an X-ray, so it can be a nightmare.

We used the bendy straws. Apparently they were fun to play with as well as chew on, because when they shook their heads and let the straws "fly," the straws then "rolled" around in an interesting way. I guess!

post #183 of 369
I'll give the straws a try then. It's funny you mentioned the milk jug rings. We gave her one of those right away when we were allowed to bring her into the house and she chewed right through it almost immediately. That also got taken away. (Jeanie G. - I had to laugh about being such a meanie! Brought a smile to my face - heh, heh!). I just can't believe I was so worried about her accepting us a couple months ago, and now she's constantly head-butting us in the face, hands, etc. We're definitely "hers" now. Not that I'm complaining - anything but. And now, if she jumps on the bed and sprawls out and we don't pay attention to her immediately - she'll make this little meow and of course, we give in right away. If I could, I'd have tons of cats!!!

This is kinda for me to admit, but the other night (morning) at 4 AM, I looked outside my window before turning in and in our neighbor's driveway there was something (I couldn't tell what) in the middle of it and it looked like a kitten moving it's head around. Well, I went out to our porch (enclosed) and looked out, but still couldn't tell. I got the flashlight and quietly went outside to look what it could possibly be - and (don't laugh), here it was just a bunch of leaves blowing around a little in the wind. I'm telling you, it looked like a little cat head moving around. I think I'm becoming obsessed with looking for stray cats now. I'm much more aware now.
post #184 of 369
Don't be embarassed! You've simply become one of the crazy cat women!!!

And Sandi - we know the truth. You just want to give them all homes! ...and that's part of why you're so wonderful!!!


post #185 of 369
One of the Crazy Cat Women, huh? I think I like the sound of that.

Also, I put some of the straws in for Lucky and sure enough...she took to them right away. See, I knew I listened to you guys for some reason... Also, my husband's friend at work gave Lucky a Xmas gift of a refillable catnip toy. It's really neat! She, of course, loves it! I have to get one for Kitty as well, once I find out where she got it.

As far as helping all the cats that need homes...well, I've gotten into the habit of visiting our Humane Society's website each day to see the poor furbabies. I always find several I'd like to go and adopt!
post #186 of 369
Thread Starter 
Oh Sandi!!! I wish there were more people in the world like you!!! **HUGS** I am so glad that Lucky has turned into such a loving little sweetie!!!

I know you still have your hedgie, but can't remember if it is male or female....my poor Spike is SO lonely since Penelope died....but I can't afford to get him a companion....I wish we lived closer....maybe we could mate them!
post #187 of 369
Yep, Lucky has turned into a little love bug! It's funny because my hubby pets her harder than I do. It's obvious she definitely distinguishes our different strengths when we pet her. She'll come to me if she wants lighter scratching and petting and to Kevin if she wants harder pets and scratches. Too funny.

Needles (our hedgehog) is a girl, Deb. She's doing very well. For awhile I was terrified (after Thistle passed) that Needles would suddenly end up ill, too. She'll be 3 in 2003. I know what you mean about Spike being lonely with Penelope gone. That's exactly how I felt when Thistle crossed the bridge. I was going to get another one, in fact the breeder from our state had emailed me to see if I was interested, but it was just too soon after Thistle had passed for me to jump into that. I think Needles will end up being my last hedgie. I love the creatures, but...we'll see what the future holds.

Now as far as felines - well, I know they will always be in my future. We have quite a ways to go before Lucky is totally confident about being in the household, but I just know after a while, we'll be getting another kitten or cat.

post #188 of 369
Thread Starter 
Like I said, it's too bad Needles and Spike don't live closer...they would probably be in love! :tounge2:
post #189 of 369
We had a terrible evening tonight. My hubby and I were in the room with Lucky and were noticing she's not been as playful lately. She's still friendly towards us and enjoys being petted, but she's just a bit "different". She threw up some food the other night and then last night seemed to be gagging a little, but I thought maybe she was trying to cough up a hairball or something. Well, tonight she threw up again on a blanket that's on the floor. I noticed that the vomit was a pinkish color (not like the yellowish white of the other night - with the food in it). Also, there was something else...one coiled up worm and one semi-coiled up worm. We have saved the worms (which to my surprise started uncoiling and moving - GROSS) and the blanket with the pinkish stuff on for the vet in the morning. I feel so bad for Miss Lucky. Poor little thing. I've been checking her stool and haven't seen any evidence of worms, but I remember not really believing they were gone after taking that second sample in (way back when). Her coat is shiny and healthy looking and until recently - she's been active and happy. In fact last night while I was spending time with her she was giving me these little meow's like she was trying to tell me something (as she doesn't normally do the meowing while being petted). Needless to say, we'll be going to the vet tomorrow morning bright and early.

Thought you'd like to know.
post #190 of 369

Lucky has round worms. It is quite common for cats with heavy infestations to vomit them up as well as pass them in their stool. Keep her litterbox as clean as you can, that will help till she has to go to the vet. The medication will be for several treatments when they are that heavy the cats can get really ill. Don't feed her anything and make sure she has plenty to drink.
post #191 of 369
It is taking us a long time to get rid of the round worms. Lazlo and Sheldon were both "de-wormed" the day they moved inside. They received a follow-up treatment three weeks later.

Several MONTHS later, Lazlo threw up round worms. Live. Everyone had another round of Drontal (the poison our Vet uses for round worm). It was explained to us that with a bad infestation (which many feral cats have), the eggs in the system can gestate even after the medicine was given, and some worms may not be killed.

So instead of waiting the usual three weeks, the Vet had us give them the second dose of Drontal only after one week. I think this was back in October.

We take a sample of their feces to the Vet every several weeks now. Shelly just turned up again with evidence of worms in his stool, so here we go again. This time we will give them the second dose in three weeks, like normal.

We give all of them Drontal to ensure that they haven't passed them to each other.

Shelly has been inside since July. So, as you can see, it can take quite some time to solve this problem.

Hopefully this will be the last time they have to go through this.

post #192 of 369
Gosh, call me naive. I've been so lucky with previous cats we've had that never had cases of worms that this threw me for a loop. I didn't realize that they could be so difficult to get rid of.

We didn't have to take Lucky to the vet, just the worms and I decided to take the blanket she threw up on too (I was SO concerned that the vomit was that pink color). They told us that Stongid is a great med, but that it's a liquid and if we thought we'd be able to administer it to Lucky, they'd prescribe that. Well, my husband thought it'd be better to go the alternate route of the Panacur again. I understand his logic there. If we have to attempt to give her liquid at this stage in the game of earning trust...we just weren't comfortable taking that chance. So, now Miss Lucky will be on the Panacur for 5 days - off for 3 weeks, on again for 5 days and then after a month we'll take another stool sample in to check it. After that, they suggested we take in stool samples on a regular basis until we're SURE they're gone. They are speculating what happened when she got the negative report was that we didn't wait long enough after she'd finished the Panacur the last time (which she had been on for 10 days straight). I just was very worried about her last night after that happened. However, after she threw the gross things up, she seemed to feel better and started playing (with her bendy straws - THANKS SO MUCH for that idea - she really enjoys playing with them).

Hissy, I just emptied all the litter and bleached Luck Duck's litterbox and put a liner with fresh litter in. Even though we scoop immediately after she goes, I'm still planning to bleach and freshen it VERY often. Thank you for reminding me, though. I so appreciate your help. I was confused about one thing...you stated not to feed her anything - just give plenty of fluids. Is that if she was taking the Strongid? We have to give her this powder Panacur in her wet food each evening for 5 days. After that do you suggest we not feed her for a day or something? Just wanted to make sure about that.

Also, after being treated - if they throw these worms up, are the worms going to be dead? Why I'm asking is because last night after she had thrown up those live things - she actually went back and it looked like she was going to eat them, until I walked right over to her and she went away from them. I wondered if feral cats have this instinct to get rid of stuff like that to ward off predators. I recently read that feral cats will most likely always use their litterboxes as in the wild they have their spots to go for that same reason.

Laurie, I hope your little ones will be rid of these pesky worms soon as well - once and for all. I'm so glad to know it's not something we missed or something. I'm telling you, ever since her first bout with this, I've been checking her stools (just looking, not pawing through them or anything like that, but sometimes it's difficult to notice with all the litter on it).

Once again, I appreciate knowing I'm not alone in this. Now I think I'm beginning to learn Lucky's language. She had just started hissing at us again as of late. Maybe she's been trying to let us know she's not been feeling up to par. Slow but sure.
post #193 of 369
Dang! Sorry I posted to late and was tired. I meant not to feed her anything if she was going to the vet right away. Sorry! (Hissy BAD!) When they vomit like that the worms are just sitting in their system and they feel really puny and don't really want to eat. But don't not feed her period- ACK! Again- "Hissy BAD!" I thought she was going to the vet in the morning, and meant not to give her any food until after the vet saw her, just make sure she had plenty of water. Sorry Sandie.

It is common for ferals to re-eat what their systems have rejected. I am not sure why. The worms will live outside the host but not very long.
And yes it is gross when they come up. Poor Lucky!
post #194 of 369
That's okay, Hissy, I thought I'd double check with you - good thing I did. I know, I feel the same way "Poor Lucky". Soon enough she'll feel better and we're trying to make it as bearable as we can for her. I wonder how long those worms live outside the system. Gosh, we took them down to look at under the magnifying glass thing my hubby has and I was holding them in the papertowel when the darn things started moving - I freaked out. I'd NEVER seen roundworms before. Like I said earlier, we've been so fortunate that none of our other pets ever had worms while we've had them.

Anyhow...thanks for clarifying that for me. She does seem to be drinking plenty - but we'll keep an eye on that. Plus with the wet food to give her the meds in, that'll give her a bit more water. Believe me, around here it's the pets that rule the roost, not us. Spoiled rotten. I think they'd all agree. :tounge2:
post #195 of 369
I have stayed up until after eleven reading this thread. It has been as exciting as reading a mystery novel. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I have never had a feral cat but I can see the rewards. Good luck with getting Lucky into the other rooms of the house. I will look forward to the next episodes. Becky Alvarez
post #196 of 369
Hissy, you're not the only one without your thinking cap on! "BAD Laurie!" I forgot to mention bleaching the box, etc.

Sandi - Your little feral Lucky was eating garbage and mice and stuff outside - that's probably why you've never had problem with worms before (if you've had hand-raised kitties or kitties from shelters, which have already been de-wormed).

The way our Vet explained it is that the eggs of the worms are sometimes immune to the poison, so they gestate even after the cats have received the poison, and it can take some time to kill everything in their systems.

I don't know about the medicine you're using. The Drontal our Vet prescribes kills the worms, so they are not live when expelled from the body. ...and that's a MAJOR problem with the Hartz medication sold in stores - it does NOT kill the worms, it merely causes the cats to expel them, easily causing a re-infestation.

I hope Lucky feels back to her old self soon!

And Becky, welcome! I agree - I LOVE this thread! It is so instructive. I appreciate Sandi's patience and her willingness to share all of the ups and downs with us in writing. It is truly a labor of love. !!!!!


post #197 of 369
Welcome Becky!!! I'm so glad you enjoy the thread. I must go back to the beginning and re-read it. Then, I have to write up that essay for you Laurie.

As far as the latest...last night when cleaning up the litterbox after her deposit, there was a "dead" (hurray!) worm in there. I believe the Panacur does kill the worms, but like many of you stated, if Lucky was pretty infested the first session of Panacur (months ago) probably didn't take care of the eggs. Actually, the change in Miss Lucky is amazing. It seems she's already a bit happier. I just want to try to find out more about the roundworm cycle. Like how long does it take (or the gestation period) of the eggs until they reach adulthood. I'm hoping that by medicating her for the 5 days and then having her be off for 3 weeks and then remedicating for 5 days (as the vet prescribed) that this will head them off at the pass so to speak. I just don't want my little girl so miserable.

Last night she was a little more like her sweet self - and she really enjoys being brushed (thank goodness - I was concerned that might be a hurdle to get over). She has a little bit longer hair than it appears when you look at her. I wouldn't say it's long, but maybe medium vs. short. So, this is good. However, there was a bit of loose hair on the brush when I set it on the bed and she went over to investigate and the little stinker decided to eat that hair. (Ugh...). Silly, silly girl. I hope she doesn't end up with a hairball...

Other than that...not too much else new. Although, she does get pretty rowdy in the very early morning. Today, one of her floor blankets was all messed up and some of her larger toys were moved across the room. I actually though someone was breaking in the house around 5 am she was like a herd of elephants. Ha, ha...it doesn't really bother me, I just thought it was amusing. I just hope she's not feeling too cooped up in that room.

Oh, and now when Kitty goes to the screen door, she'll meow and it ends up becoming a long, stretched out meow and Lucky doesn't immediately run for cover under the bed, she'll stay on the bed and hiss and growl (although not like that first time). The dog got hissed at last night as well and then she barked at Lucky and that was enough to send Lucky under the bed for only a few minutes. I think we have a battle in for us when that time comes. It definitely won't be until March (that seems so far away) when we hopefully have conquered the worm situation. (Crossing my fingers).
post #198 of 369
Sandi, I might not be very good a searching on the net, but every time I tried to find info on round worms, all I could come up with were tapeworms.

My understanding from the Vet is that gestation is three weeks - thus the repeat of the poison after three weeks. ?????

post #199 of 369
Here's a site for you. This link will take you directly to the article on roundworms. Click here
post #200 of 369
FABULOUS article, Jeanie, thank you so much!!!!!!
post #201 of 369
You're so welcome, Laurie. I can usually find what I need at that site.
post #202 of 369
I haven't had time to poke around, but I sure have bookmarked it! Again, thanks.
post #203 of 369
Jeanie G. I cannot believe I didn't think to look there for info. Thanks for letting me know. I order from that site a lot and forgot they had the health care information section. I am grateful for the info. It answered most of my questions and concerns.

Tonight Lucky actually came up on my chest and then proceeded to give me a head-butt right in the face. It's still up and down each day, but looking back, it's still only been 3 months.
post #204 of 369
WOW! You have totally won the heart of this little girl!!! She obviously trusts you so much.

See what happens when you have the patience to do it right? It is SO worth it, don't you think? !!!!!!!

post #205 of 369
Well...I'm not totally sure about that yet. She will still hiss at us from time to time. Also, my husband is the one she truly loves - you should just see them together...I have to admit, the jealousy bug sometimes comes my way when I see them together. Only because he did the opposite of everything we were told and I felt I did all the work. I'm just happy that she feels so confident around him. She's definitely coming around more with me, but I'm more gentle with her. Kevin isn't rough, just pets harder and she seems to enjoy that.

It's all been worth it up to now. I can't imagine what I'll be feeling in October when we've had her with us for a whole year.

Also, she's been a little more bold when it comes to the screen door. She'll actually stay on the bed or the window perch when the dog walks by. It seems to be when Kitty stops and sits outside the door that it gets really interesting. Kitty doesn't do that much anymore - it almost seems like her feelings were hurt the last time she got hissed and growled at. We gave each of them a treat on their own respective sides of the door - so they'd associate their meeting with happy things. It's just going to take lots of time. I just feel bad that Lucky is still stuck in that one room, you know? She seems to be okay with it, but knowing there's a whole house out there for her to explore actually makes me crazy sometimes. I don't want to rush the "in your face" meeting with the other pets, though.
post #206 of 369
Sandi, I completely understand what you're feeling with hubby and Lucky. It's exactly the same way with Ophelia. I was the one who was in there every night when I got home from work when she was a kitten and learning to trust, I played with her, fed her, gave her treats, worked up the trust, was even the first one she allowed to pet her. Then she turned into Daddy's girl. One thing struck me as funny, though. You mentioned that your hubby pets Lucky harder and more rough and mine does the same thing with Ophelia and she loved it! I wonder if ferals in general like being loved a little more rough than hand raised kittens? Mary Anne? Laurie? Anyone know?

I'm sure Lucky will eventually get along with the other pets. Heck, if it took 3 months to get where you are now, with your constant attention and proving yourself to her, you can bet that getting her used to a competing feline (in her eyes) will take a little while.

Don't feel guilty about her being confined to the room. Being in a smaller space is comforting to cats. It's her safe space, and it's all hers. She's comfortable there. Eventually she may wonder what's on the other side of that door (besides another cat and a dog ), but I would bet she's pretty happy with her room right now.
post #207 of 369
Hi guys! In answer to your question about the petting - I don't have a clue, because the last time I was around a hand-raised cat was when I was about six at a friend's house! I only know our ferals. But it does seem they like it a bit rough, when I stop to think about it.

When I pet them, I use my finger tips (with my nails), not my palm. I start at the top of their heads, and run my fingers all the way down the spine to the tail. And I push pretty hard. They buck around and wiggle and walk around and back, and flop on the floor and grab my ankle (I stop then so they don't nip!), and then they'll get back up and walk around again- it's really quite funny. But when they rub up and kind of turn their butts toward us, we pet the top of their head and backs. Each time they come back at me, I pet them again. When they push their heads at our hands, (instead of standing with their backs or side to us), we hold our hands like we're making a sideways "C" in sign language, and they'll push their heads into it, and we push our thumb and forefinger really hard on their cheeks. I'll also use the sides of my fingers to run them along their cheeks, and I do push hard - because they do.

We also use a dog brush on them - not actually a curry comb, but one that has lots and lots of little teeny wire bristles to catch hair. This is their favorite brush, and we push it pretty hard against their cheeks and under their neck. So, I guess they do like it pretty rough! (I love using this brush, because it catches so much hair. We brush them at least once a day, and often more because they love it so much!!!) It took a few tries to get them used to the brush. They kept trying to bite it at first. Now when we get the brush out, they come running.

But, all in all, I'd say it seems that they all love being loved - but that, for some reason, they can only take so much of it, and sometimes not a lot at all. Spooky is the only one that will hop up next to us, sit with us and want pets. The boys only want pets when they're walking around, pushing against our legs, ankles and/or the corner of the chair or couch.

They will lie down next to us, but if I reach over to pet them, then they'll get up and leave. If I don't pet them, they'll stay for a long time.

Shelly does sit on Gary's lap, and spend quite a bit of time there - but only if Gary isn't touching him or if he's brushing him - not if he's petting him.

Weird, hunh?

post #208 of 369
All my cats enjoy good hard rubs. It amazes me sometimes but they lean into it and just shake and lick my hand. I have one Ripster who loves head rubs. As hard as we rub her, she demands more, and if we stop quickly she gets highly annoyed. You want to be careful and not overstimulate them and get bit, but for the most part all of my cats love the good hard rubs at least once a day.
post #209 of 369
Yep! That's definitely what Lucky likes. She does the same thing, pushing her nose into our hands like that. We hold them in the "c" shape too, but more like a "u" and she'll go right up and push through. It's funny, I just read in another section about cats putting their butts in your face as they walk around your head - guess what??? Lucky does that with us, too. I couldn't believe that was a good thing. I'm telling you...she's a little lover when she wants to be. I can't imagine how it's going to be when she gets run of the house, though. Now she's starting to really "investigate" the room. She'll try pulling books off the shelf part of the headboard. I'm pretty sure the room is "cat proofed" but you know how that goes, it's possible to miss something. With how worried I always am about her...

She'll come over to get petted, and lay right next to you - sometimes fairly close to the edge of the bed and then she'll stretch way out and almost falls off. Lately, I've caught her before she had the chance to fall and it doesn't even phase her. However, it does seem like she knows I'm trying to keep her safe - I don't know how I know this, but if you could see the turnaround between us lately - you'd understand. I'm spending more time in there verses my better half - and although she still cherishes him, I think I'm not too far behind.

I know, you've all heard it before, but I am just bursting with love for that little one!!! My other girls, too, but this is just so...different somehow. Maybe because we've had to work kind of hard to earn that love from her???

Also, she's starting to stay by the door when the other girls go by. If they just pass by, she just watches - no hissing or growling. If they stop to peer in, she's under the bed (watching) or she'll hold her ground and growl and hiss for a bit. We haven't had another episode of that "spit, crackle sound" thank goodness. That was truly creepy.

That's it for now.
post #210 of 369
Thread Starter 
Sandi...haven't been around for a few days, but have been thinking about you and little Lucky! Glad to hear things are still going well!
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