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Concerned about one of the strays.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
All the strays I feed are related (brothers and sisters), but one of the males has started acting differently within the past 7 months, and i'm worried.

List of issues.

problem 1. The male is 2 years old, and used to have a vigorous appetite, he would eat anything, and quickly, just like the rest of the cats. Now I have noticed his appetite has diminished quite a bit. I can hardly get him to eat canned food anymore, and he used to love eating canned food, I havent changed brands either. He eats dry kibble, but only eats for about 3 minutes, and then stops. The problem with this is he usually comes to eat once a day, so he doesnt eat much at all. Sometimes he will go a day without even coming by! Nobody else on the block feeds cats, if they did then I could understand why he wont eat as much.

Even during the harsh winter when they need to gain extra weight, his appetite never increased, he's not starving but he isnt as fat as his brother who is the same age as him.

When I come outside with the bag of cat food, all the cats run over to me meowing and following me to be fed, but he just sits in the yard showing no interest in eating, as a stray he should be trying to eat everything he can get hold of, if it wasnt for me I think he would starve to death. At feeding time he is the LAST to come over and eat, he waits for the others to finish eating. If they take too long he will leave without eating at all, that worries me.

His brothers and sisters will down 2 cans of cat food each if I let them, and finish it off in about 5 minutes, if they all have that big of an appetite and he wont even eat the one can of canned food, something must be wrong.

problem 2. The cat always seems tired. When he's in the yard and not eating, he will just sit on the ground and close his eyes trying to sleep, it can be raining and he'll just sit there and do nothing, he wont try to hide or get out of the rain. Arent they supposed to be cautious and alert?

He wont play anymore, and he used to be very active at a year old. All his siblings play and run around chasing the birds.(including his brother the same age as him) But now this guy walks slowly as if he is elderly, and i've never seen him hop a fence once, it's like he has arthritis or something. All his siblings hop fences,play, and run around the yard playing, but not him. (he's only 2 years old he should be full of energy!)

He really enjoys being brushed and petted, he will close his eyes and try to sleep, when I stop he will meow for more.

problem 3. When I brush him alot of fur comes off of him, and he has white dandruff all over, it's almost like he doesnt groom himself well. I have seen live fleas on him too.

problem 4. Sometimes, he will sit down, put his head to the ground, and start to make this coughing action, it sounds like a squeaky toy almost. The episode will last for about a minute, no hairballs come up, and he doesnt vomit, it's like a dry cough. That worries me, could it be bronchitis or asthma?

He has never seen a vet before and hopefully will be neutered soon, but I cant afford to get him checked out and examined, so thats why I have so many questions about his behavior.
post #2 of 9
Everything you have described sounds like he is ill. A 2 year old unneutered outside male could have picked up just about anything while he is out mating. I'm sorry I don't have any other advice, but if you want to help this boy, somehow you need to get him to a vet.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Someone on this site is helping me financially so they can get fixed, and I think the essential vaccinations, but as far as I know, there is no money for a vet exam. Not to mention there are 2 others who still need to be fixed.

If anyone can guess whats going on, like an illness, that would help for now so I can try and prevent anything getting worse. I try and give the cat extra treats away from the others, and stay there until he eats the treat. There's always enough dry food, I just cant force him to eat more you know.
post #4 of 9
I hate to speculate but I will share my gut feeling about him. There is a strong chance that he has FeLV. When it hit my feral colony about 4 years ago, the sick ones acted just as you described. The best thing you can do is trap him for neutering sooner rather than later, and ask for a FIV/FeLV Elisa test. If he is a carrier, he is only going to spread it to the other cats in the colony.

I truly hope I'm wrong on this, but that is what my gut feels. Be prepared to make a decision about him before you trap him. Once neutered, he will no longer mate, but he is still a feral male and may still get in fights to defend his territory. If you leave him in his environment, he can still spread the disease to other cats.

The president of a no-kill humane society who had a weak spot for feral cats gave me this advice when I went thru this problem in my colony: your choice for feral cats sometimes comes down to a choice between an individual cat or the cat nation. She opted to save the cat nation and was devastated any time she found one with FeLV. She would return FIV cats that were otherwise healthy because that disease is not so devastating. Ideally there would be resources to take these cats to in order to separate them from other cats but unfortunately there aren't many out there, and the few that are out there really don't deal with ferals.

My heart is with you on this one.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
2 of his siblings (sisters) were spayed and vaccinated for everything, BUT they were not tested (no blood tests) as far as I know.

I hate to speculate but I will share my gut feeling about him. There is a strong chance that he has FeLV.

Oh god I hope not, this guy has had a pretty tough life and I wish he could have some good luck you know.

He's not feral, stray and feral are 2 different things. he is vocal and I can pet him, he has never hissed or bit me once, not even a scratch.

I doubt he has it though, because he mated with a female cat a few times, and that female cat was adopted 2 weeks later and tested for any diseases, and all came back negative. So if she is fine than that should mean he isnt infected otherwise she would have caught it. Right?

I actually caught him last year in hopes of getting him fixed, and he escaped into my garage and almost died after he got trapped under boxes for 8 hours, thus he never got fixed. It was very traumatic for me and him.

BUT, Now he isnt afraid of me anymore and lets me brush and pet him. He actually doesnt fight with any other cat, he's gentle. If he got any scratches it's from his brothers or sisters swatting him at feeding time, which is rare he avoids conflict by waiting till they finish eating.

So, I think mabye it's another hidden problem. Cats in my neighborhood have been diagnosed with feline asthma (including one I adopted), that could explain that coughing he has.
post #6 of 9
Originally Posted by keith p View Post
So, I think mabye it's another hidden problem. Cats in my neighborhood have been diagnosed with feline asthma (including one I adopted), that could explain that coughing he has.
I truly hope you are right!!
post #7 of 9
i'm the one thats been helping keith and unfortunately there is no money
for testing.

and actually at the moment no money for S/N either.

however, keith i am thinking if you make it a point to give this cat some
of the meds i gave to you for the other cat also that maybe that might help ?

so twice a day every day if you can medicate both cats.

good luck and let us know if it looks like the meds are helping although
not sure what else can be done ?

if you start to see that it is helping them, then i can drop off some more meds.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
The meds worked for the one with the infection, it's almost gone.

But the other one (the one this thread is about) wont eat canned food, and thats what I put the meds in. So i'm unable to give it any medication.

Seriously though I think this one needs to have a checkup sometime to make sure it's not positive for any bad diseases or dying, if it acted like the rest of the cats I wouldnt be worrying then.

As you can read there is a chance it COULD be something serious that could infect all the other cats.

It would be a shame if it was aids or leukemia and left untreated to spread around here to other peoples cats. if it's positive that is.

Mabye around june you think there would be money?
post #9 of 9
things are not looking good money wise. lots of medical bills and saving
money to move since the house i am living in is being sold this summer.

audrey aka paris cost alot to get her ready medically to be adopted and
although i would love to be able to do that for another i just can't.

and recently i have had some cats show up here on this property that
need to be fixed and which i want to make sure i do before i move.

and in order for your cat to be checked out he would have to be knocked
out since only you can touch him. so that is an extra cost which i don't
think is cheap.

even if we put off the S/N that $35 is not going to cover a vet visit,
blood work and knocking the cat out to get the blood.

i don't know what to say or do. i can only think that maybe you could
put some meds inside of some tunafish and maybe the cat would eat that ?

maybe you can buy a few cans of tuna in OIL to attract that cat to eat ?

other than that i think all we can do is pray that maybe this is some sort
of URI and pray he will eat some of the food with the meds in it.

go buy some of the tuna in oil and see if he will eat that with the meds.
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