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Our neighbors' bony cat...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Okay, we don't have enough work to do with our own four cats, so we've been watching this other neighborhood cat. She's been around for years, and has always been "sorta" friendly; if she was in the yard, she'd let us skritch her, she'd talk nicely but just slowly walk away. She always looked slim but health in the past.

Recently, though, she's been hanging around our yard more. She's VERY bony (her hips, shoulders, etc, stick out scarily), but seems to move around just fine. Here's a picture:

We've been giving her crunchies (sometimes dry, sometimes with a little water) and she's been happily eating them, though not exactly acting starved or anything. I went over to try to talk to the owners, and found that they're leaving plenty of food out for her. They didn't answer the door, though.

I've noticed that when she eats the crunchies, she sometimes throws up a little of what she just ate, and also throws up a little bit of sticky, phlem-like stuff - then she immediately re-eats what she threw up. She doesn't do this too often, tho, and otherwise we don't see anything odd about her other than the extreme thin-ness.

My wife spoke with the owners recently, they commented that "she didn't seem too well", and were thinking of taking her in to be put down, but weren't sure she was that ill. We're not really sure either.

Someone on my Flickr picture wondered if she had worms, is that a reasonable possibility?? She's never left droppings where we could collect them, and I'm a little nervous about taking her to our vet when she's owned by someone else, besides which we've had enough cat expenses lately, I'm not crazy about a bunch more (I'm sure this will run $200 or so).

What do you all here think about this situation?? Any advise or thoughts on what we should do or think about this babe?? She's very sweet. Doesn't really like to be petted too much, but I found that after we fed her and petted her a little, she settled on the lawn nearby and just hung out. I think the owners aren't much into giving attention to their cats (who are entirely outdoor cats).

(Gods, I'm SORRY for being so long-winded!! I didn't know I was babbling so much)
post #2 of 7
She looks old, could she maybe just be an old cat and kind of fraile?
post #3 of 7
I'd ask the neighbours if she's seen a vet lately. Older cats can develop many problems, whether thyroid ones, or ones that don't allow them to absorb food properly (happened to one of mine) or others. If they don't care enough to bother, you should ask to adopt her or something and take her yourself. She really is pretty thin.
post #4 of 7
A friend has a cat who's about 20 and is all skin and bones, eats normally but is just skin and bones. I was shocked when I saw her but if she's old, she could just be getting frail. Think about 90 year old people, they get frail and are just fine health-wise.

Plus, as hard as it is, she does have an owner, and with four cats of your own, as long as the cat is being fed by her owners, there's nothing you can really do. Taking on another cat, esp if she's old and owned... is it worth fighting with the neighbors over? I'm all for helping a cat in need, but if she's not being outright neglected... I'd let the owners decide their plan of action.
post #5 of 7
Your neighbours cats sounds just like my Moms cat. She was a stray that was caught in a live trap years ago. She's always been tiny. We all assumed (and until now it probably was) it was just because she didn't have a very good start in life. Although she was very small she wasn't boney and she looked healthy. Then the last few months she started to change. She ate like a hog, but was getting boney. It took a couple trips to the vet to really pin point what was wrong. She has a thyroid problem and also had some liver damage. She'll always have to take the thyroid medication, but they think the liver is reparable and the meds for that are only temporary. The vet visit for this diagnosis was exactly $200.00 so you're right to figure it will be around that same amount.
Vomiting after eating can also be a sign of worms... According to my vet you will only actually see them if they are really bad but that doesn't mean they aren't there. The only way to know for sure if they aren't visible is to test her stool. It can be a chain reaction... because she's an outdoor cat she probably has fleas and fleas can cause worms... I'm not sure that they could be bad enough that they would make her that thin and not be visible? Does anyone else know??? If it is just worms it's only a matter of a pill that cost only a few dollars. There's several different types of worms too. I get the names of them confused... one type causes the belly to look bloated in extreme cases. Another will look like rice stuck to the putties butt... Her belly is obviously not bloated, do you see anything like rice stuck to her bum?
The owners don't seem too concerned? If they're thinking about putting the putty to sleep maybe they would let you have her instead? She's lucky to have you and your wife to look out after her! You're doing a good thing by looking into this for her when her owners can't be bothered Maybe you could educate the owners regarding what you find out here and anywhere else you're looking? Knowledge is power. Maybe if they know there could be more than just old age and that she might not necessarily appear sick they'll take her to the vet themselves?
post #6 of 7
You could just continue to give her extra food. Maybe give her some canned now and then for an extra treat. If your worried about worms, you could sneak in a crushed worm pill in her canned food.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Oh, that's a good idea!! I'll just sneak a worm pill into some soft food for her... otherwise, I'll just let her continue on her way. I see two or three comments about thyroid issues, but I can't do anything about that without actually trying to adopt her, which isn't a good idea in this situation (the owners aren't really very approachable at the best of times, and they *are* aware of her condition, whether or not they're doing anything about it).

Thanks for all the advise, it really helps me clarify my options!!!
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