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A Month On the Streets

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
After a hellish month of worrying and searching and phone calls, my youngest cat, Legolas, was finally found yesterday. As far as I can tell, he's been fending for himself on the streets for the past month.

He's lost weight and seems utterly exhausted, but otherwise unharmed. Luckily, he had a an extra pound on him when he went missing, otherwise he may have starved to death.

I can't afford to take him to the vet for at least two weeks and I want to know if there's anything I should look for that could prompt an emergency visit.

His coat is still thick, no bald spot or wounds anywhere to suggest he has been in any fights. He seems to have some dandruff/dry skin, but I'm thinking that's from a month of little food and the very cold weather.

Regarding transmittable diseases; I've been in TNR in my neighborhood for years and every cat I've caught has tested negative for FIV and FeLV. Plus, Legolas is fixed and doesn't have any wounds indicative of a fight.

I do live in Chicago and we have had some very cold and icy weather over the past month, but he seems to have feeling in his ear-tips and paw-pads, so I don't think he got any frostbite.

As I said, he is skinny, but he's not emaciated. I can feel his ribs easily, but I can't see them through his fur. He has been sleeping a great deal since he got back. The other cats have been sniffing him and they remember him. My girl cat has been hissing at him, but she's temperamental anyway. He's always been cuddly, but since he came back he's been downright clingy. He cries if I go into the bathroom without him. And if I am sitting down, he insists on being on my lap. He slept on top of me last night (which he almost never does). He ate a whole can of Fancy Feast yesterday, as well as most of his cup of dry food (and half of his sister's). He drank pretty much an entire bowl of water. Today he had another can of FF and ate half of his dry food and got a few little tidbits from my roast beef lunch and my girlfriend's chicken. He has played a little bit with his tinsel ball, playing fetch. But I can tell he's still tired. Normally, he would bring the ball back like twenty times, today he only brought it back three times before he got tired of the game and went back to sleep.

I'm assuming this fatigue is normally for a strictly-indoors cat after being lost outside for a month in a Chicago winter. But is there anything I should be looking out for?


post #2 of 9
I'm so happy that your sweet kitty found you again! What a wonderful way to start the new year!

Watch his water consumption and his elimination patterns. If it looks like he's drinking a lot and peeing a lot, I would recommend a vet visit immediately. Unfortunately, outside kitties can come in contact with antifreeze, which can quickly cause renal failure. Antifreeze seems to be very tasty to animals, and few can resist drinking it when they find it. I would have kept him quarantined from your other cats, in case he had been exposed to viruses, bacteria or parasites. It still might not be a bad idea. Check him over for fleas...treat if necessary. That's all I can think of right now. I'm sure others will come up with other suggestions.

Cogratulations on finding your boy! I'm sure you're both very happy to be reunited!
post #3 of 9
What a wonderful, wonderful thing to have your kitty back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In Chicago in the Winter, I doubt your kitty has fleas - but it is a good idea to check. If he does, check back in here and we can make recommendations about what to do without a trip to the vet.

If he's been surviving on garbage or had any mice, he very likely has internal parasites - round worm or tape worm. Can you get a fecal sample to the vet? They can check it and give you the proper meds for it, and it shouldn't cost much. Unfortunately, over-the-counter meds sold at supermarkets and pet stores do NOT work.

But if his eyes aren't runny and he's not couging or sneezing, I shouldn't think he's got an upper respiratory - which would be a concern with a kitty outside. If he managed to avoid that, then he's probably in good shape (other than likely internal parasites).

Just don't let him gorge - and let him drink as much as he likes. To help him feel better, you might want to consider boiling some chicken in just water. Feed him the cooled-down chicken water and some shredded chicken as a special treat for the next few days. It will help him gain his strength. Other than that - just let him rest and give him LOADS of love because you missed each other so much!

post #4 of 9
I am so glad that your Kitty is back home!!
post #5 of 9
I"m so glad to hear that Legolas is back home! Wishing him the best with recovery and health!
post #6 of 9
Congrats on Legolas coming home!
post #7 of 9
Isn't it great to have received the gift of Legolas return just in time for the new year. Give him a great big hug and whisper sweet nothin's in his ear.

He is being clingy because he needs to feel secure again.
post #8 of 9
What a great new year story! I am so happy for you. I agree about checking for internal parasites - they nearly all get worms from being outside for any time. I wouldn't worry too much about him being tired - when Bonaparte arrived at my door in the summer after obviously being on the road a long time, he slept and ate for almost three days. A good treat for building up strength is an egg yolk beaten into goat milk, KMR or even just water. They all love that and it is very nourishing on a stomach that may not be able to deal with too much normal food.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
A friend of mine who;s a vet tech brought me some dewormer the other night and we gave him some. A little loose stool today but I haven't seen any worms.

He's been eating and drinking normally now. No vomiting.

He's still being clingy, even slept under the covers with me last night, which he hasn't done since he was a very small kitten. But he's being more playful and happy. I gave him some cat-sip (milk for cats) last night and he loved it. All of the others cats have said hello to him and groomed him, so I think all of them are glad he's back. Even my diva-girl cat.

I have an appointment with the vet next week and will let everyone know how it goes.

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