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Lethargic Feral Cat-just neutered

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi~

I was finally able to trap my little feral friend and yesterday had him neutered. He also had treatments for fleas, earmites and worms; vaccinations including rabies and a antibotic shot. I have no idea his age but he is at least two years old so he's very BIG and very male.

I put him in a spare bedroom to rest for a day or two and he is really lethargic and not eating or drinking. I did call the vets but everyone is still in surgery today so I came here.

Is this normal? I have two male cats but they were fixed at like five months of age and bounced back very quickly...so do I need to worry about this fella or is he just taking awhile to bounce back as he really has gone through a lot?

Any suggestions, insights and advice is deeply appreciated...THANK YOU

Cyndi~
post #2 of 20
No--it's not normal; most males are tired and sore afterwards, but refusing to eat and drink seems a bit much. He has easy access to his water dish? It could be that he feels nauseated and doesn't want to drink anything; but if he doesn't lap up a few mouthfuls before tomorrow I'd take him to the vet. Keep a close eye on him in any case.
post #3 of 20
Our vet actually recommends that we not leave food or water down for 12 hours after the spay or neuter surgeries - especially if it went along with deworming and antibiotics.

I would keep trying to reach the vet as it may be a reaction to the anesthesia. But the antibiotics and left-over sensations from the anesthesia can make them feel sick and not want to eat or drink, and the de-worming meds are a poison, after all, so kitty may not feel like eating for a bit.

However - that said - since it's been 24 hours, what I would do is throw some chicken into a pot of boiling water with nothing else. See if he'll drink the cooled-down chicken water. If he does, and he keeps it down, see if he'll eat a little bit of shredded chicken. If you have to run out to the grocery store to get some chicken to boil, consider purchasing some Gerber's chicken baby food. Mix a tablespoon of it with a teaspoon of warm water.

But I would make sure it's just the after-effects of the surgery and perhaps the antibiotics and not a reaction to the anesthesia.

Laurie
post #4 of 20
You could also mix canned cat food with warm water, and mixing it, making it into a type of cat shake. The warm water makes it smell more and it's easy to eat since the cat basically wont need to chew.
post #5 of 20
I say it could be normal. He's a feral, not in great conditioning for surgery also some cats simply DO NOT do well with anesthesia. My Momo didn't
and it was terrible to see her stuggle after the last time she had to go under.

She didn't eat for days.


So yeah it can happen.

I would say - WARM AD Hill's Science diet cat food - a prescription food high calorie v. smelly and Mousse like - soft and delicate. Get a can from the vet and try it.

You heat in microwave a tiny bit before feeding... Also BABYFOOD - any of the meat varietys but MAKE SURE they have NO GARLIC or ONION poweder added to the ingredients. Babyfood no. 2 Gerbers is what I use - the secret food - has good water and great taste if you are kitty. Senior kitty milk is good too - there are 2 brands you can buy at petsmart or pet co or get from vet. Like etrax nutritional shake for humans. Cats ADORE it - even the cat that doesn't drink milk.

Lastly the feral is scared, stressed and in pain he/she may not eat for a day to 2 days under those circumstances. Give the boy time.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by opilot View Post
Lastly the feral is scared, stressed and in pain he/she may not eat for a day to 2 days under those circumstances. Give the boy time.
If the boy is truly feral, he may be completely stressed by his environment and may not want to eat. I agree with the other posters. Find a good stinky food to entice him to eat and warm it up just a touch to bring out the aroma further. The stinkiest food that I've come across is canned Wellness: sardines, shrimp and cod flavor. I open up a can of that and the cats come running from all over the household.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all your great suggestions. I did give him some tuna (it was the smellest thing I had since he would touch the boiled chicken and the chicken broth someone has sweetly suggested) and he did eat a little of that last night and that made me feel better. This morning he has eaten and entire can of wet cat food and is moving around a lot more and seems more "alert" andas he did hiss at me in his very sweet way... so that is a great sign.

I did speak to the vet and just to pass this along he said that it is normal for a feral cat to take a while to come out of it all basically because of the trauma involved with being trapped and all that. He is out of his element and such...anesthesia, pain, age, and then add the trauma on top of that will take some time to get back to normal and once he is released he will probably really have his appetite back...

Okay so here is my next dilemma...he doesn't live in a colony...he is a loner but he will let me pet him. I don't know his history and if he has been in a home or not but I know he has been around my house for at least a year....

What's honestly in his best interest...do I try to tame him so he will come in if it's cold and storming be like an indoor/outdoor cat or do I just let him go back to being in the "wild"...
post #8 of 20
Kudos if you want to keep him!

Here's the skinny: as a former feral, he may require indoor/outdoor access. However, he may not understand indoor/outdoor for a bit.

If you feed him inside YOUR house and keep him inside for about 10 days, then put food out on the porch/sheltered area for him with your scented T shirt, and MAKE SURE he knows it is there, he may hang around.

He may have been pre owned - it is some what difficult to pet a truely feral cat. He may be a stray reverted to being feral to survive.

In this case, as he gets familiar with the house noises, smells and you, he may quickly calm down and get more relaxed. If you live in colder area, consider keeping him in as long as you can do so feasibly, and feed him, bribe him with the best, stinkiest, chociest foods! This establishes a connection in the cat's mind with you = good food!

If he insists on being outside only, feed in a sheltered spot or make a sheltered feeder - I can tell you how. Also construct a cheap and
warm shelter using rubbermaid container and straw. I can also tell you
how to do that, LOL!

If you need medical care for the baby - it will be the onetime spay/neuter rabies distemper variety.
Unless he lets you handle him eventually when you can deworm etc again.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all your suggestions opilot. I do have a shelter for him because I have been feeding him for about a year now (it might have been you that gave me the links on how to construct one...I live on the Oregon Coast and while we don't get many below freezing temps it is very wet and this is our coldest time of year...we had snow twice this week alone so I'm really wanting him to be extra warm...

If I can tame him I would love to keep him but I don't want to do it if it's not in his best interest or would be too stressful for him. But I think I will try and will keep in in for the next ten days like you suggested and just do it that way. I do fostering for our local shelter so I have a spare room I use as a nursery that is perfect for him right now it's warm and quiet.

THANK YOU sincerely for your time and wonderful suggestions--it's sooo appreciated as this is my first feral fella....
post #10 of 20
I've been working on my Lucky for a few years now. He's gotten to the point that he prefers the inside over the outside, but I allow him to have both places.

When I moved last year, I trapped all the feral cats and brought them with me. I gave them the sun room for a month before I allowed them back outside. Lucky didn't come inside very much at the old house and since I had him inside for that month, he ventures in all the time now.

As long as he feels safe in your house, you can convert him to indoor/outdoors. Give him his space, don't force yourself on him, feed him good food the same times each day, and watch what happens. You may not entirely convert him, but you will go miles with him.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
.

As long as he feels safe in your house, you can convert him to indoor/outdoors. Give him his space, don't force yourself on him, feed him good food the same times each day, and watch what happens. You may not entirely convert him, but you will go miles with him.

You have inspired me Momofmany as has Opilot...thank you. I will follow your sound advice. It sounds like you have done so much for ferals...I sooo appreciate your support.

Cyndi~
post #12 of 20
You can socialize him but it will take time. You need to move by his time schedule and not expect him to conform to yours. He will need a good secure place to hide in the room you have confined him in. He should have no visitors at first except for you, and only visit him on routine schedule. Expect him to hide, to hiss, and act very grumpy at first. Don't expect him to engage in playing with toys, instead use natural objects you find outside. Long blades of grass (when available) pine cones, small pebbles but big enough he can't swallow them. Be sure and give him a larger than normal litter pan (he needs two) and use plain clay litter which is more like the sand he is used to. Scented litter will drive him away. Don't make direct eye contact with him if you can help it and if he does come out of hiding, just ignore him. It takes the pressure off.

Drop me a PM if you need help. I live in the Willamette Valley and have been socializing ferals a very long time.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy View Post
You can socialize him but it will take time. You need to move by his time schedule and not expect him to conform to yours. He will need a good secure place to hide in the room you have confined him in. He should have no visitors at first except for you, and only visit him on routine schedule. Expect him to hide, to hiss, and act very grumpy at first. Don't expect him to engage in playing with toys, instead use natural objects you find outside. Long blades of grass (when available) pine cones, small pebbles but big enough he can't swallow them. Be sure and give him a larger than normal litter pan (he needs two) and use plain clay litter which is more like the sand he is used to. Scented litter will drive him away. Don't make direct eye contact with him if you can help it and if he does come out of hiding, just ignore him. It takes the pressure off.

Drop me a PM if you need help. I live in the Willamette Valley and have been socializing ferals a very long time.

These guidelines are so very helpful too, Hissy, a million thank yous and it's so amazing to have such support from you all PLUS the valuable insights from people who KNOW what they are talking about through real experience.

I have a great big square coffee table in that spare room with a quilt over it and it's up against the farthest wall so he has a tent he can hide in. I also have a large carrier with no door on it with towels in it for another hiding place but he seems to like the table tent right now. I have a large cardboard box that is so big it acts like a window seat and he was actually sitting up there a while ago as I saw him from outside.

LOVED your idea of using natural "toys"...I have plenty of pinecones and grass and pebbles and such...so will go hunting for some for him today!

Will definately remember the eye contact as I know if I looked at him while he was eating off my porch he fled...it took me a while to realize that it was me looking at him that did it. And now with him being in such a new place it's even more important I remember that.

And will remember this is about his timing and not mine!!

Thanks for the invite to pm you if I need help and I will certainly take you up on that offer!

Fondly,

Cyndi~
post #14 of 20
Oh this is so exciting!

You've already gotten great advice from people who know what they're talking about, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to add a few things.

All you are doing when "socializing" ferals is earning their trust. That is what it boils down to. The very first lessons he needs to learn are that you aren't dangerous to him, and you don't want anything from him.

Spending as much time as you can in his room - but doing other things - really helps him learn this lesson. Iron, sit on the floor and read out loud, work on a laptop, sing, fold laundry - whatever you can do, just be in there. If it's a guest bedroom, consider sleeping in there one night. Then he can check you out at your most vulnerable.

If he ventures out, don't look at him - look at him on the forehead or over the top of his head - and slowly close your eyes. "Looking" at him with your eyes closed sends a big message. Also, getting down at his level can also help. And if you're sitting on the floor reading and he ventures out? Ignore him. The more you can ignore him, the better, and the safer he'll feel. If he comes over to sniff you, you can set a hand out for him to check out. Obviously slow movements are best. Never offer a hand palm up - this is threatening. Do it palm down.

But to put out food, clean litter boxes, put out treats - the closer you can keep to a schedule, the better.

One of the ideas is a tip from hissy to begin with. Ferals seem to LOVE harp music! If you can find some harp music, if you've got a way to play it in his room very softly for a few hours at a time, that may help your baby feel more comfortable.

Spraying Feliway in his room may help.

Food is your friend! Get a couple of t-shirts good and sweaty. Put one in his hidey place. Put treats out on the other morning and evening (a schedule is best). You don't need to hang out for him to eat them. Baby food (like Gerber chicken) is a wonderful treat that ferals cannot resist. This will help him come to associate you with (in his mind) WONDERFUL things.

....and just like looking at him used to make him flee, you'll find that if he even comes out when you're around, movement can send him flying back for cover, but being stationary may encourage him to continue to check you out. Try not to cough or sneeze though!

Two weeks is VERY little time with an older feral. I'd just see how it's going and decide where to go from there.



Laurie
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Oh this is so exciting!

You've already gotten great advice from people who know what they're talking about, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to add a few things.

All you are doing when "socializing" ferals is earning their trust. That is what it boils down to. The very first lessons he needs to learn are that you aren't dangerous to him, and you don't want anything from him.

Spending as much time as you can in his room - but doing other things - really helps him learn this lesson. Iron, sit on the floor and read out loud, work on a laptop, sing, fold laundry - whatever you can do, just be in there. If it's a guest bedroom, consider sleeping in there one night. Then he can check you out at your most vulnerable.

If he ventures out, don't look at him - look at him on the forehead or over the top of his head - and slowly close your eyes. "Looking" at him with your eyes closed sends a big message. Also, getting down at his level can also help. And if you're sitting on the floor reading and he ventures out? Ignore him. The more you can ignore him, the better, and the safer he'll feel. If he comes over to sniff you, you can set a hand out for him to check out. Obviously slow movements are best. Never offer a hand palm up - this is threatening. Do it palm down.

But to put out food, clean litter boxes, put out treats - the closer you can keep to a schedule, the better.

One of the ideas is a tip from hissy to begin with. Ferals seem to LOVE harp music! If you can find some harp music, if you've got a way to play it in his room very softly for a few hours at a time, that may help your baby feel more comfortable.

Spraying Feliway in his room may help.

Food is your friend! Get a couple of t-shirts good and sweaty. Put one in his hidey place. Put treats out on the other morning and evening (a schedule is best). You don't need to hang out for him to eat them. Baby food (like Gerber chicken) is a wonderful treat that ferals cannot resist. This will help him come to associate you with (in his mind) WONDERFUL things.

....and just like looking at him used to make him flee, you'll find that if he even comes out when you're around, movement can send him flying back for cover, but being stationary may encourage him to continue to check you out. Try not to cough or sneeze though!

Two weeks is VERY little time with an older feral. I'd just see how it's going and decide where to go from there.



Laurie
Hi Laurie~

More great tips...THANK YOU! I really like your suggestion of giving it two weeks and then go from there...small goals and baby steps...

I did spend time in his room today and read some of my book and read aloud and have some friends tracking down some harp music for me. I do have some soft violin music I will play until I find harps...

Everything you said was sound and I have truly taken all this to heart...I can't put into words exactly how much all these has meant...I feel so confident that I have a little knowledge in how to bond with this darling boy and I just didn't want him to go back to a cold, wet, lonely life...and you all have helped me to try something new for him...

MOST Sincerely....

Cyndi~
post #16 of 20
Cyndi - you'll just have to see what happens. But there are plenty of ferals that make the adjustment to being companions. But forget the other sites that say it can't be done after 12 weeks! So many people have proven over and over again that that's just plain wrong.

The major difference is the willingness and patience of the person working with the feral.

The most important thing is that you're concerned with his happiness. That is the main ingredient.

And I will tell you - there is just nothing like that bond with a former feral.

However - if it turns out that he's miserable (and scared is NOT necessarily miserable!), I'm confident you'll do what's best for him.

But please feel free to ask any questions - and, as you can tell, we love news and updates.

Laurie
post #17 of 20
I adopted a feral cat and she became a wonderful indoor only pet. She may have had contact with people as a kitten or mabye was fed by other people as a feral, i'm not sure, but in 2 months of me meeting her outside (never in my house) she eventually came up to me to be petted and play with my shoelace.

We adopted her the 3rd month and the vet thought we were joking she was feral because she didnt let out a hiss or growl while getting her shots and first examination! She needed no sedation and knew after the visit was done to go back in the cat carrier. She was pretty special in our eyes.

We had her in a large dog crate inside the day she got home from surgery, to make sure she would learn to use the litterbox. She used it the very first day and wasnt afraid at all. So she didnt have to stay in the crate she had the run of the house and the first thing she did was sleep on our couch all day, she was tired!

There is lots of hope!

I noticed even though she lived outside she still liked catnip, and those tiny mouse toys. Offcourse her favorite to this day is a shoelace and she loves chicken and shrimp!
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by keith p View Post

There is lots of hope!

Hi Keith~

I adored your story about your feral little girl. My draw was honestly dropping...especially when the vet could give her her shots etc...oh my gosh you have given me tons of hope. I'm expecting such results with mine as I am going to let him take the lead but it gives me hope that there is room from bonding and trust to take place and I must tell you that your story really did touch me....wow...

Fondly,

Cyndi~
post #19 of 20
Hey Cyndi, let me give you another boost.

My first 3 feral cats were 2 years old when I adopted them. They lived outside of my SIL's house, born to a feral mom. She broke the ice by feeding them but when she moved, I couldn't let them be left behind so I caught all 3 and moved them into my home. They sound like they are about the same place as yours is now - used to a caretaker so not a "true" feral, but at the same time never stepped foot inside a home in their lives. I kept them until they crossed and all 3 used to sleep in bed with me at night. Age becomes less important if you have already built up some trust with you by caring for them.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Hey Cyndi, let me give you another boost.

My first 3 feral cats were 2 years old when I adopted them. They lived outside of my SIL's house, born to a feral mom. She broke the ice by feeding them but when she moved, I couldn't let them be left behind so I caught all 3 and moved them into my home. They sound like they are about the same place as yours is now - used to a caretaker so not a "true" feral, but at the same time never stepped foot inside a home in their lives. I kept them until they crossed and all 3 used to sleep in bed with me at night. Age becomes less important if you have already built up some trust with you by caring for them.
I loved the boost...again, I'm amazed at how far ferals have come with the caring and loving members here.

I did a lot searching the net for info and am sure you all have heard the nay-sayers...you can't tame after age three months, or three years and so on...very different ranges depending on who is saying it...even the gal at the vet's office told me...not all cats can become loving pets after they mature at around 8-9 months of age so please let him loose when he heals..that's why I was really torn at what to do but like I said before....the real proof seems to be in REAL people who have REAL experience...and for that I will be forever grateful for all of you who have shared your stories with me...seriously, you all have helped this little fella of mine who I might have just let loose this morning and would be cold and wet right now...
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