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Determining the age and condition of a stray cat - Page 2

post #31 of 58
Oh he is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : He sounds like SUCH a love bug! I am so glad he has a home with you now. WHAT a cutie!

He really should be neutered ASAP or he'll likely begin to spray around your apartment, and you do NOT want that! Here's a link where you can type in your zipcode (upper left) and if there are places near you, it will pull them up. Then you can just call to find out what the requirements are or how much it costs.

If you don't have luck with this one, post here and I'll give you some more links. But please don't put it off - for his sake and yours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so glad he's home - and so happy so quickly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #32 of 58
Thread Starter 
This cat, is awesome. I don't know how long he was living in the wild, but he is sooo friendly. He lets me rub his tummy! and touch his paws! We had loud music cranking from the record player tonight and he just stared at the speakers a little spooked and eventually fell asleep in front of them. He is so content and happy! He's fattening up every day, and his sinus infection is improving every day. He lets me give him his medicine without tooo much of a fight. All I need to know-- how do I get him to scratch his scratching post besides the furniture? And how do I get him to stop kicking his litter all out of his box?
post #33 of 58
Ohhh, he is REALLY cute!! He reminds me of my kitty when I first adopted him, same age/size...except mine still doesn't let me touch his belly- you really got lucky to get such a sweetie! As for the litterbox question, a large covered litterbox works well for us.

BTW, I agree that you should have him neutered ASAP.
post #34 of 58
Either a large covered litter box, or a large plastic storage container that has high sides - some kitties are big kickers. Also, a mat in front of the entrance to the covered box will work. We always took the flaps off the door to the covered litter box - but once he's using it, you can try putting it back on.

As to the scratching - try spraying (if you can afford catnip spray) or rubbing catnip on the post(s)/scratchers. Also, you need to clip his claws. We did it one claw at a time while they were sleeping with a treat immediately put down after the one claw was clipped. Since he lets you touch his paws, he may not freak out - but still best to start one claw at a time and see how it goes. Clip it as close as you can to the "quick" - the dark outline inside the claw. If you accidentally nip the quick, he may cry out, and it'll bleed like heck. It's good to have stiptic powder around just in case.

As to the scratching on the furniture - can you use a little bit of painters tape to hang aluminum foil on the places he's scratching? It doesn't leave "tape glue" behind, and if you leave up the aluminum foil for 3 weeks to a month, that's long enough for him to develop the habit of scratching in the right places. You may want to put the post near where he was scratching, then slowly move it to where you want it. And having more than one scratching option really helps. The more you have around, the less he'll "need" the furniture too. We have mat scratchers, slanted cardboard scratchers, a couple of posts, and a couple of cat trees.

I know funds are tight - but you can build a tree out of wood and carpet remnants.

I'm so glad you rescued him! He sounds like such a love!

post #35 of 58
Thread Starter 
ohhh noooo. i just found a flea on him. any natural remedies? I JUST got back from walmart where i considered getting him a flea collar but i decided not to. maybe i should have. all the pet stores and vets are closed >( maybe the supermarket will have a flea collar. rawrrrrr.
post #36 of 58
Thread Starter 
can i prevent myself from getting them? he's sleptin my bed the past 4 nights.
post #37 of 58
Uh-Oh! I really don't know about fleas...maybe post a new thread in the health section, where more people could help you on that (with a descriptive title ). I hope you can get rid of them easily and I'm sure there are home remedies for that.
post #38 of 58
WARNING: Do NOT put a flea collar on your cat! They can be very dangerous to cats and can kill them.

They do work GREAT in the vacuum cleaner, however. Next time you get the chance, do purchase one, cut it up, and put it in the bag/cylinder of your vacuum. Vacuum every day - it'll pick up the eggs.

The best treatment is Advantage (NOT ADVANTIX) or Frontline from the vet. I don't know how much your vet will charge, but it's just one application dolloped on his back between his shoulder blades. It works REALLY well.

All your bed linens MUST be washed in really hot water with whatever detergent you use. And then just vacuum a lot.

You won't get fleas - but if they're in your bed, you may get flea bites until you get Ed treated, get the floor vacuumed with the flea collar in the bag, and get the linens washed.

Once he's treated with the Fronline or Advantage, if you vacuum every day for a week, you should be good to go. No flea bomb necessary.

If you can't afford the Frontline or Advantage from the vet, purchase Dawn dish soap and a small tub in which to wash kitty. You'll also need a flea comb. Put just a little dawn dish soap in the tub and fill it with lukewarm water. You'll have to get kitty in the tub and keep him there for a few minutes - not always easy to do. But the fleas will climb up his neck onto his head, and you can use the comb to get them off and flush 'em down the toilet. He may need more than one of these baths - and you have to be sure to rinse ALL the dish soap off before you let him out of the bathroom. .....that's why the Frontline or Advantage is just SO MUCH easier!

Good luck,

post #39 of 58
Thread Starter 
I got him Frontline Plus....
and the doc also gave me a pill for him. I forget what it was called. It was $3 though. Since I put the Frontline on him he's scratching and biting himself a lot. I think his fleas are trying to flee....
So as long as I vacuum with a flea collar or some flea powder and wash my sheets/ clothes in hot water, we should be alright? what about the couches and everything else? He has two more months of Frontline meds so he's good for a while. phew. If there are any left over they will die just because they can't live on him as a host, correct???
post #40 of 58
Yup. Since he's going to be an indoor kitty only, you should just need the one month of meds. But because it's safe, it won't hurt to run the course.

This is from this thread in Care and Grooming:

Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
I prefer to stay away from chemicals whenever possible and have found really effective methods to keeping fleas away.
Ever heard of Borax (boric acid)? It's in the laundry aisle, is dirt cheap, pet safe, and kills fleas!
Sprinkle all your carpet and apholstery with the borax, then use a stiff brush to work it into the carpet. Let it sit for a day and then vaccum like you are trying to suck up the carpet. I go over the same area hotel vaccum slowly about 3 times. Repeat in a week. The borax sucks all the moisture out of the flea so it shrivels up and dies.
go to the healthfood store and get pennyroyal oil and you can use it as a spot on, just a few drops. I have yet to have an animal have a reaction to it. It smells great and repels all buggies.
You can also plant pennyroyal around your house to keep house buggies from entering and to keep your yard mosquito free.
So you can either try this method - or get the flea collar and cut it up and put it in your vacuum. Maybe combine both!

And yes - if you're going to try the borax method, I'd wash the sheets the day I put the borax down. Otherwise I'd vacuum with the flea collar in the bag ASAP, then wash the sheets the next day - and vacuum every day (including the furniture) for like a week. Just to make sure. It's really easiest to put all the work in up front so it doesn't keep becoming an issue.

So - otherwise how are things going?

post #41 of 58
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone! I just thought I'd update on Ed since I disappeared for a while. He hasn't been scratching himself since I got him the Advantage. I take it that this means his flea problem is taken care of. I have some pictures I'm going to attach to the end of this. I think he's grown and filled out a little more. I got him a red collar with a bell on it but he hated the bell and I felt like it was mean so I cut it off. He doesn't need a bell because he doesn't even like to go into hiding so he's always easy to find. He's recently started to play a lot more and I think it is because he's more comfortable here and I introduced catnip into his life. He likes to charge from one end of the house to the other, he plays with random things that might have fallen onto the floor like bottle caps and paper. He uses is scratching post. He still uses the couch sometimes, but the couches are from a thrift store anyway. He loves music! We like to play old records on a record player we have and he sits in front of the speakers and just stares at them. When my roommate plays guitar he comes and sits in front of the amplifier and falls asleep. He also watches TV sometimes. He's so lovable and quirky and we love him! He often gets his claws stuck to things and doesn't seem to know how to get unattached. Is this normal with older kittens? He sometimes pulls his scratching post down on top of him or gets caught in weird positions with his feet as if he were playing twister.
ALSO, I'm very concerned because after his Amoxicillin he wasn't 100% non-sniffly so I got him a step up of antibiotics that began with a C and it was a white liquid... That's finished and he's still not better. He's better while he's on the antibiotics but not COMPLETELY better. Now that he's been off the antibiotics he's getting a little worse. He has discharge from one eye and he's still sneezing and he breathes really loud at times. I'm going to make a second vet's appointment but I'm scared. My mom said something about there's a virus where cats are just sniffly all the time and meds are expensive? I don't know. His ears are also really dirty! So maybe I'll ask the vet if she can clean them.

Well besides his sinus infections and his dirty ears he's full of good things and everyone who meets him seems to like him! He seems to like to be around people too. He follows me around sometimes, begs for treats when I'm in the kitchen (I always gave him chicken with his medicine so now he's spoiled). He doesn't like treats from the grocery store. I got 3 different types and he will NOT eat them He's picky.

He also meows back when you meow at him. His meow is high pitched and cute. He also likes to watch squirrels out our kitchen window.

And those are some fun facts about Ed. haha. Here's some pictures of him that I took today.

post #42 of 58
What a wonderful update! WHAT a love!

I'd consider getting a different vet opinion instead of taking him back to the same vet. As to his ears - as long as you're going to the vet, make sure it's not ear mites. Flowerbelle had a yeast infection in her ear and they gave us drops for it. But some kitties just have gunky ears. We use Q-tips to clean hers out. She actually loves it. And unlike human ear canals, kitty ear canals make a turn, so you don't have to worry about puncturing an ear drum or anything.

Ed may actually have the herpes virus - it's quite common and results in the symptoms you've described. But it definitely goes into remission. Flowerbelle was rescued with it - and actually ended up having to have an eye removed because of it. We fought to keep it for 7 months and had to medicate her 11 times a day! But once she got over it - it was gone and hasn't been back. She was rescued at a few months old - and she's going to be five this year. If you take him to a new vet, tell them what he's been on. They may want to bump him up to Doxycycline. I'm pretty sure the second antibiotic they had your kitty on was Clavamox. Doxy's stronger.

But I would DEFINITELY add a lysine supplement to his diet. We get ours in paste form from the vet and it's tuna flavored. Maybe PM Momofmany to ask about lysine - I know she buys it in tablet or powder form somewhere - but I wouldn't know how much of that to give to a kitty. But it REALLY helps kitties when they've got colds or if they've got herpes.

You can also get GSE drops from a health food store, and put a few drops in his water bowl when you rinse it and refill it every day. This will help build up his immune system - and help him fight whatever he's got.

Thanks for the update and sharing the pics!

post #43 of 58
Originally Posted by bart5 View Post
He often gets his claws stuck to things and doesn't seem to know how to get unattached. Is this normal with older kittens? He sometimes pulls his scratching post down on top of him or gets caught in weird positions with his feet as if he were playing twister.
Sounds like you're doing a good job with him and that things are progressing nicely. Have you attempted to clip his nails at all? It sounds like they might be too long. It can be dangerous if he can't free himself from whatever his claws are stuck to, and I can't imagine that a falling scratching post is very pleasant for him either (maybe the post isn't heavy and sturdy enough as well?). There are numerous threads here and articles on the internet about clipping nails. The most common bits of advice seem to be, only do one or two at a time at first, try to do them when the cat is sleeping or at least sleepy, and have some treats handy.
post #44 of 58
Thread Starter 
ohh maybe I will try clipping them. I wasn't sure if you could do that with a cat or not.
post #45 of 58
Ed is very cute and it sounds like you are doing a great job with him. Clipping his nails probably won't be too difficult he sounds pretty easy going. He has the same coloring as my cat too Her eyes are less green (a little in the center) -- Ed's are really pretty.
post #46 of 58
Ed sounds like a wonderful character. A personality plus kind of guy.

I grew up in Miami and his eyes are the wonderful color of the ocean there. Really beautiful.

I give my cats L-Lysine too. There is a herpes virus, like the kind that causes cold sores in humans, that many cats have. It's very contagious, so if one of your cats have it, the others usually do too. It's bothersome, but not life threatening. I just crush up a 1000mg tablet and put it in their wet food. I actually use a hammer to crush it and when the cats hear me doing that they know they're going to get it mixed with wet food and they come running.

You can get L-Lysine anywhere because it works to subdue human herpe viruses, too. A lot of people use it for that.
post #47 of 58
He is so cute! He looks very happy in his new home, what a lucky kitty

Have you looked into any of the spay/neuter clinics in your area? It really should be done as soon as possible, to prevent him from spraying pee all over your house. The one by me charges $28 for males (male neutering is on average less than females) and sometimes they have events where they do them for $15.
post #48 of 58
Thread Starter 
Today was his appointment. I decided to begin harness training with him today as well because he tore up my arm so bad when I put him in his carrier that I'd like to end that chapter of his life and get him on a leash. I just let him wear the harness around the apartment for a few hours. He didn't like it at first but he got used to it quickly and was playing and sleeping with it on.
Today was a traumatizing day for him! he got his nails clipped, his first round of rabies/distemper, and the vet said she suspects herpes and I came home with 3 months worth of L-Lysine. He also has rod bacteria in his ears. This was weird to me because when I last brought him, which was 4 weeks ago, he didn't have an ear infection. Anyway she cleaned six q-tips worth of brown globs out of his right ear but he LOVED IT. I bet it felt so good. He got ear drops for that, and some more amoxicillin just for any secondary infection. Now HOPEFULLY the L-Lysine kicks in and he starts to improve. I know it's a life long treatment but it's not expensive so that's GREAT. His nails aren't getting stuck on things now so that's a good thing. He's PASSED OUT because of his shot. He's been sleeping all day.
He has an appointment on March 21st to get his final shots and be neutered. I'm just doing it at the vet's since my mom's helping me with the expenses.
So this L-Lysine stuff, you can mix it in with the wet food? I put it on a spoon and tried to put it on his tongue but half of it just dripped onto the floor. He's just so picky so I didn't know if he would detect it in his food or not.
It's disappointing that he probably has herpes BUT I'm just glad it's something treatable! She said if he doesn't respond to L-Lysine that it could be something else beginning with a C? I forget. Untreatable though. I think it might be the virus my mom was telling me about. Well, we will just see how he responds to L-Lysine! How long did it take all of you to see improvement in yours?
post #49 of 58
Thread Starter 
Also, as I might have mentioned, I'm a college student living away from home. At home I have two cats already, Mittens and Ebony, females, neutered, 13 going on 14 years old. My mom got them from a local shelter for me and my brother on Christmas Eve when I was 7 and he was 4. They were the last two left on Christmas Eve She only wanted one kitten but she couldn't stand to leave the other one behind. Isn't that the saddest cutest story? Well ANYWAY I already took Ed to my house for the weekend on one occasion. The only contact he had was: He was laying on my bed, grumpy because he was annoyed by my 3 dogs who tried to say hi. Mittens came into my room... sniffed around... hissed at me twice and ran away. Out of my whole family she is partial to me and I think she smelled him and she was upset with me for betraying her. =(... but anyway, she didn't even see him. Was this close enough contact for me to worry about Mittens and Ebony getting the virus?
Unfortunately I have to bring him home again on the 7th for spring break. I don't feel its a large risk to Mittens and Ebony because they will not go near him. He stays in my bedroom, and they run and hide in the basement. As long as I keep them away from each other we should be ok? Are my dogs in danger?
post #50 of 58
It would be passed through saliva, so if they don't come into contact and don't share food, it shouldn't be a problem.

Herpes is actually pretty common among stray/feral cats. One of our six has it, and she lives in constant close contact with the others, and none of our other kitties have contracted it.

Flowerbelle took forever to recover, but that's no reference point because she had lots of other problems. She was so far gone when we got her it took three weeks in the hospital, seven months of being medicated 11 times a day, and then we had to remove one of her eyes. So I think between the antibiotics - did they give you an antiviral for him? - and the lysine, it should be a couple of weeks. Sometimes it can take a couple of months for the eyes to improve. You just have to keep an eye on "herpes" cats, because they're more susceptible to colds and upper respiratory problems.

post #51 of 58
Thread Starter 
they didn't give me any antivirals. i feel like he will improve more quickly than you said Flowerbelle did because he didn't have so many problems. His eyes aren't even very bad to begin with. Thats some love and dedication medicating her 11 times a day for 7 months! I'm glad she got better.
At least his ears look so much cleaner. I think the ear drops are working. It is really hard to get the drops in there. I thank all of you for all your help! I wouldn't know what to do without some knowledgeable friendly cat loving people people to consult. Tomorrow it's going to be 55 degrees out so I'm going to drive Ed to the park and try and see what he does on his leash! Even if we just sit in the grass he'll like being outside.
post #52 of 58
Thread Starter 
New pictures and bios of my other two kitties who live at my permanent home! Also a memorial for my first cat ever. I'll be working on that more.
post #53 of 58
Thread Starter 
I did post this in the health section... 30 views... no replies...pertaining to his herpes symptoms and him getting neutered today.

Ed was very sick when I found him. His symptoms include sneezing (sometimes clear but sometimes white snots that get stuck in his whiskers and it's interesting) also he breathes loudly and sounds like he's snorting sometimes. He sometimes has thin discharge from his eyes too. The vet put him on a week of amoxicillin, then something stronger, then when he still wasn't better she noticed his ears were dirty, they tested positive for rod bacteria, so he got another round of amoxicillin, and she also suggested 1000mg of L-Lysine supplement daily because she suspected feline herpes. It has been about 4 weeks now and he doesn't seem 100% healthy. I just don't know what could be wrong with him! Does he need even stronger antibiotics? Could it still be herpes? I must say I HAVE seen improvement. He sneezes less frequently and he doesn't choke on mucous as much. But he still sneezes up discharge once in a while, and he still breathes loudly.

I'm obviously still struggling to find out what his problem is.

Also... I dropped him off this morning at 8am to get neutered! I'm relieved by this because I believe he's started spraying recently. Not good. And... even though it's a normal procedure that millions and billions of cats go through I am a bit scared about complications and I didn't want to part with him. I especially worry because of his upper respiratory infection. I don't know how that can impact a neutering... but the symptoms aren't going away any time soon.
The vet asked if I wanted pre-anesthetic bloodwork and since I was a bit worried and I have read Laurie saying that she does that for all her cats, I agreed to have it done. It's a good marker for the future anyway. I asked them to not give him pain medication because she explained it will just be a small slit and my personal philosophy is to take the least amount of medication as I can in my life. I don't usually take pain meds myself. I figured he would be ok. However if anyone thinks otherwise let me know, because i wasn't sure what kind of pain he's going to experience.
Are there things I need to do to prepare for his homecoming tomorrow? Will he try to pull out his stitches? Are there often high chances of complications when it comes to a neutering? Will he have a cone to wear around his head? Will his personality or physique be affected by the procedure?
Thanks for all your comments.
post #54 of 58
We never did anything special when the boys were neutered. I don't think there are stitches. ????? Some kitties get very grumpy, some get very needy. Because of the anesthesia, some kitties don't want to eat for a day or two. Our vet never offered pain meds for neutering. Maybe they automatically give them after the neuter, but I wasn't aware of it and I don't actually think they do. I don't think there's much if any pain after they wake up, or groups practicing TNR wouldn't be releasing the males often the same day as the neutering. But I'm ashamed to admit - I've never asked about it!

that all went well! I hope he's home with you now. Just be aware - it can take about a month for the hormones to cycle out of his system, so he may still spray for a little while. I think you caught it soon enough to not set in as a habit. However, any place he has already sprayed MUST be cleaned with an enzyme cleaner. Get a black light and go through your house/apartment with it at night. Any place with pee will show up as an orange splotch - but the scent of the marking will encourage him to continue to mark, so you've got to COMPLETELY get rid of the scent - and to HIS nose, not yours. Nature's Miracle is an enzyme cleaner available almost everywhere. It's not that great, so use LOTS of it, and maybe after wherever it is dries after a day or three or however long it takes, consider giving it another treatment. Also, once you apply the Nature's Miracle, maybe cover the area with aluminum foil (if horizontal) - and once it's dry, spray Feliway on it. (Feliway is a synthetic hormone that mimics the "Friendly" markers in cats' cheeks - it's like the opposite of the scent hormones left from spraying. But you have to get rid of the spray scent first).

After being neutered, he will probably become a little mellower and sweeter. Because of the hormonal change, it reduces that aggressive "this is my territory" drive, and male kitties become much better - happier, even - indoor only pets. He's old enough his physique won't change. If they're neutered young, they often grow to be a little larger (not necessarily fatter) than they otherwise would because they get to put all that "growth energy" into growing as opposed to sexually maturing, you know?

As to the URI issues. Your vet wouldn't have neutered him if he/she thought there would be any issues, so I doubt it'll impact it at all. And I'm so glad you went for the pre-anesthetic testing. It's expensive (often) - but even in the past couple of weeks here at TCS there have been a couple of people who lost - or almost lost - kitties during spay or neuter surgeries because of reactions to the anesthesia.

Recovering from herpes can take some time. The L-lysine is something you should just always give him. If he's done with all the meds, at this point you may just want to consider stuff to help boost his immune system. Something that seems to work really well with kitties especially in relation to URIs is grape seed extract. Many people add a few drops to kitty's water (only if in a bowl, not if in a fountain), and it seems to really help.

Something else to consider - have they examined a fecal sample recently? It's a REAL long shot - but could he be gurgly from lung worm? That was one of the problems Flowerbelle had. But if he has them, it's easy to see in a fecal. May want to consider getting a sample to the vet just to rule it out.

Otherwise, I'd keep up the lysine, add the GSE (grape seed extract) - and after a few weeks, if he doesn't seem better, I'd consider getting a second vet opinion on what's going on.

It is a possibility that he's got allergies! Some cats are allergic to grains, so finding foods without them or with very low levels can help. Some cats have turned out to be allergic to chicken (!) - and it's an ingredient in SO many cat foods. I think it's expensive to do allergy testing on cats like they do for people, but it can be done. Most people just try eliminating different things from the diet. But it's most likely not allergies, because kitties often exhibit allergies in the form or scratching - at the base of the tail or on/around the neck. He may just still be fighting the herpes - and that is something that really can take months.

Hope he's not angry about the neuter and that he's home, happy and doing great!

post #55 of 58
I have been reading this thread since it started (we got our feral kittens around the same time Ed appeared!) and even though I don't have any advice, I just wanted to send support and good vibes! We are taking our boy kittens in to get all fixed in the next few weeks, so I totally understand the nerves (our girl kitten was done about a month ago - one of the most stressful days I have had in a long time!).

Anyway, hope his health problems clear up/get better and his surgery went well!
post #56 of 58
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by wendyr View Post
I have been reading this thread since it started (we got our feral kittens around the same time Ed appeared!) and even though I don't have any advice, I just wanted to send support and good vibes! We are taking our boy kittens in to get all fixed in the next few weeks, so I totally understand the nerves (our girl kitten was done about a month ago - one of the most stressful days I have had in a long time!).

Anyway, hope his health problems clear up/get better and his surgery went well!
Thanks! His surgery all went well.

He doesn't seem to be in any pain whatsoever. hes sleeping curled up on the armchair next to me right now. He started eating the second I brought him inside. He headed straight for where his bowls are. He is acting a bit different. He was really unsure of this blanket I put on the floor for him. He approached it very slowly and was bobbing his head around like he thought it might jump at him. He also acted the same to a few other objects on the floor.
He also came over to say hi to me while i was laying on the couch reading his receipt from the vet. He grabbed it out of my hand and ran with it. He's playing with EVERYTHING he can find. He knocked the remote control off the table to play with, and found a lost ping pong ball under the sink. Sooo yeah... he's nuts. He's not usually like this. He seems less guarded around me than he had been. He was rolling around on his back when I was petting him and he just doesn't do that usually. Maybe he's just happy to see me. I think maybe he had such a high concentration of male hormone built up because he visited my moms house last weekend, smelled the female cats in the other room, and had been yowling like crazy and making weird noises. He's been like that since I brought him back here. Once he's castrated though, bam, he's back to his sweet old self he was before he met the female kitties.

He killed a mouse a few weeks ago, too! We were proud.

I'll be continuing the Lysine Supplement and hopefully he'll be feeling better and his wound will heal uneventfully. He doesn't have to go bac to the vet for a year now! what a relief.
post #57 of 58
Thread Starter 
You were right Laurie, I guess I don't see any stitches.
post #58 of 58
I didn't think there were going to be any. For the feral spays, they always put in dissolving stitches, and for our pet kitties, we have to take the females back to get the stitches removed after a spay. But it's never been an issue with any of the males, so I was pretty sure there weren't any!

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