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Badly Injured in Africa--No Vet Care!

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
This morning, a beautiful little kitten that appears to be maybe 8 weeks old wandered into our courtyard in a big city in Africa. We are in a poor area and there is NO vet care and NO cat food. The worst part is this: one hind leg appears badly crushed and the other appears at least broken, though kitty used it to drag himself into our courtyard. It seems the injury must have happened at least more than a couple days ago because the open part of the wound seems very dry and crusted over. Most cats here in my country are strays. He's most likely been wondering the streets begging since the time of his injury. Please help! What should I feed him? How can I help him to be mobile, even though one of his legs is probably completely lost? My wife has very good medical experience (and we could get some human medical supplies) and we wouldn't be outside considering amputating the bad leg so he can learn to walk with three (it appears far beyond salvaging). Please, any nutritional or medical help would be greatly appreciated!!
post #2 of 22
The poor thing, but thank goodness he found you.

Because of the time difference, most of the members won't be logging on for another few hours yet, but keep looking in because they will get back to you with advice.
post #3 of 22
I hate to say this but if there is absolutel NO way to get this cat care or food then I think the most humane thing to do would be to euthanize it. Otherwise he'll simply suffer a slow and painful death from either infection or starvation.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yes, my first thought was that the humane thing to do would be euthanization; however, the more I see it get around, the more I think it may have been getting around for a while with the injuries. And, it's not that there's no food, I've just never tried to feed a cat a balanced diet using human food options. There are many cats here that seem healthy, even on the streets...but there is no typical cat food. He's eating some very moist tuna right now. With this and milk and water, he's seemed satisfied to hang around for the time being. Any other thoughts?
post #5 of 22
Well, if you do choose to try and sustain him with human food I would avoid tuna and milk. I know those are what you always see cats enjoying but they should really only be a treat as cats aren't built to digest those things. Instead use lean meats like chicken, pork or lean beef cooked all the way through. You can also add some whole grains like barley or brown rice to it.

Of course, just because the cat has continued to exist for some time with it's injuries it's really about the quality of life. Just because it has and can live doesn't mean that it's a good or even mediocre life that should continue. This cat is probably in some if not a lot of pain but cats mask their pain well.
post #6 of 22
Meats are good to feed him, but do avoid tuna and milk, like another poster said. And make sure you take into consideration that if you amputate the leg, he's probably going to have to become a pet. It won't be easy for him to hunt for his food on three legs. I'm not saying leave him the way he is by any means, but if you can't care for him as a pet, it might be best to euthanize him. I wish you and the kitten luck, I hope you can save him.
post #7 of 22
Since there is no vet available, do you know any human doctors (maybe a friend) who would be willing to look at the cat in his/her off hours? They might be able to attempt amputation if that's necessary... it doesn't sound like a simple thing to do.
post #8 of 22
If you could get the broken leg healed up first, then you could approach the problem of the other leg. Cats do just fine on 3 legs, at least as pets.
post #9 of 22
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
If you could get the broken leg healed up first, then you could approach the problem of the other leg. Cats do just fine on 3 legs, at least as pets.
I agree. If you are ready to take the time to care for this cat, by all means do. In the Philippines, where I live, I've seen a lot of similar cases. Fortunately there are good vets available. However, most of the cats were euthanized because they were rescued already too weak to recuperate. The ones that survived are now living happily with their rescuers. Please PM me if you want more details on their rescue.
No vet? Ask help from human doctors. Hope you find a compassionate one for the kitten's sake.
Sending lots of good luck . Please post again to let us know what is happening.
post #10 of 22
Everyone has given sound, practical advice. I just wanted to mention that pork is actually not a good product to feed to cats because they tend to have a very difficult time digesting it. It's at least as bad, if not worse, than tuna and (cow's) milk, which you were correctly told to avoid to the extent possible. You won't find a single premium brand of cat food that contains pork.

Of course, given your circumstances I don't think anyone would fault anything that you actually decide to feed.

Thank you for caring so much about this poor kitten and best of luck to you (and him), regardless of how things turn out or what you decide to do.
post #11 of 22
as far as feeding 'people' food, be sure to include some organ meats. also, supplements may be necessary [not sure where you'd find those!] as cats cannot produce taurine on their own.
post #12 of 22
Yes, a second on the organ meats. Chicken livers, stuff like that, are very good for the kitten, if he'll eat it. Muscle meat (the kind we people eat) is probably the least nutritious.
post #13 of 22
Last year I helped a missionary who had found just a days-old kitten injured in the bush. With the help of some goats milk and a bit of alcohol the kitten did survive. She found a clinic some distance away where a human doctor intervened and helped with the kitten's injury- the paw was mashed. But that was only one leg and this little one has two in trauma.

Goat's milk is a good supplement. Hopefully you can also find a human doctor who has a kind heart and will help. It isn't just the injured limb but the bug invasion and infection you need to worry about. I wouldn't advise that you or your wife cut off the limb-instead try and find someone with a medical background who can help you. It may just be the doctor will opt to send the kitten off to the angels.
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the great advice. Here is the current situation:

Just after I posted originally, we took the time to analyze things a little more thoroughly. Flash (our new kitty) has a broken spine just forward from his tail. What we originally thought were mangled legs, were in fact just useless legs. It's difficult to tell whether his pelvis is partially crushed or if he even has any broken bones in his legs. Whatever the case, after we realized that his true problem is broken back bones and a damaged spinal cord, we started observing his behavior in the light of paralysis. Initially, he had a little (very little) movement in his hind legs and very little movement in his tail. Also, he would often "leak" instead of urinate. However, we observed him try to find hidden places to pee, so we felt he must not be entirely paralyzed.
Currently, after three days of food and liquids, he is much, much stronger and has started to get around some. He now always goes to the bathroom far from his food and rest area. He can now use his hind legs to balance himself as he walks mostly with two legs. Again, he seems to not be in much pain. We've pushed around on many parts of his body now trying to figure out all the issues.
Overall, he seems quite content, but he would definitely not survive if we released him. Now that he's gained some weight, we can see that he's probably more like 12 weeks rather than the 8 weeks we originally guessed. We talked to a doctor and he thinks that if he has movement in his legs and tail and can use the bathroom like a normal kitty, he will most likely recover somewhat further and the bones should heal naturally. However, with his spinal cord injuries, he will probably not regain much more normal movement.
So, the end result seems to be this: We're going to continue caring for Flash and hope that he improves while we give him the best quality of life we can. If we see he becomes sick or indeed takes on infection, we will euthanize him quickly.

Thanks again for all your helpful input!
post #15 of 22
Originally Posted by maligned View Post
We're going to continue caring for Flash and hope that he improves while we give him the best quality of life we can. If we see he becomes sick or indeed takes on infection, we will euthanize him quickly.

Bless you for what you are doing for Flash! The world would be a better place with more people like you.
post #16 of 22
If you do a little searching, you will find on youtube a number of videos of kittens with such injuries. I wish I could tell you some way to encourage healing of the spine, but keeping him from moving too vigorously is about all I can think of.
post #17 of 22
You might try getting in touch with a human organization called Shriner's hospitals. Although they treat only humans, they might be able to help you design a sling on wheels for the kitten. We have done this. You make a type of wheel cart with a sling that goes under the belly of the kitten (dog in our case) and it might take the pressure off the spine so it can heal. I think the kitty probably broke it's pelvic box area. I have seen some great successes with this injury, but kittens are harder because their bones continue to grow even if damaged. good luck and keep us updated.
post #18 of 22
You and your wife are wonderful, beautiful people. I hope Flash only continues to get better (fast!) and can live a long happy life with you! Blessings to you!
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah, we definitely wondered if Flash's pelvis is broken, but it's so difficult to tell what all is wrong. Here's great news, though:

Two days ago, Flash started to get around much better. He actually began using his hind legs slightly in walking (not just for balance). Then, yesterday he continued to improve and last night we saw him do his first very slight half scamper, supporting his weight very, very briefly all on his back legs. He's been getting around very well all day today, though not very hurriedly yet. Perhaps more importantly, he's been interested in playing and preening the last couple days. The first few days, he wouldn't respond to any attempts to get him to use his front paws to play with string or anything; and he didn't clean himself at all. He looks much, much healthier and continues to get better all the time. I worry that the lack of vet care will make so he doesn't heal as much as he could have otherwise, but I'm more and more convinced he's going to get around quite well eventually.
post #20 of 22
Originally Posted by yayi View Post

Bless you for what you are doing for Flash! The world would be a better place with more people like you.

Wow!! You guys are certainly great people. I just wanted to thank you for caring for Flash and giving him a second chance at life.
post #21 of 22
Good luck with the little one. Sounds like he wants a chance to live.
Bless you for caring for him.
post #22 of 22
Are there any vet programs at all in the area? One thing you could do is contact vets beyond borders or a similar organization to see if there are any volunteer vet programs in your neck of the woods...the programs offer free services to areas like India, South America, and Asia to help stray animals get vet care and spay/neuter. There may be a similar program in Africa.
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