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Advice regarding an injured stray

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
First of all, hi everyone! I just joined this site and am very thankful to have found it.

So, here's the situation. I'd appreciate any advice or information, as I've never done a rescue before. I apologize in advance for the looong post.

A few days ago I found an ad on craigslist about a stray, injured cat. (See post here: http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/pet/851225584.html ). Basically, a woman who'd been feeding a stray cat noticed one day the cat had a one-inch cut on her side. Within the span of two weeks to one month (she's not sure of the timeframe) the cut grew to five-inches and has become badly infected. She's been keeping the cat in her garage but has no money to take her to the vet and is asking for help.

After emailing back and forth with her, she also mentioned that the cat stays in one spot all day, and only gets up to eat and use the litterbox. Also, she sometimes lays in the litterbox for 10 - 15 minutes at a time....not a good sign in my experience.

I've agreed to take the cat to my vet tomorrow, where I was given a rough estimate of $183, plus an additional $41 for FLV/FIV testing. This figure could go higher, depending on any other issues and the severity. I haven't seen the laceration, so I'm unsure of just how bad it is. I was also told by the vet that if she's positive for FLV, she'll need to be put down.

Would you, if you were in my position, take this on? Finances aren't great right now, but I just feel so compelled to help. I've tried contacting a couple of rescue groups in my area for assistance or advice, but no luck so far.

FYI, my plan is to get her healthy, up-to-date on shots, spayed, and adopted into a forever home. I have one cat of my own and, being a military family and moving very often, I really don't think I'm ready for another permanent family member right now.

I guess I'm just looking for some advice from anyone who's "been there, done that." Any other thoughts as to where I should look for support and assistance? Does it sound to you like, even though she's gone without care about a month, she can be saved? My fear is that she'll either have to be put down or the vet bill will run extremely high. Any thoughts/information/advice/etc would be so appreciated.

post #2 of 13
I haven't ever been in a situation like that, so I can only send vibes in hopes that everything will go alright and the cost won't be too high. Bless you for being an angel and helping to save this poor kitty! Also, if the cost is more than you can afford right now, maybe your vet will let you pay by payments...? Just a thought.

Keep us updated!!
post #3 of 13
Hi Crystal,

When I was in college (and had no money), I rescued a kitten with a broken leg. It was about $150 to get the him into good health and I really couldn't afford it, but did it anyhow. Anyway, that will always be one of those experiences that makes me proud. I spent what little money I had to help an animal in need and I'll never regret it.

So I hope you will be able to help this kitty. Can you ask the vet if he has any kind of discount program for good samaritans? Many vets will provide their services at cost if you are helping a homeless animal that you won't be keeping. Also do you have an SPCA in your area? They might provide the services for free if you tell them the situation.

And do you know how old the kittens are? If momma cat has to be put down, who will take care of the kittens?

Keep us posted and bless you for caring about this poor little kitty!!
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I bit the bullet and took in the cat....haven't named her yet so I'm still calling her "the cat." Thankfully, she tested negative for FLV & FIV and doesn't require surgery....at least not yet anyway. They're taking a wait and see approach.

The vet said her wound, which is on her chest, looks like a really old bite wound...he said he's never seen a wound infected quite that badly. But, since there really wasn't a large abscess, there really wasn't anything to drain...it's just sort of "oozing." She is really thin and dehydrated, so we opted to give her some IV fluids and pennicillin, with some take-home antibiotics. All things told, I'm out $143...but it could've been much worse. I'm asking my family and friends for donations.

Rotobay, the kittens were already eating on their own...the family thinks they're about 6 or 7 weeks. Young, yes, but old enough to survive without mommy cat. She hadn't even let them nurse in the last couple of weeks. I felt bad not being able to take them too, but 1) they didn't ask me to and 2) I really can't have a bunch of kitties where I'm at. It took a lot of convincing for my hubby to let me help this one...and he still thinks I'm crazy.

But, I do feel it was the right thing to do. She's such a sweet girl and was obviously suffering. The family that had her seemed to be good people, they just really didn't have money to even feed her a quality diet....so it's no wonder her wound hasn't healed. Their house was in such disarray they couldn't even find her when I went to pick her up....she was behind the stove or something. Still, I don't blame them for anything....they even cried when I mentioned that there was a slight chance she may have to be pts.

I'm so thankful that everything turned out relatively well. She may still need surgery if it doesn't heal with the antibiotics and with getting her immune system in better shape with proper nutrition. (Feeding her kitten food...Science Diet, so not the greatest food ever, but it'll do).

Thank you both for your kind words and encouragement. I guess I was looking for someone to tell me that it was the right thing to do, even if it wasn't necessarily the rational one. Now, on to getting her healthy, spayed and hopefully adopted! Anyone in the Seattle area want a pretty, sweet young cat?
post #5 of 13
Welcome to TCS! You did what any of us would do, assuming that somehow we could find the money. I am currently nursing a beautiful orange boy whom I found in my field with a mangled paw. It had abscessed and once healed, he may have to lose a couple of toes that are badly fractured. I can't keep him (he fights with my others) but I have had him neutered and am looking for a home for him. TCS people just do what they gotta do.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Just thought I'd post a "day one" picture of our little rescue kitty.....now officially named Marbles the Cat! I'm not going to post any graphic pics of her wound, but you can kind of see how extensive it is in this pic:

Well, it seems like the "insert image" button isn't working...you can see a quick blog with her photo here:


Thanks for the nice responses everyone....I feel like I did the right thing and don't regret it at all. It's so nice to talk to people who understand. I know there are a lot of things that need help and fixing in this world...we choose to help the ones that seem to suffer the most.
post #7 of 13
I am so glad that you resuced this kitty, any chance that she can find a home with you? Regardless of whether she stays with you or you find her a loving home, you can be sure that you saved her life. Hopefully the family that has her kittens will find a good shelter or homes for them too. They need to be altered as soon as they are old enough, I hope they are able to take proper care of the kitties. Keep us posted on Marbles progress.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
KRZ, there is always a chance she may become a permanent part of our family. I don't really feel like we're in a place to have more than our one kitty right now as we move sooo much and it's hard on her as it is. She'll definitely stay if I can't find her a good home. If I can find a no-kill rescue to take her in, I'll have a choice to make. Many of the rescues around here are strictly foster home-oriented, so that may not be a bad thing. At least they would be able to ensure with a little more certainty that she'll end up in a loving home. We shall see.....it depends on a lot of things.

I'm worried about the kittens too, and I gave the family (unsolicited) advice about getting them fixed as soon as they're old enough...even offered to drive them since they don't have a car. I didn't get a response, so I don't know if the advice will be taken or not. They told me one kitten had already gotten hit by a car. It's very obvious to me the remaining three don't have a good chance at having a safe, healthy life but I really don't know if there is anything more I can do, at least right now. If they e-mail me asking for help with them too, then I'll try to come up with something.

I'm considering taking them a large bag each of cat & dog food a couple of times a month, but I'm not sure how they'd feel about that. I might be overstepping my bounds.

I'm going to focus on getting Marbles healthy for right now. She walked around her room a little today, which was thrilling! Yesterday, if she put any pressue on her front right leg, she would just sort of fall over on her side. That's a lot of progress in just over 24 hours, so I'm hopeful that the antibiotics and good old fashioned food, water, and a warm, sanitary place to heal will do the trick. The wound itself doesn't look much better, but it's dried up enough in some spots to see two significant gashes on her side that I couldn't see yesterday. They look pretty deep, but seem to be healing. The puncture wounds on the front of her chest are another story. It's so bad that you can't even tell where her little teet is...there are so many lumps there.

I'll definitely keep yall updated on her progress....hopefully it'll continue in this positive direction and surgery won't be needed.
post #9 of 13
From the description of the wounds, it sure sounds like she mixed it up with a dog or a coyote.
post #10 of 13
Bless you for listening to your heart and saving this beautiful cat!!!

Many years ago I rescued a very pregnant cat from the grocery store parking lot. I had just been laid off from a good job and was on unemployment. I named her kitt-ay. She got pyometria and had to be taken in to vet for emergency. She was very close to delivery and I told the vet to try to save the little babies. The babies did come home with mom but were to little to make it and went on to RB the next day. The vet told me they probably wouldn't make it but I didn't want him to kill them when doing emergency surgery. I made payments to the vet and times were really hard but I made it. I had kitt-ay for 10 years and she got CRF and eventually passed away in my arms. I don't know how old she was when she entered my life but her 10 years with me were the very best! I am blessed to have saved a special girl like her.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Mrblanche, that may be the case. The family had two big dogs out front (looked like pits or pit mixes). Nothing against the breed....it just seems like the most likely scenario. The poor things are so skinny too.

Abbycats, what a hard (and compassionate) thing for you to have done! The hope you had for her kittens is admirable....so is having taken the momma to the emergency vet in the first place. Strays can end up being such wonderful pets...I'm glad you got to share 10 long years with kitt-ay. I hope I'm as lucky with my own pet, who I adopted from the pound a couple of years ago....her history is worthy of a book. Or at least a short story.

And I hope Marbles the Rescued Kitty has a long, happy life ahead of her, whether she shares it with us or another family. She's such a sweetie....and I'm convinced she doesn't eat, drink or use the litterbox unless me or my husband are in the room with her. Seriously, she'll have a full bowl of food just sitting there and as soon as I walk in, she jumps up and starts eating...and I mean EATING, she barely chews at all....it's the oddest thing. Then she drinks for a full minute or two and heads straight for the litterbox. I wonder if it's just insecurity?
post #12 of 13
Happylittlecapp, your story about Marbles has made my day! With all the horrid things you see on the news, it is so wonderful to come to TCS and hear stories about people who go out of their way to help an animal in need. Even when its inconvenient, costly (when you can least afford it), and seemingly irrational....there are still people who will do the right thing to help a less fortunate soul. What great karma! And how sweet of you to think of delivering food to the remaining animals. You seem like a generous thoughtful person, which is awesome.

And I have no idea why the quotes around "the cat" ended up so weird on the lifesaver....I'm going to see if I can fix it....
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the kind words, rotobay. I've thought about doing something like this for a long time, but it always seemed so hopeless....helping one cat when there are still millions more that go unsaved.

But this experience is teaching me a lot, and now I know better. Seeing how quickly Marbles is recovering, and what a difference a little care has made in just a few days...it's really made me see this sort of thing in a whole new light. Even if the worst had happened and she didn't pull through, I still would've felt good about trying to help her in the first place. And I know that, even if this doesn't even put a dent in the number of strays that go unrescued, it's made a huge difference to her.

The rate of her recovery is really impressive. She's jumping all over my chair and desk in the office, now known as Marbles' room. She's ready to go exploring the house, though I'm not ready to let her. My other cat has a hissy fit everytime she catches a glimpse of her.

In other news, even after checking twice, the vet missed her fleas. They must've been in hiding for the last two days. The vet gave me a discount on treatment for both of the kitties, so I'm thankful for that.

And don't worry about the weird quotes..I thought it was just my dumb computer...lol.

I'm a little bummed that the rescues I've tried to contact haven't gotten back to me. Oh well, I know they're busy and under-funded but it would be nice to have some help and/or guidance when it comes to trying to place her later on. I'll probably be posting a new thread in the coming weeks regarding this.
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