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Symptoms question

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi there

I am new to this site, so thanks in advance for reading. My fiancée and I have two kittens. There is a house that is in foreclosure next door and has not had an owner for nearly 2 years now. Around August-September of 2008 three kittens appeared with most likely their mother and kept their eyes on us and of course scurried away when they got scared. They came around every once in a while, then they came back with only two kittens, then they left for a few weeks, then just the two kittens came back and looked like they needed some care. The mother never showed up again at this point. So we fed them some milk and water and a bit of food. To make a long story short we have "adopted" them. Of course they learned we take care of them and over the harsh winter here in the Northeastern Ohio area we built them a home in the garage, they have little beds and everything like that, toys, fresh food and water daily. They were born behind our garage and part of the backyard next door so they are naturally wild but at this point you wouldn't think they were ever afraid of us, they rub, they love to be pet, be around us, follow us...etc... Unfortunately they do have to stay outside because my fiancée is very allergic to cats. It's ok that she goes out and is around them and pets them and plays with them but she has to wash her hands right away and can't touch her face or anything. Of course having them in the house shedding on a regular basis would not be a good thing either. But again, they are naturally wild so they aren't bothered by only coming in the house every once in a while to explore and be pet. Also, as mentioned, they are treated well outside and have a very large "home" out there. Did I mention the comfy beds?!
Anyways...next door a flipper has bought the house and has been working. When the cats get scared of other things, or a lot of commotion going on they go visit (we would assume some other cats down the street as that is where they come from sometimes when we go outside and call for them) so they can be away from all of the people and we aren't home cause we have to go to work. This morning, my fiancée was going to work and Pawman (that's his name cause he has a mark on his paw, while Scardie (naturally scared - but yet the first one who had let us pet him!) doesn't) was out and about in the plants and greenery at the front of the house. By the time I went out for work about 45 min later and moved their food from the front of the door to next to their beds Pawman got out of his box and started limping. I thought maybe he slept on it wrong (like I always do!) but he sleeps all over the place most of the time so he should be limping every time he gets out then! I left for work and they finally came back after the commotion stopped next door and Pawman is still limping. The top of his left front leg, just below where it meets his body is swollen. Now they like to chase bees, as I am always chasing THEM away from the bees...so maybe this morning when he was bouncing around he caught a bee the wrong way - with the stinger. Or maybe he got hit on his leg. Of course I read a bunch of suggestions online here saying it's hard to tell when they are outside and out and about and then you get the "mystery symptom" cause you don't know what it is from. However, what has happened looks to be consistent with a broken leg or getting stung by the bee. He looks like he is spacing out and jumping away from us when we go to pet him. I know there is that article about "if you can't afford a vet" and I understand many my direct me to that article, but we truly cannot afford a vet bottom line and I am not looking for vet advice per se and I guess then my whole post wouldn't make sense then! But.... maybe someone could give me some ideas since we will just have to let it be and see what happens (especially since it looks like it could be one thing or another)....and also since they are naturally wild. Anything to help the pain? Any suggestions? I can understand that is what you get with wild cats....I guess maybe I'm surprised since it's been 9 months and they haven't gotten into any "trouble" until now. Again, thanks in advance!
post #2 of 6
your cat does need to see a vet. what you can do is call local shelters and see what they can do about getting you free vet care {or really, really cheap care}. another thing you can do is try to find a foster. go to alleycatallies.org and find the link to their feral friends network or post him on your local craigslist.
if this is a broken leg, theres a good chance your cat will die. the fact that he is "spacing out" is very concerning. he needs immediate care, whether you can afford it or not.
you mentioned both of them as being "naturally wild". domesticated cats, born in a home or on the streets are not wildlife, they are not a part of nature. the difference between wild cats and domesticated cats is that domesticated cats were bred to be tame pets - basically meaning their wild instincts were bred out of them. they rely on people to survive in one way or another, but would have a much better survival rate in a home.
they're not feral b/c they have been somewhat socialized by you and your fiance'. this means that you have a really good chance of completely socializing them by calmly introducing them to new people. or you can find a foster willing to socialize them theirselves.
living in your garage/backyards, these cats are up against the elements. probably haven't been vaccinated either, have they? you were very kind to save them as kittens, you should consider saving them again.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply thus far. Just as an update, Pawman had been sitting up in his bed for a while this evening. I brought the food dish and the water dish to his bed, fed him some treats in there so he didn't have to get out. I could see that he knew I was trying to care for him. He sat up for a bit more since he couldn't lay down. But about a half an hour later he curled up and now he is laying down like he usually does. It appears his leg is curled up with the rest of him. This looks like a good sign, no? We asked a friend and they said if he was trying to walk on it and was putting at least a little pressure on it then it may have been the bee sting rather than a broken leg, otherwise he wouldn't even try to put it down. However, I will look into the shelter care situation either way, thanks for the suggestion and any further replies in advance!
post #4 of 6
I agree with trying to contact a shelter in your area.

I have a suggestion to prevent them from being hurt in the future. I understand they can not come in the house, but would it be possible to build an enclosure for them in your back yard. This way they are still outside, but if they are confined they will be less likely to get hurt. Also, if they are not spayed and neutered you will want to look into finding a TNR in your area (you trap them & they will fix them for you). If they are fixed they will be less likely to wander and you will not be over run with cats. It does not take long for cats to reproduce.
post #5 of 6
My cat sprained her left rear knee mysteriously recently. While this is no substitute for the advice of a vet, what my vet told me about lameness in a hind leg is - if the cat can squat to poo or put weight on it to walk mostly normally beyond a limp, it's unlikely to be broken, fractured, or dislocated. This does not rule out soft tissue injuries, such as tendon or muscle tears/ruptures/etc. The time to worry about a break, fracture or dislocation is if the animal is not using the leg at all (classic of curling the leg and walking on the three good limbs). You say he's walking - with a limp - which makes me assume he is walking on all 4's, just with a funky gait.

Do not give them any medicine not specifically dosed by a vet for your animal. Most medication is dosed by weight - when you weigh 7-8lbs, being off by a quarter of a pound is a LOT. If I remember correctly, as an example, one human dose of diphenhydramine - Benadryl - is 25-50 MG. Dosed for a cat, it is 0.25-0.5 MG per pound. See the order of magnitude of difference there?

What you have done so far to care for the strays - Can't say I find a fault with you there. You're doing more than most people would, and there's enough people out there that get their kicks out of hurting animals. Please try to find someone that can give them a forever home though. Kudos for doing what you've done so far. As others have suggested, there may be a TNR program in your area. My first start would be to call city hall to find out if your city operates one, then move up to the county, and state levels. Call around local shelters for advice on low cost/no cost spay/neutering and medical treatment. If you can find a no-kill shelter with room available (good luck) there's more hope than you realize for them to find a forever home.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Update on Pawman...

I did go to a shelter and they would not help me or even answer any of my questions...in fact the one lady was outright rude and wouldn't let me get more than 5 words out before she said "we're not taking any cats." I told her that wasn't my question, she said "you want to surrender cats, right?" I told her at that point I'll just speak to someone else because she didn't even hear what I had to say. Anyways.... I realized I am friends with someone that works at a vet and gave her a call and she said the only other thing she could think of is that it would be an abscess. And as an update with Pawman, he has been trying to walk on it more and more and seems like he figured out how to get around with the swelling there at the top of his leg. However, yesterday he when we came home from work he was walking just fine as if nothing ever happened. It appeared though there was a cut there where the swelling was and it was pussing a little bit and bleeding a bit. Now, there was no cut there when there was the swelling. So maybe the abscess possibility is what happened? He is tending to the cut himself frequently but walking just fine and things look normal, other than the cut of course. So maybe he was cleaning himself and it burst open and drained? Kinda gross I know...but this is the latest. Also, after Tuesday night there (when he was still with the swelling and limping around) when I came home from my radio show late and night he came hobbling to me as I got out of the car to greet me as both Pawman and Scaredy do every Tues night and Pawman was at least in his old good spirits self (I mentioned he was sort of spaced out those first two days there we noticed something) But yeah, after that night when he was rubbing and loving and wanted to be pet he acted his same old self, just that the swelling was still there....until as I mentioned, yesterday. So that's the update -- thanks for everyone's posts and kind words!
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