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Coby, the domesticated feral skinny as a rail

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have a four year old "formerly feral" who lived out on my patio for years, but who voluntarily came indoors last February due to illness (cat flu). It took him two months in the basement to recover from that and another four months of intensive training thereafter to acclimate him to indoor life with my two indoor cats (he was attacking them). Coby is now on his tenth month as an indoor cat and still has some issues in being part of a group, but has seemed to be making progress with that.

I noticed in the last few weeks his eating is just dwindling away to nothing. He is extremely thin and has started those telltale signs of illness - hanging out by himself, not interested in food, doesn't come down from the bedroom all day, etc. He's skinny as a rail.

I think there is definately something wrong and hope I can get to it in time. I will try and take him to the vet tomorrow, but he will not be an easy exam. Back in May when I took him in for his initial neutering and vaccinations - the vet chased him around the office for 1/2 hour before they could knock him out to perform their procedures. He has had no other human contact but me. I am afraid to take him in if they have to knock him out to examine him (which they will) as last year I lost my 16yo "love of my life" in an eerily similar situation. By the time I had noticed that Kippy (the 16yo) wasn't eating and was sick and went to the vet, he knocked my Kippy out for a chest x-ray and he never came out of the anestesia.

I almost feel like I'm backed in a corner. I have so much time invested in this feral, I can't tell you. He is eating just a few crumbs of kibble or a couple of dabs of baby food which I know isn't enough. How could this be (he's only 4)?

PS. No obvious signs of any common illnesses.
post #2 of 7
can your vet make a housecall?? this is often how my semi ferals are vetted... has a stool check been done?
post #3 of 7
I agree with Sharky about the housecall. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes in aggressive cats. And also about the fecal. Talk to your vet about the situation and see if maybe a simple fecal test would be the first step. That way he won't actually have to go to the vet and it may be as simple as a parasite.

If a vet trip is necessary, ask if your vet can do a little "extra" to accommodate your man. Make sure he can go into the exam room as soon as you walk in the door and that the vet can come in to see you immediately. Have you ever used Feliway with him for your group issues? If yes and it's helped, may be a good idea to spray the carrier down before hand and a towel to take with you. Have the vet try to do a physical exam without sedation. Use the towel to cover his head and have your vet be very quiet and very slow with him. Sometimes even semi-feral babies can be examined if the right measurements and time is taken.

Beforehand, discuss what sedation will be used if necessary. If your concerned with the sedation ask if you can stay away from the heavier sedatives such as ketamine. Domitor is a very light sedation with minimal risk of complications and it can be reversed, which is a big plus.

Whatever happens, best of luck to you both! Hope it's as stress free as possible for you and your kitty!
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Based on advice given here, I was able to get a urine sample from Coby which I took in to the vet. The tests came back next morning saying many red and white bloodcells in the urine and probably UTI (or KD, but he is only 4yo).

Without seeing Coby, the vet gave me a single 14-day injection of Cefovecin (Convenia, Pfizer Animal Health) to give to him which I did with no problem. Not the first time I have given him an injection. That was two days ago now.

Also, some appetite stimulant pills called mirtazapine, supposedly to give 1/4 tab every three days mixed with his food, but I squandered an entire pill over the last several days mixing it with four different foods that he likes and he can tell its in there and will not eat it. Give him the same foods without the pill mixed in and he eats (must taste horrible as 1/4 pill is hardly anything).

He is still drinking lots and held up under my bed, eating tiny bits that I have to push at him. I wonder how long the injection would take to have any effect?
post #5 of 7
Convenia is a wonder antibiotic IMHO. I love it, and mild-moderate UTI's usually respond very well to it. You should see results within 1-3 days definitely.

If he's eating without the mirtazapine, there's no need to give it to him. And it is very bitter, so I don't blame your boy for not wanting it,
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
It is now two weeks later and Coby relapsed badly from his 14-day injection of Cefovecin (Convenia, Pfizer Animal Health). Without many choices on diagnosis because of his feral disposition, I took him into the doctor's office yesterday and he flew out of the carrier and up onto the windowsill where he got wedged between the sash and screen - the doctor was able to do some examination of him there. He was frightened, but not hostile. He got another injection of Cefovecin, but the doctor cautioned that bloodwork would probably be the next step in diagnosis and that he would need to be knocked out for that. We agreed he is too weak for any anesthesia at this point, so a plan was to see if he perked up from the second injection and gained a little weight and strength. Then maybe we could do bloodwork and an actual examination.

He has not perked up today and looks on his last legs. I may resort to force feeding him baby food. He is still drinking (alot).
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Coby's UTI progressed to critical even with the second Convenia injection. He was attempting to urinate almost constantly. We did a second urine sample and send it out for culture to see if a better antibiotic should be used. I tried valiantly to keep him alive until the culture returned from the lab, but Coby passed away last week. The culture results came back the day after his passing, but only revealed a common bacteria for which the Convenia should have worked.

Alas, poor Coby we hardly knew ye. He was only 3 1/2 yrs. old. I had spent literally hundreds of hours saving him from death back in February, then domesticating him into the household. Such a robust and healthy guy when he lived outdoors and then again this summer as a transformed "indoor boy". I am still in shock that he could fail so quickly. I guess he could have had more wrong with him, but his primary symptom was the UTI which just seemed unstoppable.
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