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Feral - what sickness? Photos Included

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Let me start by saying that yes, I know that there's no way to physically look at a cat and determine what's wrong. Despite that, I'd like to rule some things in or out if possible.

This is a feral cat that's been around our apartment complex since the summer. He's been perpetually looking haggard and sick, but we were dealing with four feral kittens in our 1-bedroom apt., and other than calling Animal Control, we had little we could do with him (he's also not always around).

Last night we caught him; soon he'll be going to the vet and if he's irreversibly sick -- probably put-down. For now, I've been washing everything I own eight-ways-to-Sunday to avoid giving anything to our two cats.

The images below span this summer (July) through October.

Symptoms: emaciated (there is food locally); occasionally drools (see bottom image); looks haggard and gaunt, eyes and ears dirty. He has enough energy to chase birds when there's one nearby, but otherwise he's a bit sluggish and stays nearby.

Of course we've been concerned that he might be infecting other cats. Some cats have gone missing this summer, but we don't know the reason. There are 4 healthy-looking cats that [probably] have shared local food bowls with this cat.

There's a fluffy kitten that looked like hell one day that used to accompany this cat. I don't know if it got sick and died - we have a bunch of orange fluffy ferals and it's nearly impossible to tell them apart.


What I especially don't want: distemper or anything else that could be transmitted to other cats.


post #2 of 20
that poor kitty
post #3 of 20
You are right when you say there's no way for us to determine whats wrong with him. You plan on taking him to the vet, so they can see what we (you) can't.
To be honest, he looks like a typical stray. Poor hair coat is usually due to fleas,poor nutrition, and intestinal parasites. The lack of weight could be again poor nutrition, and intestinal parasites, along with some other things that may be going on with internal organs. If he's not neutered, they can also be thin due to constant drive to breed. The dirty ears could be ear mites, or ear infection. The eyes look a bit infected which is typical of an outdoor cat without vaccines and exposed to several other cats. You may also notice scabs or scratches. They are usually caused by a few things,One is fights with other cats, then there are flea bites, and they can also scratch themselves because of fleas or ear mites.
Once he gets to the vet, make sure and give everyone an update
post #4 of 20
Poor baby. It looks like a male by the shape of his face, and it looks like at a minimum, he has some dental problems (see how the left side of his face is swollen?). Sandie is right - could be anything, but obviously parasite infected and hopefully not anything bad like FeLV or FIV. Distemper is more common in young kittens rather than adult cats (adults can fight it off more effectively). When FeLV hits a colony, it usually infects about 25% of adult cats. Not sure about the stats on FIV.

Good luck - let us know what you find out.
post #5 of 20
It makes me so sad to see such a beautiful kitty look so sick. I hope the vet can make him well.
post #6 of 20
Poor sweetie.
post #7 of 20
That sadens me really badly to see such a beautiful cat look like that . What a poor baby . That must be hard dealing with cats looking like that . It would be hard for me and would break my heart . If only people would be more responsible and do what they are suposed to do , we would not see any cats looking like that . I wish you luck with him and praying he has no FeLV or FIV
post #8 of 20
Scott he looks like a typical stray. Possible guesses from me are URI, rodent ulcers on his tongue/ broken tooth from fighting- anemia from bad nutrition/sluggish from living outdoors and having to fight for everything he can- parasites, fleas, ear mites, but his age is working for him. In the wild when they are terminally ill, they don't survive long at all. He just looks really beat up from the streets. Poor kitty. Please let us know what the vet says and definitely post after pictures in a few weeks!
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. Depending on what needs to be done, he might be put down if he can't eat due to mouth issues. We've got about 7 ferals to start, around 12-14 if you count the ones that were adopted or MIA, and we're only 2 or 3 short-timers in an apartment complex (i.e., no place to put cats, since we all have our own, and no garage or yard). If he's healthy enough to do OK on his own without much maintenance, we'll probably re-release him.

We're looking at building some shelter for them, but apparently, a few towns over, someone poisoned the cats in a similar situation.


I'm still planning on making some type of shelter - it will have to be inconspicous, something we can keep on an apartment balcony without the super or neighbors complaining. At least 6-8 cats will need to winter over successfully. Possibly something modular, so it can be assembled and disassembled without much fuss. I'll share the plans if I make it.

This guy might be salvageable, but with limited resources and many other (healthier) cats to TNR, he's got the most uphill battle when it comes to survival.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
OK - we just got the call.


Mouth cancer, FEMALE (we thought it was male the entire time). Small tumors in her mouth. Had already been spayed. (???) FELV negative.

Ten years old. The mother of some of these other ferals?

With the mouth cancer, the rescue person that we're working with gave the OK to have her put down.

R.I.P, girl.
post #11 of 20
I'm sorry that the news was bad. Thank you for taking care of homeless kitties.
post #12 of 20
Oh Scott I am sorry. But I am glad that you were there to stop her suffering quickly and make her passing easier than if she lived out on the street without someone to care for her. With deep respect I move this to Crossing the Bridge, and light yet another candle in my window. If this keeps up, my house may very well burn down.
post #13 of 20
Oh, that breaks my heart.
post #14 of 20
I'm so sorry Scott! You are doing her right by not prolonging her suffering. May her life over the bridge be a happier one. ((((*hugs*))))
post #15 of 20
Oh no I'm so sorry

At least she's not in pain anymore...
post #16 of 20
That makes me so sad.
post #17 of 20
This beautiful girl had a ruff life & it's sad to hear of this end for her, but think of how wonderful it will be for her to go to the bridge.
post #18 of 20
That is too sad to hear. RIP poor kitty.
post #19 of 20
oh that poor baby . RIP little girl
post #20 of 20
she's a pretty girl. scot, at least you were there for her during her last moments, she knew she was loved by you.

R.I.P girl
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