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I feel awful! How could this happen?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure if this is the place to air my experience but I'm really upset about this and was looking for some input or information.
A week ago last Saturday, a grey/white/black tabbie showed up at our house while I was working outside. He was very affectionate and lovable. He had no collar and seemed to be a house cat because he kept trying to enter the house. As I have 3 cats, I was hesitant to let him in the house in case he was sick and didn't want to expose my cats to a strange animal (even though they have up-to-date shots). I fed him and gave him some water and attention and then he disappeared. I then saw him on the Monday, again I fed him and began to think of what action I should take because I obviously was lost and didn't seem to be an outdoor cat. Monday (three days after I first saw him) I decided that perhaps he was lost and his owner was looking for him (he appeared neutered so he must of had an owner at some point). I called our local humane society to ask about their "kill policy". They indicated that they did not hold the animals for any specific length of time, that it depended on their health and whether or not they were adopted. I was assured that if I brought him in I could leave my name and number and if he wasn't adopted and was in danger of being euthanized that they would call me first and we could pick him up. I called that Friday just to check on him and was told that he was fine and that he had not been adopted yet. Much to my horror, this morning (Monday) I received a message on my answering machine that he a contracted distemper and had to be euthanized! I was stunned, they said that the disease was "going around" and that he may have contracted it in the shelter or he may have been infected before he arrived. I feel just awful! Although I was too stunned to ask any questions at the time, I have so many now, like Why was he not quarantined? (to protect him and the other cats). Is it possible that he could be fine on Friday and then so bad off that he had to be euthanized on Monday? I've done some research on the disease and it seems that a cat who had been neutered (he was also declawed)probably would of had the usual immunization shots. Shouldn't that have provided him immunity?
Anyway, I'm very frustrated at the whole situation and I feel extremely guilty about delivering this poor animal to an organization that I thought would properly care for him and hopefully reunite him with his owner. (although the owners show lack of responsibility by at the very least not have a ID collar on him).
I would appreciate any input into this matter, unless it's to condemn me for doing what I thought was the best thing for the cat, I already feel horrible enough about it.
post #2 of 7
Joetee - You did what you thought was BEST for this kitty - do NOT blame yourself. I do not know about the distemper - but I know you will get other responses here tht can answer that question. Just know that you did the best that you could.
post #3 of 7
Depending on the age of the cat distemper can hit in hours, and cats can fail quickly. It is a sad fact in the animal world. If the cat came in contact with anything in your home, dishes, the front stoop, the rail??? wherever- you need to scrub those areas with Chlorox Bleach, no other kind, and scrub well to kill the virus. It is possible at the shelter that they were just so overloaded they didn't follow protocol and kitty slipped through the cracks, but the 2 shelters near me always quarantine but that also limits their capacity for taking in new animals. I am sorry that you had this experience but your were kind to feed this cat when he needed it.
post #4 of 7
Please don't blame yourself. If anything, it proves that you may have saved your own cats' lives but not letting him in. You can talk to the shelter people again and ask about their quarantine policy so you'll know for next time.

The people who are to blame are the irresponsible owners who first declawed a cat and then managed to lose him (or abandon him?). I'm glad you fed him, as being declawed he was unable to hunt or compete over food sources with other cats on the streets.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you to everyone for the replies to my first posting, it really helped with how if felt about the entire experience. I've since asked more question of the Humane Society where he was taken and I guess there has been a real outbreak of the Panieukopenia (feline distemper) in our area. Unfortunately, Windsor, Ontario Canada (where I live) has a high stray cat population, which has allowed this disease to spread. Luckily, the city is implementing a new program which will require cat owners to register their cats and purchase a licence (much like with dogs) and then more control and penalties can be placed on owners that simply neglect their animals. Thanks again so much, I'm really glad that I found this site and I've also volunteered at the Humane Society that I brought the poor animal to. At first I was very upset with them, but then I thought that feeling that way won't change anything and maybe by volunteering I can help make a difference. Thanks again everyone.
post #6 of 7
for volunteering. I look forward to your next post telling us about a kitty you saw at the shelter that grabbed your heart.
post #7 of 7
Hissy is right you know - One will jump right out at you and next thing you know, they will be home with you!
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