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Q's about feral spay recovery

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi everybody. For those of you who don't remember me, we have a small colony living on our property. Pictures of previous, current, and sometimes residents can be found in the Outside Cats album here: http://photos.yahoo.com/aswas

This coming season, it looks like we will have 4 fertile females, so we are looking to trap and spay them. I got in touch with a woman from the Feral Friends Network at AlleyCat.org. She gave me 3 places in my county that will spay ferals without needing all the shots and vet visits beforehand. Hooray!

But she brought up the question of recuperation time after the surgery. She suggested that if you just let the cat out, it will jump up 6 foot fences like they do and could tear their stitches. Of course, then what will we do! She suggested making a temporary home in a wire cage that'd include a place to sleep, food, water, and litter.

My question is: how the heck do I get in to change the litter so that the kitty doesn't run for it! Can anyone who has done this give some advice on feral spay recovery time, and how to set them up to be comfy and have what they need? Also, I was thinking of doing 2 sisters at the same time and having them share the cage for company and warmth. We have a good-sized cage we had for our dog, so it's about 5 feet by 2.5 feet or so. Any advice and tales are gladly welcomed! I need all the help I can get, but for now, I'm just in planning stages.

post #2 of 20
I don't think I would worry about changing the litter. They should be Ok with that until they recover enough to be let out. Just use a big box and lots of litter for digging.
post #3 of 20
Also - maybe the Vet could give you something to calm the kitties down for a day or two....to help heal and not be frightened so much in the cage.

I commend you for your effort in helping this outside family.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks on the reply. I guess one cat could be OK with a box for a while. Probably clean and fresh compared to parts of our yard.

As for calming, I don't believe in Western medicine, and I think it's enough of a the shock to the system to take a perfectly perfect cat, give it anaesthesia, operate, give it shots and medical tests, and send it home in confusion. I don't want to give it more drugs - their bodies surely aren't used to it, and since they won't live inside and see vets, there's no reason to get them used to it. Also, I don't want to dull their senses or make them seem more lifeless than they may be; it will scare their remaining family I'd think.

We have great homeopathic remedies and Chinese herbs for calming and pain that work very well on people as well as animals. And you don't become lifeless or catatonic or drowsy.

post #5 of 20
Debbie - I would be interested in hearing more about those remedies you talk about - I have a feral mom that is still evading capture - and want her to be more relaxed when her time comes! I have bought some Dr. Bach's rescue remedy from the health food store - but the Vet says that takes about 4 hrs to work -
Any thoughts?????????
Deb M.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
FOUR hours for Rescue Remedy to work? Was this a vet who knows alternative medicine or fears it?!!? No, it does not take four hours to work. Times will vary with different people, but we tend to notice a difference in ourselves or our animals in usually 15-30 minutes. Sometimes sooner!

We use that one certainly. We also have a product from a company called King Bio, who make homeopathic remedies in sprays. So you can spray them in your mouth or at an animal (you have to be very close). We use "911 stress control formula" mostly on our dog, who's easily excited when she sees other animals running around outside. Usually within 15-30 she's considering a nap. They also makes ones for other pains and problems like hay fever and even one I use for jaw tension.

We used Chinese herbal combinations on the same dog when she was 5 months old and we flew her (in the cabin as a carry-on) across the country. We didn't want her to bark or get excited, as she easily can, and we used "Calm Spirit" made by K'an Herbals. She got one every few hours. I use that one now and again if I feel like I may not be able to fall asleep because my mind is racing, which happens to me now and then. The feeling you get when you take it is that you just can't seem to concentrate on what was bothering you. Everything else feels fine and normal. You don't feel sluggish. But even if my mind wants to return to whatever was bothering me, it just feels disconnected.

You will also want to get arnica montana from the health food store. You can get liquid or pellets and put them in the water when she's recovering. This is a homeopathic remedy for musculoskeletal pain and trauma. We sent that remedy and one called symphytum to my sister when she broke her wrist snowboarding. So arnica is really for pain or sudden physical trauma.

My husband usually orders the things we use, so I'm not sure where to get them. But I bet if you did some Yahoo or Google searches for some of the company names I've mentioned, you should find someone selling these remedies.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions. You can also contact me via email: deb@aswas.com

post #7 of 20
Thank you Deb - very informative and helpful
post #8 of 20
I took my cats to a feral clinic and they made the incision on the cats side instead of underneath on thier stomachs. I was told that the cats heal much quicker and there is less chance of infection. Maybe one of the 3 Vets that were recomended does it like this. I had 22 ferals sprayed and neuter at this clinic and never had a problem.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
I will certainly ask about this! Thank you so much!

I've already set up the "recovery cage" made from a dog crate we already had. I put it in our garage, put in some treats and catnip, and they've been sleeping and lounging in it. That was my goal - to make it a known, comfy place so that if someone gets locked in, it's not as scary as it might be.

thanks again!

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Xerox is in the recovery cage. I just went out there to bring her food and water since it was the right time, and she was crying. This was not a meow or a purr or a coo or a growl. She was crying to be stuck in this cage. It really upset me, but I know I can't just let her out into the dirt and leaves with a fresh surgery wound. She could just be lonely since none of her family have gone into the garage to say hi (as far as I've seen).

Meanwhile, I know she needs to rest. I can't believe the vet said 10 days in the recovery cage... but then said 2 would be great too. I think we'll manage 2, but I'm not sure if we can do more. She's very sad and had obviously been trying to tear up the place. Maybe some food and water will help. Yes, she has a tiny litter box in there too as well as a scratching post.

post #11 of 20
A - she needs this and even if she crys! It is very disheartening, I know. When Scooter was literally crying for her mom, it about broke my heart. You are doing her a favor. I hope she soon relaizes it.
Keep us posted?
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
I just got home, and Xerox is being quiet in the cage and resting. She ate half of her food and used the litter box. I'll go in tomorrow morning and give her fresh food and water and clear the litter. I put some homeopathics in the water, and I think those are helping... I put in ones for emotional fear and stress as well as physical injury.

Here are 3 shots of Xerox from a month or two ago. She's a sweet little gal, but a major scaredy cat.

post #13 of 20
OMG Deb - she took my breath away! What a lovely feral family you have there. The both look so healthy and well fed and cared for. They are fortunate kits to have found you. Thank you for helping them. Every night I pray to God to help the homeless and unfortunate pets - to fill their bellies, give them warmth and touch them with His love. Your babes have found that. I am glad that she is relaxing more and feeling better.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of your kind words in all of my topics, Debra. Yes, our family is really sweet and they seem special to me. I give most of the credit to everybody's Mom, who we call Little Cat. She does an amazing job raising her babies - I can just tell. They grow up so strong, healthy, confident, and silent. The silent thing threw me for a while, but then I realised 1) cats probably have nonverbal communication down, and 2) if the cats needed anything, they might cry out. They must have all of their needs met before they need to make a sound!

My sister adopted Xerox's two living siblings, Mona and Henry, on Labour Day weekend (so they were probably 2.5 months old). I wondered if they'd always be so quiet, but immediately upon taking them to her apartment, they started meowing up a storm. Julie says they are hugely vocal, and it's funny that we ever wondered if they'd meow. They are also the most well-behaved, cuddly, and friendly cats I've ever seen in my life. Julie says that nobody - including the holistic vet and his whole staff - could believe they started out feral. They answer to their names, they smile, they want rubs and kisses all day, and the vet said it's rare that Henry likes to be held on his back and his belly rubbed. Evidently cats will lay on their back, but it takes a lot of trust for them to like being held on their back. They also like to sleep ON my sister. Actually, Mona was always the most independent; she likes to sleep next to my sister. Henry was a little bit of a momma's boy, and the only boy, and he likes to sleep on Julie's face. Julie lets him since she doesn't want him to feel rejected by telling him he can't.

As a more distant second, I credit these guys to us. My husband and I are 100% positive people, and don't allow anything negative into our lives. We don't even watch the news. We are non-judgmental, and always find the love and perfection in everything. So I think that these guys are so great partially because their human interactions haven't been laced with people's issues. They've never heard yelling or been in an unhappy or dysfunctional home or shelter. They haven't picked up on negative human vibes since we don't have any. They have the perfect world their Mom made and the one we offer.

One of the sweetest things I ever saw was Xerox rubbing up against Marble, one of the males that lives across the street and happens to be Mona's Daddy. This told me that Xerox must instinctively know that he's her Daddy too. He's not Henry's Daddy, so Xerox must know. And Marble let her rub up against him as he ate from the food we left out. It was super cute, and just showed me that there is real love and affection among this family... I just have to keep learning what it looks like!

I could talk about these guys forever. Thanks for listening!

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
My husband caught "Junior Cat" in our raccoon trap today, so she is at the vet being spayed. That's 2 of the 4 currently living in our yard. This is GREAT, especially with the neighbourhood males already prowling around.

post #16 of 20
That's wonderful news!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Wow, you cat icon looks JUST like our Mickey, one of our indoors-only brothers. Then again, we always joke that Mickey is one of the most typical looking cats ever. Our outside guys seem special to me.

post #18 of 20
That is fantastic news! You are becoming a real cat trapping professional. congratualtions!!!!!!
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
My husband trapped Junior in a raccoon trap, so he gets the credit. He said seconds after he set it up, Xerox walked right back in and got trapped. She is too silly!!! The vet said Junior was in heat, which explains all the males hanging around our place, but now she's spayed. We did get some news on her health, though. She has looked kinda bad for a month. Walking funny or limping, and holding her head to the side.

The vet said she had an advanced middle ear infection that had lots of pus and was in bad shape. He said these often get worse, go into the brain, and cause seizures. Ugh. And we can't afford a $1200 surgery. He's starting us with 7 days of liquid antibiotics, and if we can get them to her, he wants her on 2 more weeks of them after that.

The great news is that the woman upstairs, a cat lover as well, was going to take Junior in the recovery cage into her apartment to let her be warm and looked after. Just like Mason is our favourite, Junior is Barbara's favourite, and my husband and I think she should adopt her. Looks like the universe is moving in that direction since it sounds like Barbara is willing to take her for the 7 days and possibly the whole 3 weeks to see that she gets her medication. We don't want her to die or suffer, and being feral, we had NO idea what was wrong with her.

Phil and I think Junior Cat needs a home in a big way. She has one bad eye (covered by that white lid) from the herpes virus, and she doesn't hear well. I think her sense of smell is a bit off too as she doesn't seem to recognise me until I put my fingers under her nose. Truth is, she will not last as an outside cat. She can't tell where sounds are coming from, and even before this infection, she only had maybe 60% sight. So we strongly hope that Barbara will take her in since they seem to already have a bond like we do with Mason.

This is my favourite pic of Junior. She was 6 months old and loved to hang out on the garage roof with other neighbourhood ferals her age (and many looked like they were related).

In case you couldn't guess, Junior and Xerox were named for how much they look like their Mom, Little Cat. Pic of her another day.

Now we just have "Little Cat," who is everybody's mom and around 3 years old, and Mason, our 9 month old boy. I think we may need to catch Little Cat at night, keep her in the recovery cage overnight, and then bring her to the vet in the morning. We mainly only see her for dinner nowadays.

Thanks for caring about my goings-on!

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I should mention that Junior is now 1.5 years old in case I didn't mention that before. So this pic of her is from last winter a year ago when we actually had snow here. She was born in June 2000, and was the runt of Little Cat's first litter.

Junior is an interesting cat. On 25 June 2001, she had her first litter of 4 kittens. They looked really small... Junior was only about a year old. But as her Mom had also just given birth (to Mona, Henry, Xerox, and a kitty that didn't make it), Little Cat had kicked Mason, Dixon, and Junior off the area. So they went to live in the front of our house, and were not allowed where they are now (the driveway and garage). Junior let her babies die so that she could give her milk to Mason and Dixon, who were only 2.5 months old at that time. The babies dying was an emotional roller coaster for me as they didn't go quietly. The screamed for food, love, and attention and crawled all over the place. And I caught Junior eating a dead baby. What a summer!

I swear, Mason and Dixon were still drinking from Junior in October, and they were both bigger than she was. So she was a surrogate Mom to them, which I know cats will do, but we'd never expected much from Junior to be honest because of her disabilities. She took great care of Mason and Dixon, and I know Mason loves her fiercely. Dixon is currently still missing. So the main team is Mason, Junior, and Xerox, always together... for now.

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