When I first started this blog, I intended to use it as a platform to share the stories of my feral cats with others while simultaneously educating people about TNR and feral cats. As time went on however, I noticed that whenever there was actually something to write about, I was too busy taking care of it to actually write about it. For example when I had to relocate kittens, I was too busy actually relocating them to do much writing about it. That is one of the problems of being the sole caretaker for a colony or two.
Well this week it happened again. Not relocating, just having issues to write about but no time to write about them. Last week was crazy. Marius has all but become a regular, much to the dismay of just about everyone in my house. He showed up one day last week with his fur all matted. It appeared some of his fur had been torn out and that there was a bald spot between his ear and his eye. I didn’t see any blood, but it appeared as if the fur up there was wet and slightly matted. As usual, I instantly freaked and came up with a thousand different situations and possible solutions to those situations. I vowed to keep an eye on him to make sure nothing got worse (which it hasn’t) and see if he needs medical attention. Over the weekend I noticed what appeared to be a large bald spot on his chest. I am so dismayed at this. I have to catch him and get him looked at for this. It might just be a flea allergy, or it might be something worse. The bald patch is really hard to see; he is light gray, almost silver, so his fur and skin almost blend together. I set about trying to trap him on Friday so I could take him to the vet’s office. It was a true comedy of errors. When I first set up the trap, he started to run away but was persuaded to stay by the smell of tuna. Unfortunately for me, Little Black also thought that tuna smelled delicious. Little Black has no fear of traps, I have trapped her at least three times over the years. To keep her from entering the trap and scaring Marius off, I had to provide tuna for her. By that point Mama thought she wanted some tuna as well, so I had to set out yet a third plate. All this time Marius is hanging back, watching me, wondering what is going on. Eventually I get the girls settled down and head inside to watch the trap. Luckily for me Marius walked right in to the trap (I remember him doing that the first time I caught him). Unluckily for me, he didn’t go quite far enough to trip the plate, so I have a cat in a trap and no way of setting the trap. He ate then promptly backed right out of the trap and walked away. I was standing inside doing the DANG CAT! dance of frustration. This dance involves making lots of faces, shaking my fists and pretending to slam them on things. It doesn’t actually involve a lot of movement though, because I don’t want to scare any cats away.
Marius then proceeded to make my life even more complicated. When he showed up for food on Saturday he got within touching distance of me. I put the food down, took my hand away to pest Little Black, looked up and he was standing right there. He registered this just a bit before I did and was gone before I could completely register that he was there. When I trapped him back in 2011, I questioned if he was truly feral. He walked right in the trap, he never once tore at the papers or tried to dig his way out. He sat there, very quiet and very, very scared. I thought I would give a shot at socializing him, so I went out, bought a dog cage and set him up in there. He was petrified and sat in the exact same spot, in the same position for close to 24 hours. When I tried to pet him with a wand toy he would twitch his back and move as little as possible. I finally gave up because the poor boy was clearly beyond stressed and nervous. After I let him out I heard him mewling pitifully in the yard of a then empty house. I still don’t know if I did the right thing for him. If he was someone’s pet at one point, he has the survival skills he needs. It is almost two years since I caught him and he looks amazing. I am considering trying to socialize him again; especially if I need to trap him for medical attention, this might be the perfect time to try again. I just don’t know what to do. He is not clearly a former house cat, but he is just a little too trusting of humans right away to be completely feral in my mind. I try to assess him a little more every time he comes around for food and I am still just so uncertain.
While all this was going on, I also had worries about Mama and Little Black. The little snow we had finally melted the other day, and I took advantage of a brief warm period to go on a “poop scavenger hunt” in my back yard. While I was on clean up duty I noticed that some of the stool looked softer than normal, and some looked like it had blood in it. Then I noticed the basically puddle of poop. I freaked. Oh did I freak. My poor girls must have been so upset because I just freaked. With the exception of the time I trapped her to get her spayed, Mama has NEVER gone near a trap. So getting her medical attention has been impossible. The girl needs boosters, some flea treatment and clearly some deworming. This is all quite impossible without taking her to see a veterinarian.
When I saw that puddle, I said “oh *fluff* what do I do now? I can’t get her in to the vet? I don’t even know which one of them it belongs to? Well, they should both get treated probably, but that is still going to be impossible if I need to catch Mama. And what if I need to keep her locked up in a cage? OMG this is going to be impossible!” Whether she heard me or just read my energy Mama got very upset as well. I could just sense it. I could see it in her face when I came home that night too. When I went inside and talked with my mom about it, we started to “see” all these signs that she had been sick. She is a pudgy little thing, when you look at her from behind it looks almost like she has saddle bags on. I always attributed this to the fact that she stays in her house all day and doesn’t move. That day we attributed it to worms. She has been eating less, which we also attributed to the possible worms. And suddenly her desire to stay in one place all day was because she was sick and lethargic, not because she was lazy and scared. I have calmed down, and I believe she has calmed down. I have access to deworming medicine I can give her, which will help whether or not worms are the issue here. If that doesn’t work, I will readdress the issue.
Things look much better now. Now that I am not facing trapping all three of my feral cats, or worrying about how to set up a drop trap on the deck for Mama. Now that I am looking less at the large picture and more at the smaller situation. Still lots to figure out though. How to get the medicine to Mama and Little Black. What the heck to do with Marius. How to do it all with a lack of time and money. Stay tuned, I am sure there will be more stories soon!