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Stray Cat Advice

(10 Posts)
janeyjampot Tue 23-Oct-12 12:08:25

I've been feeding a stray cat for 6 months. I found him in my garden eating bird food and decided to feed him. Over the 6 months he has become a different cat - from being filthy, starving, and terrified of people to washing himself and coming into our house for meals. He's quite affectionate, but very much on his own terms. Although he comes in, he is still very nervous and we have never tried to close the door behind him - he runs out if anything unexpected happens.

About 2 months ago I tried to catch him as he had an eye infection. He bit me a few times and we had to abandon the attempt as there was quite a lot of blood (mine!). The eye infection cleared up quickly but he could do with a trip to the vet for neutering/worming/vaccinations.

I just called a vet to ask how we might go about bringing him in - obviously I can't make an appointment for him because I never know when he'll turn up - and they said that if I do bring him in, they'll test him for a number of infections and if the tests come back positive they'll put him down. This seems quite a risk to me. I've become very fond of him and would hate to see him put down when he seems healthy and is becoming tame.

Does anyone know how common it is for cats to be put down in these circumstances? I'm trying to assess how much of a risk it is. On the other hand I don't want him to suffer (he doesn't seem ill) or for him to have to live outside all winter. Obviously he could be a risk to other cats but we live on a busy road and there aren't many around.

Toughasoldboots Tue 23-Oct-12 12:14:32

Could you try another vet and say that he is yours? On the other hand it will be quite difficult to explain the whole situation.
Surely they can't put him down without your permission?

I think cats protection league have humane traps for catching and neutering feral cats, would it be worth asking them for help?

cozietoesie Tue 23-Oct-12 12:38:25

Well, janey. If he's been coming to yours for all his meals for 6 months and he was a mess before but now is better - I reckon he's your cat! (Subject to vet finding a chip etc.)

I'd second the asking for help from CPL who might be delighted to give it knowing that they won't have to home him. You could just ask for the loan of a humane trap although I'd be inclined myself to sweet talk them and ask them to actually come and check the trap so that he doesn't associate your voice with his 'predicament'. (If you do the deed yourself, and you may wish to, just don't talk too much while he's in there.)

Best of luck.

PS - if he recovered himself quickly from an eye infection and has been living rough (but still alive) for all this time, I would doubt he has anything major.

janeyjampot Tue 23-Oct-12 14:07:04

Thank you. That is reassuring. I talked to the CPL originally and they recommended this vet - there is actually another one closer. I suppose I am torn between not wanting a vet to think I've mistreated him - for all the improvement he still looks quite rough - and being afraid of them putting him down. If they said he had FIV I guess the alternative would be to keep him inside all his life and that probably wouldn't be fair, given his outdoor existence so far.

I just opened the back door and he came running over to be stroked and actually purred for the first time ever. I reckon he's my cat too smile

cozietoesie Tue 23-Oct-12 14:23:51

Well it's not impossible of course. He could have caught something recently or just have a great constitution and fending something off from visible effects. Look on the hopeful side, though.

janeyjampot Mon 07-Jan-13 07:50:57

Just coming back to say thank you for this advice. He is definitely our cat now. He turned up at the back door in December bleeding from a couple of cuts to his ear and lower eyelid, so I caught him, cleaned him up a little, and took him to the nearer vet. They carried out a proper assessment of how he was and what he would need - worming, vaccinations, neutering - and I brought him back the next day for his treatment. He's been living with us for about 3 weeks now and is having his final vaccinations tomorrow. He turned out not to have any of the diseases we were worried about, despite being in a high-risk category, being male, stray and a prolific fighter.

cozietoesie Mon 07-Jan-13 15:52:56

Oh that is good news.

smile

issey6cats Mon 07-Jan-13 21:02:12

aww glad to hear i had a stray cat i was feeding (was dumped 2 years before when owners left our cul de sac) he got on with my cats in the garden but couldnt get near him to get him into the house and suddenly he dissapeared am so sad to think something may have happened to him will probably never know

cozietoesie Mon 07-Jan-13 21:30:26

Think positive, issey - maybe he found a forever home like janey's cat.

janeyjampot Tue 08-Jan-13 08:29:31

I hope he found a home, Issey. I have to say that Bert is unrecognisable as the stray cat we used to see in the garden. When I first saw him he was filthy (he's white but he was yellow and matted all over) and his head seemed massive in proportion to his skinny body. You could see all his ribs and he was constantly fighting. Now he looks great - pure white, and his body is the right size for his head. He keeps himself really clean and doesn't seem to be fighting at all anymore. I doubt that my neighbours know that he is the same cat.

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