Sunday, July 29, 2012

How to save a cat

This is Tuxedo:

You might remember my previous posts about seeing him in the yard, breaking up fights between him and big mean gray tiger kitty, and finally starting to feed him, both outside at the food we provided for the ferals and later in the garage.  At long last, we were able to keep him in the garage and take him to the vet for shots and neutering.

This is the part where he becomes the six million dollar kitty.  I kept whispering in his ear while he was at the vet's office "Aren't you glad that your mama has a good federal pension and can afford this?"

It is so pricey to have a pet nowadays.  Just a health checkup and shots is shockingly expensive.  Since he had been on his own outside, we had to check for Feline Leukemia, Feline AIDS, heartworm and parasites before we could vaccinate him.  Luckily he was clear of all the diseases although he did have an intestinal parasite which required a few weeks' dose of Flagyl to clear up.  Now he has a clean bill of health.  

I also found a wonderful low cost spay/neuter program in the city, with caring and competent vets.  The price was so low that I added a nice donation when I paid and brought back several bags of supplies for the clinic, such as bleach, office supplies, peroxide and paper towels - and still came in at half the cost of my regular vet.  I was happy to help them because I had found out firsthand how much just neutering a cat can cost.  After the first vet bill for his shots sent me reeling I inquired how much neutering him would be and almost fainted.  But I love Dr. Mabe and won't quit using them.  I'm just trying to economize when I can.  

Then, he had a little health scare last week when he ran a fever and seemed to have a problem with one of his back legs.  He hasn't had a recurrence of either problem, but I think that he has a touch of arthritis in his back leg or a little pain from a past injury, since he got in so many fights during his stint as a stray.  The vet seemed to think he has a floating patella.  Either way, I'm glad to say he's fine now. 

The picture was taken in my den.  He came in for a little visit, although he is still living in the garage.  He dashed through the door to the kitchen last week and came face to face with my cat Molly in the dining room doorway.  When he got too close, she gave a few low moaning noises and swatted him.  He backtracked quickly, as if to say "Hey, I get it - your house.  I'm outta here!"  Then I picked him up and retreated to the garage.  He only comes in now when the doors to the den and kitchen are closed so another encounter is averted.  But a few days ago, I knew Molly was outside the den door because all he did was plant himself in front of the closed door and sniff.  When he started clawing and digging at the carpet, I had to put a quick stop to it.  He wanted through that door in the worst way.  I'm not sure how future encounters would go.

He goes outside with us, too, for a half hour in the fresh air.  This afternoon we sat on the patio but after only about 15 minutes he strolled back to the garage door and wanted in.  I have started giving him his dinner after our outside sojourns so he has something to look forward to (trying to persuade him not to wander off) and it's working.  I was afraid that after he started going outside he would disappear up the hill like he used to during his stray days but so far he likes to stay close.

I'm not sure what will happen in the future.  I don't know if we could get Molly and Tuxedo to live together harmoniously.  I don't know how good an indoor cat he would be because he has the unfortunate tendency to sink his claws into any soft surface - my next purchase is a scratching post.  And having him in the garage is inconvenient because I have to make sure he's closed in the workshop area and can't dash out the door whenever I need to take the car out, not to mention the fact that my husband uses that as his primary exit due to the shallow wide stairs I built for the kitchen door.  Nevertheless, I have committed myself to rescuing this little kitty and I will take care of him regardless.  

I would love to find a home for him where he can live indoors forever and be doted on as he deserves.  It would have to be with an experienced kitty lover because he's a little rough around the edges and doesn't have a lot of "people skills" since he's a stray.  When he's irritated he tries to interact with people like he would with other cats - snap, snap, swat, swat. I'm slowly breaking him of the habit and he's never hurt me or actually made hard contact with me, but it's a bad habit and we have to teach him better.  He also will drive you crazy dashing under your feet and almost tripping you.  But he has impeccable litter box habits (even though he is a litter kicker extraordinaire and you have to sweep around the box every morning and pick up a good 1/2 cup of litter) and is very clean and tidy.

He's a good little guy, just needs a little "polishing".  But he loves to sit in laps, something our Molly won't do, and has a "motorboat" purr that you can hear in the next county.  You have to love him.

Lucky little cat.


pcflamingo said...

My son rescued a stray kitten, raggedy, flea-bitten and half-starving in a local park. He too is a million dollar kitty and part Korat, sort of a rare breed. Dark grey with the most unusual luminous green eyes. Cloudy wants to be friends with my indoor kitty, Tigger, in the worst way but Tigger is having none of it. My son brings him over for play dates and they have progressed to the point where they growl and mostly ignore each other with occasional hissy fits. Tigger has no claws and Cloudy does, so they have to be monitored. They both take walks outside on straight-jacket like halters that the neighbors find hilarious. Good luck with your rescue kitty - hope you find a good home.

momtofatdogs said...

Congradulations! I am glad you were able to rescue him & caved to keep him. We had a beautiful tuxedo at the landfill as well as 2 other strays. 1 was a tortoise shell & the other a black striped tabby. Feral dogs either scared them off or got them. I had been feeding them for 2 years. I feel bad, I do, but we're not talking tame cats at all. Not in 2 years. But, it's a landfill & there will be more. There always is.

YOu're a hero.


Sheila said...

If you have a PetSmart with a Banfield Clinic in it, you might look into their health programs for animals. We have a dog and a cat on the programs and we pay alot less for services. Our dog plan includes dental. Plans for both include the cost of spaying and neutering. And if it's a rescue cat, the first office visit is free. We found a cat under the hood of our car a year ago and he has been a joy and a delight to us ever since. He and the dog get along fine, but our older cat will NOT tolerate him, so we have to keep them separated. Good luck!!