Friday, February 7, 2014

Feline Friday: Pickles and Ice Cream get fixed

Pickles and Ice Cream

Pickles and Ice Cream had their day at the vet. I took them together because they are friends - whenever anything scares timid Ice Cream, Pickles runs up alongside her to make sure everything is ok. Pickles actually made a narrow escape the first time I shut the trap, and I thought I'd never get him in the cage again. Well, I had to wait a whole 5 minutes, and the little porker crammed himself in the trap again, shoving another cat out so he could eat. :) So for those of you about to try out TNR, don't worry - cats are VERY motivated by food. Pickles also had the cutest meow while in the cage, a kind of "ow-ow, mrow-ow?"

I went to SNAP this time, a local organization that does low-cost spay and neuter. They were very busy - we had to wait an hour in the morning at drop-off, and another hour in the evening at pick-up. The vet techs were all very nice, patient, and ready to answer questions. The desk is well-organized but the waiting room feels chaotic with all the barking dogs. But it wasn't a terrible experience- I met other cat people and we swapped stories. I learned I'm not so bad off - other people said they had 20-30 abandoned cats in their lawns, and one lady said people leave nursing kittens in her mailbox. Unbelievable. But they had all taken it upon themselves to fix, feed, and try to find homes for all the cats that wandered into their lawn. I thought that was wonderful.

Since Pickles is male, the vet techs told me to keep him in at least one night. Ice Cream is female, so they asked that she stay in at least 3 nights. I gave them both food and water but neither of them ate or drank the first night.

Pickles, post-snip
A happy, calm Pickles, post-snip

Pickles started meowing up a storm early the next morning. I fed him and gave him water and he peed everywhere (seriously, there was a puddle under the pee pad). I tried moving the cage to the garage, but he really started thrashing and I was afraid he'd hurt himself, so I let him out. He was immediately calm, scarfed down everyone else's food, drank a ton of water, and took a walk with Brother and Freckles. I was worried, but he came back for dinner, and was the sweetest he has ever been. He let me pet him for the first time, and was purring like crazy. He is a completely different cat - so loving and sweet.

Little Ice Cream
Little Ice Cream, post-snip

Ice Cream stayed in her cage - very quiet -eating her food and drinking water, but she never moved while I was in the room, which worried me. On the third morning I moved her into a small kennel with a litterbox, because she'd been holding it all this time, poor thing. When I put food and water in the kennel she gave me warning meows and hisses, but she never scratched me or tried to run out. I turned her kennel to face a window and she seemed entertained by the activity outside. That night I sat next to her on the couch and watched Doctor Who, while she watched me watch Doctor Who. After an hour of my quiet presence, she relaxed, got up and moved around the kennel, ate and drank water, groomed herself, and took a nap.

Ice Cream, post-snip

In addition to being really quiet and calm inside, Ice Cream was also resourceful with her litter box that night. When she decided she didn't have enough litter to work with, she carefully shredded the plastic sheet outside the kennel into thin strips, and laid it on top of the litter. It was pretty amazing! :) When I released her she actually didn't want to leave the kennel. So I left a cat bed in there with the door open should she want to retreat there. I think she would make an excellent, very mellow, if distant, indoor cat.

This experience also cemented the fact for me that the humane traps are not traumatic for the cats - but I did take the time to leave food for them in the cages for a week or 2 before. Even right after being released, the same cats would walk right into the cages to eat. I think they must find the close quarters comforting, and it gives them a feeling of security to eat in there.

Other good news! The orange tomcat returned - right after I decided to take him to the vet, he disappeared for a few days and I feared the worst. But when he reappeared he was clean, his matted fur had been brushed and washed, the scab on his head had been attended to and was healing. There is a good Samaritan in the neighborhood who did all this. I'll do my part by feeding him whenever he appears, keeping an eye on his scar, and hopefully getting him fixed. I hope I can find this other caretaker so we can be partners in his care.

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