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Another Abandoned Cat

Well, I currently have what appears to be a once very beautiful tortoise shell kitty drying out on my bathroom rug.  Poor kitty was absolutely filthy and you can feel every bone in her emaciated little body.  When I picked her up I was afraid I'd crush her.  She appeared at my brother's office last week, trying to get in and crying and rubbing on people when they came outside.  She was wearing a flea collar but I think it was just a remnant of her former life, before being abandoned outside to fend for herself.  She is a full grown cat but must have been outside for some time as she can't weigh more than 4 or 5 pounds. 

Right now I'm waiting to take her to my backup vet, who agreed to slide me in at 3:00p.m.  Please cross your fingers or light a candle for my new ward, that she doesn't have feluke or kitty HIV.  I'm going to try and nurse her back to health if it isn't already too late for her.  If any of you have any advice for me regarding nursing her back to health I would most appreciate it.  I have never taken care of a cat that is in this bad a condition before.  :'( 

EDIT: one other thing, her paws turn outward, like she's pigeon-toed when she walks.  Does anyone know anything about this??  Could it be some kind of joint abnormality?

Oh, poor kitty!  I'm glad she found a safe place!

Is she eating?  If she's gobbling up food, then you should be able to get her back to health pretty quickly.  If she's not eating, your vet will likely have some advice about this--she might need some meds to get to feeling better before she feels like eating.

Some things to fatten her up--KMR (kitten milk replacement) is a very high calorie formula that people feed to kittens that need to be bottle fed.  It's chock full of nutrients and you can give this to her to drink in addition to food.  I think you can get it at pet stores; if not, your vet should sell it.  Get the powdered kind--it'll last longer because you just mix what you need, so it doesn't go bad.  Get her a high-quality kitten/cat food.  Felidae is pretty high in fat as is Solid Gold.  Canned food will help get her hydrated and get calories in her quickly.  Again, go for a premium food with no by-products or fillers.  Don't buy canned food with "water sufficient for processing" listed on there--that's just filler.  Look for something with real meat (chicken, turkey, duck, etc.) and meat broths (chicken or turkey broth).

Also, get her a multivitamin and some vitamin E and C supplements--this will help her poor immune system get back into working order.  You can just get the multivitamin at a pet store and E and C at a drug store--give her about 250mg of C daily and a few drops of a liquid vitamin E.

I'm assuming that you're keeping her away from your other cats--if not, keep her away in case she does have FeLV or FIV. 

I would also wait to vaccinate her until she's gained weight and is back to good health.  If your vet wants to do it now, wait.  She could have some bad side effects because her body's in bad shape.  If your cats are healthy, then she will be fine unvaccinated until she's feeling better.

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EDIT: one other thing, her paws turn outward, like she's pigeon-toed when she walks.  Does anyone know anything about this??  Could it be some kind of joint abnormality?

Is she polydactyl (six-toed)?  http://www.thecatgallery.com/images/salem-polydactyl.jpg

They can look pigeon-toed if they are polydactyl, and a lot of torties have polydactyly (I think?).  Does she limp at all?

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She is eating, but I was afraid to give her too much food because I don't know how her little body will handle it after what appears to be a lengthy starvation.  Any advice on how much I should give her?  She is currently locked in my bathroom away from my other kitties.

Thanks so much for the feeding advice and especially for the tip about the vaccination.  The vet tech did tell me that they won't see her unless she has had a rabies shot.  I didn't fully describe the cat's condition to the tech so I'll definitely talk to the vet about it when I get there.  I just hope I'm not too late to save her.  She is so sweet and so pitiful.  It breaks my heart to think of what she's been through.

I'm going to go in and count toes now.

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Six toes!!  Thanks K!

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Aww--I love six-toed kittehs! 

My mom nursed a baby kitten back to health who was skinny scrawny and just let him eat to his heart's content.  I think you'd be fine just leaving food out for her but if you have the time, I would offer a few (maybe 3-4) small meals throughout the day, consisting mostly of canned food if you can since she is likely just as dehydrated as she is starving.  Don't feed more than a can a day, but supplement this with the formula and a dry food.

Giving a starved cat a rabies shot is ridiculous.  Gar...hopefully your vet will be better about this.

It sounds like she's still very friendly and alert if she's eating, so if she's negative for FeLV and FIV, she should be good to go.  I've seen a number of emaciated dogs come into work and they are just that--starving, not ill.  Let's hope a little food and love is all this kitty needs  :-*

Let us know what your vet has to say today and how she's doing!

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oh my goodness im so glad you have her with you now. Poor baby. I also like poly cats! They are so cute!

Have you removed the flea collar from her neck? I know in the past my cats got sick from flea collars. If she has fleas it wont be doing any good. If she does not have fleas, she certainly wont get them in your bathroom. Im glad you are taking her to the vet. Good Luck and keep us updated!

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oh my goodness im so glad you have her with you now. Poor baby. I also like poly cats! They are so cute!

Have you removed the flea collar from her neck? I know in the past my cats got sick from flea collars. If she has fleas it wont be doing any good. If she does not have fleas, she certainly wont get them in your bathroom. Im glad you are taking her to the vet. Good Luck and keep us updated!

Yes, definitely remove the flea collar--good point VHZ!  Those things are awful--I can't believe places still sell them.  They don't work and they make animals sick.

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Oh my!  I'm so glad you found her and are able to help her.  Please fill us in on the vet appointment.

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I didn't want to read this thread, because I was afraid it would be sad. I don't want to hear another heartbreaking story about an abandoned cat. but things sound like they're going well! and I'm so glad.

kudos to you storm, for taking in this little patient.

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Good luck!  It's such hard, tireless work.  We'll be thinking about you.

PS - I'm in the process of re-homing about 15 ferals to a farm, so I understand what you're going through!
PPS - A message from the MDVegan Rescue Cats...

Thanks, Storm!  :)>>>
signed,
:cat:      :cat:    :cat:          :cat:          :cat:      :cat:          :cat:            :cat:
baxter, tucker, voodoo, tony danza, houdini, gizmo, lemon pepper, and anubis

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my abandoned kitty is sitting on my lap...
http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/7584/img9033gq6.jpg

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Poor  Gato!

don't give up hope, tortoise shells are abnormally hearty breeds.
I have a tortoise shell named Stella Luna who was born post-placenta, just straight out the back like an after thought. She was so bitty we didn't think she was even a fully formed feline, but it turns out she is much more than we ever could have imaged. She wakes me up religiously at 6:00 every morning, (I stopped using my alarm clock a year ago) and I swear to god she understands English. She also watches the news with me, both eyes glued to the television.

Maybe try feeding the kitty some warm cream or milk through a bottle, and plenty of water.

There are these cat vitamins that I've discovered (My little Stella inhales them) called "Greenies" that are supposed to be the equivalent of a multivitamin for cats.

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Maybe try feeding the kitty some warm cream or milk through a bottle, and plenty of water.

Stay away from milk for cats--most are lactose intolerant and it gives them diarrhea (this poor kitty sure doesn't need diarrhea).  You can give them lactose-free milk, though.

Stella Luna sounds charming, btw  :)>>>

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How's she doing Storm?  I've been thinking about your new kitty all day  :)>>>

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Thanks everyone, for all the good wishes.  Here is the update:

The poor little girl is suffering from arthritis, malnutrition, anemia, dehydration, and perhaps beginning kidney failure.  The vet believes she may be 14 -15 years old!  She said it was unlikely that she could be turned around and recommended that I take her to the county to have her put to sleep.  I brought her home for the night so that her last day here would be a pleasant one: with wet food, a warm blanket to sleep on, and lots of love. 

It was a very difficult night for my daughter and me.  We got up extra early this morning to spend more time with her.  I felt horrible as I drove to animal control, it just felt wrong.  When I got there at 9:00am, it turned out that they had changed their hours for accepting surrendered animals to 11:00am.  I took that as a sign.  I am going to ignore the vet's recommendation and see if I can't save this sweet old girl.

Right now she is in my kitchen enjoying a tiny serving of chicken liver.  As much as I hated to buy them, liver has a lot of iron and I thought it might help with her anemia.  She's drinking and eating and purring like a motor boat.  She has peed and pooed.  I don't believe that she is suffering (anymore).  She may only have a few days or a few weeks, but they are going to be good ones no matter what.  I'll post a picture of her when my daughter gets home (she's the one who knows how to download from the camera to the computer).

I removed the flea collar immediately.  If anyone has anymore advice for me I'd be most grateful for it.  I've taken in other people's abandoned pets for years, but never one this sick.  Thank you all again, for the kind words.

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I think it was a sign, Storm.  Thank you for giving this kitty a chance!  If she's eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping, then she's not dying just yet.

My parents actually have a cat who is 14 that was diagnosed with kidney failure about 6 months ago.  They told us to enjoy our time with her because she might not live long.  Well, after we got her rehydrated and changed her diet, her coat is more beautiful than it's ever been (she's long haired and always got mats, but she has been mat-free since the diet change) and she runs around the yard with my parents' one year old cats.  My dad hides her toys all over the house and she finds them throughout the night and leaves them in the living room--she's like a kitten again.  So, kidney failure is not necessarily a death sentence.

My parents are feeding all of their cats Innova dry kibble and then they all get about 1/3 can of AvoDerm chicken formula in the evening.  It's essential that you feed this kitty some food with a high moisture content (such as canned food or freshly cooked chicken or liver) and limit her kibble intake as much as you can.  Vets usually recommend Science Diet k/d  for cats with kidney failure since it's low protein and reduces the load on the kidneys, but this is sh*tty food.  We found that feeding a high quality food (even if the protein amount is higher) is a MUCH better option.  Cats have a high protein requirement (that is best satisfied with meat--please don't anyone start a debate on this right now; we need to get this kitty better!), and it's important that all of her body is running it's best.  I would definitely get her some kitten formula because it will be high in iron, high in calories, and will help fatten her up.

I think this kitty has a shot--the malnutrition, anemia, and dehydration can all be remedied with good, moist food; the arthritis may not be reversible, but her joints might also be sore because she doesn't have anything to cushion them--fattening her up might help with this.  And the kidney failure, well, you'll just have to wait and see, but if she's anything like my Lacie, she might just live a few more (happy) years :)

I have to run my cat to the vet right now, but PM me or shoot me an email at kimberly dot buettner at gmail dot com if you want.  I'm so glad this kitty found you, and I bet she is, too :)

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Thanks so much K.  I'm actually mad at myself for starting to take the vet's advice in the first place, but she used those "it's the kindest thing you can do" words on me.  Maybe it seemed that way yesterday, but today I see a different cat.  A happy cat.  This was not a vet that I have used before, she was just a backup because my regular vet closes at 12:30pm on Mondays and I couldn't get her in there.  I've already called him and made an appointment to bring her in Thursday and I'll see what he says. 

Thanks for letting me know about the Greenies, Weasel.  I'll get some of those tonight.

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I think a lot of times vets advocate for euthanasia because they don't want to make people feel guilty for spending $$ if the vet thinks there isn't much hope.  I think there's hope.  She might not even have kidney failure--a blood test is how to diagnose that.  She could be really scrawny because of KF or because of starvation.  And like I said, even if it is KF, it's not hopeless.

When you see the other vet on Thursday, you might want to see if he could give her subcutaneous fluids.  If she's really dehydrated, these fluids will perk her right up and might speed her recovery.

Give her lots of love from all of us and let us know how she's doing periodically :)

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We have Houdini on FerroFood, Tang Kwei Gin, and Astragalus for anemia.  

She also takes Amino B-Plex, Yucca, Fish Oil, a pro-biotic and Colostrum for inflammatory issues / general health.  We also take her in for a B-12 injection every 14 days.  She eats scrambled eggs (from a local farm), alfalfa sprouts, and EVO cat food.

She still has good and bad days, but it's been 4 months since she got sick and she's hangin' in there.

For fleas (if she has any) try neem.  For worms, black walnut.

Here's some info on CRF and kitties http://www.holisticat.com/crf.html

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I think a lot of times vets advocate for euthanasia because they don't want to make people feel guilty for spending $$ if the vet thinks there isn't much hope. 

That is SO TRUE!  When Houdini was hospitalized, every day it was something along the lines of 'we know you've done more than 99.9% of people would do and no one would fault you if you wanted to let her go.  blah blah blah.'  Yes, her care is expensive (we're over $6,000 right now) but she's my baby.  I'd do it for any of them. 

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