Well, Red wasn’t getting any better and wasn’t keeping anything at all down; he gakked it back up within seconds of swallowing it. Even little flakes of tuna and you know how small those can be.
Yesterday on our walk, I came up with a fairly good idea for catching Red. We’ve got traps, Brian has special trapper’s gloves, made with Kevlar, we’ve even got a net to catch animals (which is still in the original shipping packaging, never opened). And it didn’t involve a lot of effort on either of our parts. If it worked, that is.
One of the traps we have has two doors. The trap door, of course and on the other end a door that slides up and can be removed. I thought maybe it would work if we placed it in front of the cat door between the house and the garage. Brian brought it in yesterday afternoon, and I took it over and put it in front of the cat door opening, to see about the size. I don’t think he realized exactly what I’d been talking about until he saw this. It would need a couple of inches of board under it to lift it to the proper height, but it would work.
He took the door off, put the boards under it, I put a towel on the bottom and got one of those plastic covered wire thingies that come wrapped around stuff with cords and set the trap door up and attached it to the top of the trap. Then Brian put it up against the door. Perfect.
Now, would the cats use it or avoid it like a flea treatment? The answer….they actually liked it. A little while after we’d set it up, a couple of cats had taken residence in the trap.
click for a larger pic
We shooed them out and eventually, Red came in and went back out, using the trap. We left to do some shopping, then came home.
Not long after we got home, we got hit by a pretty strong thunderstorm, not something we get too often. The cats were freaking out and most of them were inside. There was a lot of rain, a lot of wind and a lot of thunder noise. Pete was terrified, just sitting in the hallway, crying. Shortly after 6:30, I got all of the remaining cats in.
The plan was for me to be in the garage and let Red think I was going to try to get him, he’d go through the door and the trap door would be closed so he couldn’t go all the way through. Brian would be waiting to shut the sliding door on the trap and we’d have us a feral cat who was in dire need of vet care in the trap. It didn’t work last night, Red didn’t go into the house, he went into the rafters. We figured we’d try again this morning, when we were all fresh.
Imagine my surprise to see Red sleeping in the trap this morning. And his breathing was worse. He’d started breathing through his mouth, not much, but he was breathing through his mouth. Not a good sign. Both of the doors were wide open, so we hadn’t caught him, but he was comfortable in it. We were up kind of late last night (for us, anyway) and Brian slept in. When he got up, he took a shower and ate breakfast. I said “you want to try now?” He said “if you do”.
I got Red to go back in the garage. I walked around the outside of the house and into the garage, shutting the door behind me. Red was in there. When I saw him making a move to go into the rafters, I turned on the fan we’ve got up there. He didn’t go up. He went under a table, then behind it. It took a couple of minutes and he went into the house. Into the trap. And Brian was ready, shut the trap door.
Brian threw a towel over it, because Red started panicking, but soon settled down. We checked in at the vet’s at 9:40 this morning.
We explained to three different people, the last the vet, the situation. About his life here, about the recent history. That Red wouldn’t attack, but he would do anything it took to not be held. Which is why he was there in a trap. I told her he was probably dehydrated at this point.
We discussed options. Obviously, Red would have to be sedated before they could do anything (I hope he survives it). They will take a blood panel and test for organ function and also test for FIV/FeLV. (While the vet was out getting the estimate ready, Brian said why bother testing for FIV since we know the exposure is there; well, if Red has mouth ulcers and he’s FIV+, chances are he’s near the end, so there would be a valid reason for this test.) Red will get subQ fluids (because of the likelihood of dehydration).
For Brian and me, the best case scenario is dehydration with a viral infection that has hit his throat, which can be cured with antibiotics. We decided that if this was the case, we’d bring him home and he’d be put in a crate and I’d add the meds to his food. Worst case is something growing that doesn’t belong there, like polyps or a cancerous tumor. If he has either of those, or he’s FeLV+, we’ll help him to the bridge. Like Brian told the vet, if it’s something that will need repeated trips to the vet, we can’t do it. Not because of us, but because of Red.
We were amazed at how laid back he was. I don’t know if it’s because he wasn’t frightened to death or because he just doesn’t have the energy to do anything other than lay there. He actually started purring, but we both kept in our minds that cats also purr when their in pain.
It was sad to see him taken out of the room, but it has to be done. No matter what happens, we do know he’ll be out of his discomfort one way or the other.
Keep your fingers crossed that he comes home in a carrier and not a box.
Red, Thursday night (click for a larger pic)
The vet hospital just called, Red’s ready to be picked up. The vet wants to speak with us, but Red can come home.
Since we were pretty clear on the fact that we didn’t want to be making multiple trips with him, I’m hoping she’s got good news for us.
We’re home, have been for a couple of hours. Red’s fine, with the exception of his teeth. That’s why he can’t eat and is gakking whatever back up. We would have left him there for a dental, but their dental person only works Monday through Friday, Monday is a holiday and she schedules her own appointments. *sigh* So, I have to wait until Tuesday to call and make an appointment for the dental.
His teeth will be cleaned, they’ll check out his ear and he might have some teeth pulled.
Right now, he’s in the big dog crate. We left him in the trap until Brian got the crate and he had to clean it, since he didn’t wash it before putting it up the last time we used it. When it was dry enough, I folded a big towel and put that in the back, put a disposable pee pad in the front, which is where the litter pan is. I use disposable pans for litter (they’re pretty cheap at CostCo).
This is the same crate we used for Lonee, so it’s got the shelf that a cat can hang out on in the back. Brian also strung a cord across the very top on the inside, so I can hang a towel down, which gives the cat some privacy in the back of the crate.
I just put a bowl of Fancy Feast tuna feast flavor inside, hoping that he’ll eat some of it, without interference from the other cats. The vet remarked that from what she saw on the x-rays, that he hadn’t eaten in a while. I know they’re probably pretty unhappy, but so what. They’ve been getting a ton of junk food this past week. Later on, I’ll take out what’s left of the Fancy Feast and try some of the Hill’s A/D I keep on hand. I sure hope we can get his appetite back up. By being in the crate, besides being nuisance free when he eats, I can see exactly how much he eats. And being in the crate, the food won’t be gone in sixty seconds if he needs a little longer to eat as much as he likes.
He did get subQs, so I know that should help him to feel a little better. Poor guy.
So, keep your fingers crossed we can get him in early next week. I’d hate to have him have to spend one minute more than necessary in the crate.