From Feral to Almost Pussycat
Where do I start with Barnaby? hmm… Barnaby was trapped end of April 2017. Everything was routine or started out that way. When I picked him up at the clinic, I learned he had quit breathing in surgery. Yikes! Then they said he had a leg abscess and they had cut open his leg and put in stitches. Since he was feral, there was no bandage, no cone. OK, they said release him in 5 or 6 days. Day 4, Barnaby rips out the stitches and is left with a gaping wound down his foreleg. I didn’t want another surgery for him, I was afraid he might stop breathing again.
No big deal, I’ll keep him until it heals. My friend said, “you know it can take a wound like that 6-8 weeks to heal”. No, no way! Well, after 2 two weeks, Barnaby went stir crazy in his cages. I decide to turn him loose in my office while he healed. No big deal again, he is pretty well behaved, but not healing. A month later, I tricked him into a carrier and took him to Well Pet Clinic in Longmont, where Dr. DePauw will examine feral cats without knocking them out. Barnaby was wild! We chased him all over the exam room and gave up, I was bummed. We let him settle and tried to get him once more before I left. Success! We were able to give him a shot of antibiotics and blood work. Barnaby was FIV positive.
Another month in my office, I decided to keep Barnaby. I still can’t touch him. He has his own cat door and a little catio off my office now. He looks almost healed and I want him to check out the landscape so to speak, for when the big release comes.
The big day is here, Barnaby can go outside. He has made friends with Smoochy, he sneaks in his private cat door every night for treats and food. All is well! Except it isn’t. His leg goes south after about a month.
I trapped Barnaby again in my shed and it’s back to the office, except this time I look him in the eyes (I am terrified of his hiss) and tell him “I need to be able to handle you or you’re doomed.”
We started him on antibiotics, every time he hissed at me, I would squirt a dropper in his mouth. I started petting him, at first with really thick gloves and a towel. I don’t know who was more scared, I think me. After a couple weeks I was able to handle him with a towel. Back to the vets. His leg was nasty, she said he needed stitches again, but he was a bit more manageable this time.
Surgery again, even with a cone Barnaby was able to rip off his bandage twice. There were 3 times a week to the clinic for fresh bandages, his stitches came out, his leg was infected and after a month or so, we were back where we started.
Nothing was working, we did a culture and found only one antibiotic for him, a pill. I freaked out. “You think I can give him a pill? He’s in a cone, I can’t,” but I did or we did. We made it fun. Barnaby got his cone off, neck scratched and chicken broth, I pilled him without getting scratched. He had been in this cone for about 5 weeks now and still not healing.
Someone told me about laser therapy for wounds. I started taking Barnaby to
Colorado Center for Animal Pain Management for laser. He was Dr. Landry’s first cat patient at the new clinic. I love this place! Barnaby has been receiving laser for two months now, about 3 times a week. Currently he still has his cone, but the wound has gone from large and festering to tiny as I write this. He is playful and no longer in pain. I can now carry him around, scratch his belly and he sleeps with me, cone and all. Feb. 4th he will hit his 3 month anniversary for cones-ville. The vet says he’ll be healed in time for Valentines day, please let it be earlier! I don’t know which of us will be happier when the cone comes off, probably Barnaby. I am sure the adventure will continue.