TD78
Hello everyone.  I am having a very, very difficult time with this!  I have been feeding a Feral Cat for a few months .... he just showed up one day ... sitting on my deck looking in at me.  I felt bad because he was skinny ... so I started setting food outside for him.  At that time, I did not know if he was male of female ... but eventually I was able to see that he was definitely male who was not neutered. 

At first, he used to come every few days for food ... and then I would not see him for a few days to a week at a time.  Then, about 2 months ago ... he started coming more often and he just started staying under my deck outside.  I started feeding him twice a day at that point ... trying to get him to gain some weight.

Then, about 3 weeks ago ... I noticed his one eye was blood red ... so I looked around and found a Clinic that I could take him to.  I contacted them, they told me what to do.  So, I went out and bought a trap.  They told me to just start sitting the trap outside a few days before his appointment, so that he could start getting used to the trap.  They told me to NOT put food in the trap until the day before his appointment, which was: October 24th.

Well, I set the trap out on October 21st, and he went into it that day, with no food even being put into it yet.  I think he was trying to stay warm ... because it has gotten cold here ... and I had a blanket wrapped around the trap just in case he would go into it at night, I didn't want him to get cold.

So, because he had gone into the trap a few days early.. I contacted the clinic and they were full, so could not take him early.  She told me I could go buy a dog crate, and transfer him into that.  So, that is what I did.  I bought a medium sized dog crate ... put in a nice fluffy blanket ... and a small cat litter box.  Transferring him into the crate took a few hours, because he was feral and could not be handled.

The first 2 days I was really stressed because he had diarrhea and I did not know how to clean out the crate because he was not using the litterbox at first.  Well, then ... I started being able to clean the crate while he was eating ... I would switch out the bedding and clean up the mess while he at and he never knew ... or he just didn't care.  He never saw me doing it because of where I put his food so he was facing the other way.

Anyway, the appointment day came ... and I took him to the Clinic.  She said he had Glaucoma in his right eye ... but she did not have time to neuter him and remove his eye and clean his teeth that day.  She did not want to put him under Anesthesia 2 times in 2 weeks.  So, I went back to pick him up .. and scheduled the appointment for November 6th with the clinic to get all of that stuff done.

Well, I had him in my garage ... because I already have 3 cats ... and my garage was smelling so bad!  There was a bad smell coming from this feral cat and we thought it was from his bad teeth in his mouth.  I felt bad for the cat ... and did not want him to wait until November 6th to get this stuff done.  So, I called my Vet that I take my cats to.  So, the Feral Cats appointment with my Vet was Wednesday, October 29th at 8:30 AM.

Since the cat could not be handled ... they had to put him into a gas chamber device to sedate him.  I had to go to school ... so the Vet said they would sedate him, then test him for FIV/FeLV.  I found a woman that would take this Feral Cat for her Barn ... IF he was FIV/FeLV negative.  So, the plan was ... if he was negative, I would have him neutered, have his one eye remove, get his vaccines done and de-worm him.  I would keep him until he was all healed up ... and then I was going to take him to this lady, where she would keep him in a crate for a few weeks, so that he could get used to his new surrounding on this farm, inside the barn.

Well, I drop the cat off at my Vet at 8:30 AM on Wednesday and then I went to school.  The Vet called me right before I was getting ready to go into school.  She said ... the Cat was FIV Positive.  I was like noooooooooo!!  She said yeah .. and she said he was severely anemic, and his glaucoma and bad teeth were from the FIV.  She also said that he had an abscess on the left side of his face ... which could not be seen because his fur was covered over it ... but that is what the really bad smell coming from his was.

I wanted to try to save him ... get the abscess fixed up, remove his right eye ... get his mouth taken care of ... but since I could not find anyone to take this cat if he was FIV/FeLV Positive ... I did not know what to do!  I knew I couldn't keep him because I already have 3 cats ... 2 of which my landlord does not even know about.  The Vet told me that I could not release him back outside because he was FIV positive.  The Vet said she thinks the best thing for him ... would be to put him to sleep.

I asked her if I could have some time to decide ... but she said since the Cat could not be handled, since he was feral ... she would euthanize him right now ... while he was still under sedation.  So, it was so hard for me ... but then I just agreed to have him put to sleep. 

I am regretting this decision and it's all I keep thinking about!  I keep thinking I should have tried to fix him up.  I never knew about FIV ... but now that I have been reading up on it ... I see that there are FIV Sanctuaries out there.  I could have had his abscess fixed up, we could have removed his eye, we could have neutered him, we could have fixed up his mouth ... and then when he was all healed up, I could have contacted these FIV Sanctuaries to find him a home, where he could live out the rest of his life.

But now, I cannot do that.  I feel bad that I put him to sleep ... now that I have been reading up on FIV.  I feel like it was the wrong decision.  I cannot stop thinking about it.  When he was in my garage for those 8 days ... he was content.  He did start using the litterbox on the 3rd ay of being inside the crate.  He was eating fine.  I had music playing in my garage for him 24/7 (relaxation music for cats).  I don't know ... I just wish I would have never put him to sleep.  I feel like I should have fixed him up ... and if he was strong enough, he would have survived everything. 

I did opt for the private cremation ... but have not gotten his ashes back yet.  I wish I could have buried him in my back yard, under the tree he used to lay under ... but I live in a Townhouse ... and the Vet said I would have had to bury him at least 3 feet and I was afraid I would not be able to dig that myself.  I am just struggling with this decision and wish I would have never done it!  :-(
TD78
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spiritdog
TD, you went the extra mile for this fellow, what a large heart you have.

I too had a feral put to sleep because my hands were tied with what to do with him. I had watched him for about 5 years living around this complex, most likely eating out of the dumpster here. Last year I had been putting food out for cats, and when I saw him through my window I was shocked at how thin he was, and that he had open wounds as well.

It was xmas eve when I took him in. I had no place to keep him if he had been cleaned up, he had been neutered at some point. I couldn't release him as winter was upon us, and couldn't trust at his age that he would survive the winter with his emaciated state.

I believe you ended the cats suffering, recuperation would have been a very long road, if he survived all the surgeries.

I think you did your very best and he is at peace now.

Please know you were his angel for him, food, shelter, and care. You went above and beyond so many others.

Your 3 cats are very lucky to have you.
May you find peace.

"People disappoint, dogs never do" - spiritdog

"You MUST be your pets ADVOCATE, if it doesn't feel right walk away." - spiritdog
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Camie245
I too have a similar situation. We took in a kitten about 1 year ago that was being harassed by an older male cat in the neighborhood. Over the course of this year, I fell in love with this kitty, Napolean (we called him Poopeyhead). We already had a cat of 3 years, but Napolean was so gentle and sweet, everything you want a cat to be. Our other cat is not as friendly. Napolean allowed me to hold him and love on him whenever.

I took him to the vet (a year since his previous visit) only to discover he was FIV positive, and the gingivitis and mouth sore he was starting to get were due to this. It had been 20 years since I had a cat diagnosed with FIV, and I was taken off guard by the diagnosis. I was totally expecting the vet to give him a shot and prescribe some medication and treatment for his mouth issues. But when she suggested putting him down, my mind just went blank. I didn't know about the FIV sanctuaries. And I think I made the wrong decision. He was so sweet,loving and trusting. All I can think is how he laid in my lap expecting me to protect him, but instead I had him put down Friday. I have not been able to think of anything else since then. I should have brought him back home to think about everything. 


I've had two other cats die, and one go missing, but this one is different. This is the most pain I've ever had, I guess because I know I made the wrong choice.
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TD78
I totally understand where you are coming from Camie.  I too was totally taken off guard when the Vet called and said he was FIV Positive.  I just wish I could turn back the clock.  I have had 2 previous pets, one dog and one cat who passed away ... my cat passed away at home and he was 20 years old,  my dog was 13 years old and I had a Vet come to my house to put her to sleep.  So, I have definitely been through this before.  However this time is different.  I feel I made the wrong decision ... and people think I am crazy because he was not even my cat.  I understand he wasn't technically my cat ... but I did start feeding him ... I fed him every, single day for months.  At first ... when he would come to eat ... and then I wouldn't see him for a few days, to a week ... I would worry!  Then, when I would see him ... when I opened the door to give him food ... I would say ... WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?? 

I am an animal lover ... and I grew attached to him ... I wanted to help him get better.  I never would have though he had FIV, although now ... since I have been doing research on it since finding out ... it does make sense.  The Glaucoma in his eye ... the watery eyes that he would have occasionally, the diarrhea (which I didn't know he had until I trapped him), the very bad mouth/teeth, the Anemia (which I didn't know he had until the Vet told me), I was also feeding him Wellness Cat Food ... I fed him the same thing I feed my cats ... and he still ended up having Anemia, the dull coat that he had.  It does all makes sense now ... but still.

If I had it to do over again ... I would have just tried to fix him first.  I would have just kept him in my garage ... believe it or not .. he seemed quite content in my garage during that 8 days.  Never did he thrash around inside the crate ... I think for the first time in his life, he felt safe ... he could sleep at night without having to worry about another animal getting him ... he had a warm, soft place to sleep .... instead of on mulch and dirt and rocks under a cold, dark deck.    The 2 days before that Vet appointment ... I started petting him with a straw ... and he seemed to enjoy it.  I was still too scared to use my hands, since he was a feral cat ... but I truly feel he would have come around with some time.  I just wish I could turn back the clock.  I wish I would have known more about FIV beforehand. 

I think I also feel bad because he was eating fine.  I could see if he lost his appetite ... but he didn't.  I also feel bad because during that 8 days ... I kept telling him it was ok ... and that I was going to fix him up and get him better and I feel like I betrayed him.  I wish I did not have school that day ... because I would have stayed at the Vets waiting to get that FIV test back ... I know if I was there ... I would not have had him put to sleep.  I just feel like I let the Vet talk me into putting him to sleep ... when I should have stuck with what I originally planned ... and that was to fix him up.  I have been crying every day since.  I seriously feel like this is making me depressed!   :-(
TD78
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TD78
Also, thank you so much spiritdog ... that is what a lot of people keep telling me.  It's just so hard.  I do know now though ... in the future, if I ever have another cat show up and they are FIV positive, at least now I know what to do.  I keep seeing this guy in my head.  I just feel like I left him down, like I didn't try to fix him up ya know?  I wish I knew for sure if he was in fact in the end stage of FIV, that's the only thing I cannot seem to find concrete information on.  The only thing I have found is .. sometimes they can have a bad episode, but with antibiotics and or steroids, they can over-come it.  So, that keeps sticking in my head.  Even though I know this guy could not see how of his right eye, and that it would have had to have been removed ... what if we fixed his Anemia ... and fixed the abscess on his face from the cat bite (I could not see the abscess cause it was covered with his fur), and fixed his teeth ... and gave him antibiotics ... like what if I would have done that ... and maybe he could have lived another 10 years?  But, I cut that short.  It really, really stinks.  I know when I go pick up his ashes, I am going to lose it at the Vets.  :-(
TD78
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Bellamum
You have such a huge heart.  Be proud of yourself for caring for this poor little fellow during his last months on Earth.  Even though you could not get too close, he would have felt your concern and been grateful.  You gave him things that he would not have had if it weren't for you.  You did all that you could.  
I hope that you can let go of your guilty feelings and be proud of the fact that you showed him that you cared.  He is now at Rainbow Bridge and all his ailments are gone.  He has all the food he can eat and he will know what a kind soul you are.
I wish you peace and healing.

Karen
(Bella, Charli and Buddy's very lucky mum)

My gorgeous girl, Bella  26/07/2004 - 03/04/2014
"You were once by our side, but you will be forever in our hearts. Until we meet again baby girl."
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Camie245
 

TD, I agree with Spiritdog and Bellamum. You did so much for him, and the fact that his last 8 days were peaceful and safe were a blessing to him. He had the benefit of leaving this life warm, safe, and loved, instead of alone, cold and possibly killed due to being too weak to defend himself. 

I realize that's graphic, but all I have to compare it to was my first cat, Two-tone, who died of from FIV complications. I didn't have the strength to euthanize him, and I watched him waste away. He had lost control of his bladder and he couldn't jump up into his window seat anymore. In the end, I was glad he was home when he died, but I am not glad I allowed him to get to that point.

I have come to believe (perhaps because it gives me comfort) that these animals find people like you because first and foremost they're looking for love and kindness, not just food. And that's what you gave him, love and kindness. You allowed him to know the world as something other than pain and terror. Peace be with you.

All but one of my cats were rescues. The only one to have FIV was not a rescue. I got him as a kitten from a woman whose cat had a litter. That Summer I drove back from grad school, NY to GA, with three (3!!!) cats in the backseat of my car, and one of them was Two-tone. 

I have taken in all my cats as very young kittens (usually 4 - 6 weeks old), and so I always prepare myself for the possibility of disease. It's been a long time since that's happened though. Napolean was clearly older than 6 weeks when he showed up on my doorstep. He appeared to be about 3-4 months old. And even with that, I took him in, had him neutered and given shots. I didn't want him to be killed by that other cat.

I loved him, and in the end, I let him down. And for that I am very very sorry.

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spiritdog
TD, Please know the odds were against him. Glaucoma is painful I believe I've read that. He would have had a long road ahead that would include staying at a vets (scary), multiple car rides (could be scary), shots, pills, living in a cage for weeks or months?,  etc.

So would that really be the kind of life he would have enjoyed? No. You gave him the best last days he could have dreamed of.

I did regret putting to sleep my feral cat for a while, but when I looked at what the alternative was, I saw little hope and only suffering. I couldn't keep him in my place, I had taken in a stray a few months earlier and he hated this cat (attacked the cage faster than lightening when I brought the feral in to put in my bathroom). If I released the cat, there was no telling if the anti's would work and he would heal, and all I could think of was him not getting better, getting weaker and probably dying a slow painful death whether is was from starvation or from the cold and he would have been alone in a dark hole dying for days? Maybe. For those years I watched him from a far, I pitied him and I admired him at the same time.

I think you gave him a peaceful death, and honored him by having a private cremation as well. Before he passed he knew love and kindness, a gift you gave him, and I am sure he is truly grateful.
"People disappoint, dogs never do" - spiritdog

"You MUST be your pets ADVOCATE, if it doesn't feel right walk away." - spiritdog
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