Still in our resolve to take no new admissions until our building work is done …… we had a message on Thursday from the amazing woman who hand reared Kanga & Kwala. She’d found an elderly cat collapsed at the side of the road whilst out walking her dogs late on Wednesday night. Being the woman she is, despite other people walking past who couldn’t care less, she got the dogs home, fetched a cat carrier, took the cat home with her, and messaged us. Thursday being a day off work we went over there and took the cat straight off to our vets.
I hastily and provisionally named him Henderson en route to the vets. Fearing the worst and not wanting him to die without a name. We got stuck in traffic by a Hendo’s poster and it seemed a good enough name for an orange cat.
We’d kind of guessed that as he’d been found at the side of the road he must have been hit by a car. However a careful examination by Dr Tim revealed no such injuries. He was very dehydrated, had a rattly noisy chest, and one of his kidneys is apparently small or out of shape. He was admitted and put on a drip to be re hydrated and had some antibiotics.
What happens next is tricky. His life had been very much at risk. If our friend hadn’t taken him that night he’s unlikely to have survived. Likewise, if we hadn’t taken him to the vets and got him on the drip, he wouldn’t have lived much longer. So that action is entirely justified. HOWEVER … if he’s that poorly and its not the result of an RTA …. where has he come from? Surely he can’t have survived long outdoors in that state of health, and the condition of his coat didn’t suggest he’d been roughing it for a long time. There was no microchip and no collar. The lady who found him had gone door to door on Thursday morning trying to find where he’d come from …. but no one knew him. If he’s someone else’s cat …. what /how much can we /should we do?
Thursday night while he was with the vet was spent online checking lost pet listings, adding him to found pet listings, networking with umpteen facebook groups who help with lost and found pets. We picked him up on Friday night after work. We had what seemed like a plan …. keep searching for ‘owners’ over the weekend and review on Monday. He had a little bit of chicken and some mackerel in tomato sauce – nice strongly smelling food to tempt him. But only a little bit 😦 And this morning he wouldn’t eat anything.
“Fukkity fuk” … as our Flipper would say. We were sitting next to a very poorly cat who wouldn’t eat we and have no real idea what the underlying causes of his problems are. Ownership and responsibilities with dogs is a bit more clear cut I think, but with a cat … especially one without a microchip ….. its much less defined:
a) If I take him to the vet and pay for lots of treatment .. and then an owner appears … who foots the bill?
b) If we get him treatment and owner shows up who would have taken a different course of action …. how are they going to respond? How would I feel if someone had taken my elderly poorly cat and subjected him to treatment I wouldn’t have wanted?
c) If we take him to the vet and vet advises best put to sleep … what then? Will owners be angry / more heartbroken because they weren’t there / blame us and say that their own vet would have performed some miracle that ours was not capable of?
d) What if we wait while Monday, there’s no one shows up to claim him, he has blood tests which reveal something that had we known a few days earlier we could have effectively treated . .. but its too late now.
e) How to deal with people who think/ say he might be their cat … but aren’t sure … or can’t prove it? Deepening nightmare of fear that someone might try to claim him for unscrupulous purposes .. and also as the net widens from our “found cat” posts … how do you best help people from miles away who hope against hope that it might be the boy they lost a considerable time ago. There’s a little more chance of identification with a ginger then a black cat ….. but not much.
f) What happens if it gets a whole lot worse and the vets are closed on Sunday and I’m back at work on Monday and and and ….
Working through the list of concerns:
a) Whatever re money … we’re a tiny rescue with not much cash …. but Hendo’s care has to be the priority .. not money
b) I think we can justify this. Had we not intervened he’d have died already. There is no listing of lost cat matching his description on the RSPCA site …. not even remotely. No lost cat posters have been spotted in the area. Over 15k views of our shared post about him being found and no response. We’ve also contacted all the vets in the area to try to find out whether he’s their patient.
c) As in (b) ….. though I’d be heartbroken.
e) If you think he’s your cat you will have to prove it and share the costs of his vet care
So we’re left with D and F as the most difficult concerns to answer and end up back at the vets this afternoon. He’s had bloods taken for test, more antibiotics and a steroid to help stimulate his appetite. It’s almost another £100 bill on top of his hospitalisation on Thursday. Our vets are lovely … and give us discounts where they can . .. but drugs and tests that go to external labs are difficult to compromise on.
The immediate result is that things are a bit better, and he’s eating something. Credit for that has to be shared with Pet Company …. the fab pet shop just up the road from our vets. We went in there after Hendo’s appointment to get a variety of tasty foods to tempt him. While Kate gave him gentle head rubs and snuggles through the bars of his carrier, Nic took me to look at their selection and choose the best ones to tempt him. More than a little embarrassed but really really touched when after we’d chosen rather a lot of options I was told they were on the house.
Delighted to say that Henderson is tucking into the Lily’s Kitchen …………