Thursday, August 28, 2014

Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You

A new cat showed up in the back yard.  The feral cats who already live in the yard gave this new cat wide berth.  He was very skittish at first, but that is no longer the case.

He's an "intact" male, and I think the other cats are afraid of him.  He started showing up at meal time, and the other cats made feeble attempts to claim the food before he did, but backed off once this newcomer growled at them.  He's very skinny, and I noticed that he has a huge wound on the side of his neck.  

I felt sorry for him.  Normally, I would have tried to trap him to get him tested for feline aids and feline leukemia, and then have him neutered, but he's so skinny, and I wanted to try to treat his wound first. 

Gradually, he stopped being so skittish, and he actually became bold.  He'd come running when I went outside with a can of cat food on the paper plate.  He ate the whole can by himself, so I had to start bringing out two cans in two different plates. I'd put one plate up on the cedar chest for him, and then I'd put the other plate on the patio a few feet away for the other cats to eat.  Some days, he'd eat his food, and then he'd start on the other plate of food.  And those cats didn't argue with him...

We'd resisted naming him in case he tested positive for feline aids or leukemia and had to be put down, but he started looking less skinny and lethargic.  I came up with the name, "Griffin," but Wayne said he looked more like a "Duncan," so that's what we started calling him.  That's in deference to the Outlander books we're reading.

Duncan even let me pat him on the head.  Once he did that, I decided to try and treat his wound.  I put on a latex glove and got a glob of Neosporin antibiotic ointment and placed the glob directly on the wound.  Anyone who knows me knows that I do not have a strong stomach for "blood and guts," but it had to be done, so I did this twice a day.  I could see the wound getting smaller each day.

Two days ago, I put the Neosporin on the wound while he was laying down on the chaise lounge on the patio.  After I finished, I patted him on his side.  He did not like that, and he bit me!  That did not endear him to me....

Wayne freaked out.  It was only a tiny spot on my finger, but Wayne said, "Debra, he could have gotten rabies today!"  Normally, I wouldn't have thought twice about it, but because Wayne was so alarmed, it made me decide to at least look up rabies on Google.  Everything I read said that rabies was extremely rare, but it also said that once neurologic symptoms were in evidence, rabies was fatal.  

I called for a doctor's appointment the next day.  That doctor did the same thing I did, and she googled rabies, too.  She didn't think there was any chance I had rabies, but she got me a tetanus shot, wrote a prescription for a topical antiseptic cream, and another for an oral antibiotic if it looked like the bite was getting infected.

I'd also called the local animal shelter and was told that the animal would be in quarantine for ten days  so it could be observed.  We've been trying to catch Duncan in the have-a-heart trap, but as hungry as he is, he will not eat the food in the trap.  So I'm observing him in the backyard....

The bite looks OK so far, and Duncan is still lounging on the chair on the patio in the backyard, getting his meals before all the other cats.  Our dog, Walter, doesn't even bother him.  He just looks at Walter and hisses, and Walter backs off.  I think Duncan knows he's landed in a good place.  He just doesn't know that I'm planning to have him neutered....

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