"I have a cat that I had the (shelter) fix in the feral cat program. He seems to have a broken or dislocated leg. The (shelter) said they would likely put him to sleep. He is eating and purring and limping around. Doesn't seem to be in agonizing pain but I think cats can hide pain. The cat lives under a porch. The vet suggested I call you. He is fixed with shots too. And will let you touch him, pet him, hold him some. He has lived his entire life outside. (He is only about 6 months old) long hair and orange. Beautiful kitty. I would love to see him re-homed to a country home away from a main road. Any help or advice is very much appreciated."
Like the shelter, I expected to find a shy cat who perhaps loved his caretaker but was wary of others. Since we specifically deal with shy cats here, I said that we could at least get him a radiograph, and if the break could be healed with cage rest, we would see if he was an adoption candidate over the 6 weeks we would have him. If not, he could come back to his feral colony. I did tell the caretaker that if the leg needed to be pinned or amputated, that would likely be outside of our financial means for a cat that might languish here un-adopted for years and could not go back to an outdoor life. When I arrived, however, there he sat, quietly grooming himself on a bench in an indoor vestibule when I arrived, and began to purr when I petted him. Maybe if I'd yelled and waved my arms he might have run off. Wouldn't any sane cat? His caretaker had done an incredible job socializing this first litter of feral kittens, born last spring. The mom cat had a second litter before she could be spayed, which the caretaker gathered up and the shelter was able to take into foster because they were so tiny. Mom cat has now been spayed and there are no remaining unaltered cats on site.
This is Siggy (not "Soggy," as I mis-typed when posting the video), chilling on the treatment table at the veterinarian's office. OMG, don't you just want to kiss him? He is so cute it is painful, and he never bit down or used a single claw while playing.
Since my nearest veterinarian was between where I picked up the cat, and our place, I stopped in to make an appointment. They were able to fit us in that morning. The radiograph showed a break right at the end of the bone near the joint---a break that would be unlikely to heal with cage rest and would be difficult to pin. So I had him FeLV/FIV tested (negative!) and brought him back here, and we will look for options for amputation. The first step will be to check with the shelter who neutered him to see if they have an option through their shelter medicine program, since it's clear he doesn't have a feral hair on his hide any longer. I sent a video, so they could see how sweet he was, and offered to keep him post-surgery.
If their veterinarians cannot perform an amputation via the shelter's programs, I'll check with my own veterinarians. They usually refer to the teaching university for more complicated surgeries, but sometimes they are able to fit them in. They amputated little Lefty's leg back in 2006. Complicated surgeries can take a couple of hours, so smaller city clinics understandably refer to the larger 24-hour clinics (if they have one nearby) who have a larger staff. When my veterinarian has gone way over-the-top for me, they have had to perform the surgery when they are closed, often on a Sunday! At holiday time, that would be a huge stretch for them, I'm sure. Unfortunately the teaching university is far too expensive for me to pay the public fee for a single cat. So my next step would be to reach out to the local rural veterinarian here, who amputated Cricket's leg---17 years ago! Needless to say, we haven't had too many amputations in our rescue history. We've had as many blind cats (two) as cats needing amputation.
Siggy is a true joy. I have him in a two-level cage so the healthy leg continues to get exercise and he seems to be navigating it ok, and he's on pain meds at the direction of the veterinarian (although we both almost forgot the address it because Siggy was acting so sweet and never showed discomfort!).
I got a short tour of the remaining cats at his colony, where they are living in insulated shelters under a very-sheltered porch and are extremely well cared for. One of the remaining cats is a twin to Siggy, and while shy with me was very friendly with his caretaker and looks like he could be a prospect for future adoption.
We'll keep you posted! If it turns out he needs a non-shelter surgery, I'll probably try crowd-funding. The caretaker has offered $50, and Janet--who must have seen him on Facebook--has already donated $100 via the PayPal link (THANK YOU, Janet!) His initial veterinarian's bill was only about $170, which is really good for a walk-in emergency radiograph and FeLV/FIV test. Gotta love my vets!
How could anyone resist that face?