This is the story of my neighbors Peg and Denise and a new kitty in town. It gets a little confusing but it’s all good in the end, so hang on and follow!
Care for feral and community cats usually amounts to spay or neuter, rabies, and food, lots of food. But sometimes those feral cats have medical needs too, even though you can’t handle them and most veterinarians can’t accept them for treatment for lack of trained staff in safely handling an unsocialized cat.
You’ve met Peg before—she’s the one who was feeding and ultimately fostered Nugget in October. She lives on the other side of the hill from me and has been feeding cats on her porch and providing TNR as well as rescuing friendly cats for years. Denise C., not to be confused with Denise T., or just Denise, who lives at the top of the hill with the 12+ cat colony, is friends with all of us and helps with cats in the same neighborhood as Peg.
So Denise C. called me the Friday before Thanksgiving about a cat Peg had been feeding who showed up for breakfast that morning with what looked like a uterine prolapse. It’s quite a serious condition, and here’s a technical explanation: usually happening during giving birth, a cat’s uterus is pushed out of the abdominal cavity and past the cervix into the vagina and often out of the body entirely, and protrudes or hangs there. Considering what can happen to an internal organ when it’s hanging out of the back end of a cat who’s running around outdoors, and the level of infection that can ensue because it’s still attached, along with the pain of the condition and the possibility there’s a kitten tangled up in that mess, it is indeed quite serious and requires immediate attention.
Peg had seen it that morning but had to leave for a teaching assignment and asked Denise to call me to see if I could find veterinary care. This cat had been showing up to eat for only about a week and Peg wasn’t too familiar with it, but it had not seemed like a socialized cat. This meant trapping was likely necessary.
Thank goodness I could turn to the Homeless Cat Management Team for veterinary care for this cat! I messaged Margo, who suggested I get the cat to the clinic scheduled for the next day. What luck!
But because a uterine prolapse in a cat usually happens during birth, and usually at the end of the birthing process, that meant there could be kittens somewhere near, and they’d be newborns. If the cat was away for any length of time the kittens could die of exposure or hunger, since newborns pretty much need to eat every two hours and they can’t control their body heat. Again, thank goodness for HCMT and all its resources including expert bottle feeders if it came to that. On our end, we needed to find and trap the cat and search for kittens.
I couldn’t get over there to watch a trap until later in the day, but Peg called when she got home from work early afternoon and we strategized. She would keep a close eye on the trap on her front porch and hope to catch him before morning. She also posted photos of the cat in our neighborhood cat group and explained the condition and the possibility of kittens. Mom cats give birth fairly close to their food source so they can minimize time away from newborns so they’d most likely be within three houses of Peg’s front porch.
At 5:30 a.m. Saturday Peg called to let me know the cat was in the trap. I messaged Margo with the update and asked what time she should arrive, then dressed and went over to check out the situation.
The cat’s face looked like an intact male, round and jowly, and from what I could see in the dim light it looked pretty husky, but backed up to the food dish I could see a veiny reddish object about the size of an orange, which looked like it could be a uterus, dangling into the dish, and the cat’s hind legs and tail were wet. I had seen rectal prolapses in the past and they were nothing like this, so likely a female! Good thing Peg is observant, as she even pointed out a few dried blood spots on the table where the cat usually ate.
Peg was able to transport the cat to the clinic, and pick up later. I told her the cat needed a name like maybe “Snip” for the little white snip on the nose, then suggested a name that identified where the cat showed up—Fifth Avenue Tux! She liked it. I said we could shorten it to F’Ave Tux (say that out loud).
I sent my photos to Margo as an update and got Peg packed up and off to the clinic, then looked for kittens. I had brought my flashlight and a small carrier and blankets, and thought by that time kittens would be waking up and mewing, or at least moving around a little. Peg and I had discussed the direction the cat typically came from and possible places they could be, who lived in each house and the one that was empty with a deck and a front porch with space underneath. I didn’t find any after almost an hour of creeping around in the early morning hoping I wasn’t frightening any people who might be awakening on an overcast Saturday morning, and decided to go home and feed my cats, have coffee, and start the day.
I didn’t find kittens because Margo messaged me a few hours later that “she” was a “he” with a rectal prolapse! Still a very serious condition, but at least there were no kittens involved. He would be neutered and then treated and stay at the clinic long enough to ensure his rectum behaved. Apparently it did not because he moved to our veterinary clinic for surgery to surgically staple his rectum in place, and as of today he is still healing. He’ll come back when he’s ready to be released since we have no place to foster a feral in a crate.
F’Ave Tux is one lucky guy! Thank goodness for HCMT—without this medical care for feral cats where would I take an intact tomcat with a prolapsed rectum for actual healthcare that wasn’t simply euthanasia? Before HCMT offered veterinary care for feral cats killing the poor cat was the only alternative most of the time. Now this big tux can just be released to be doted on by about four different feeders and have his choice of shelters this winter, and no more kittens for him.
Help HCMT and Pittsburgh C.A.T.!
I’d love it if you had the chance to donate even $5.00 to HCMT to help with this mom cat and the others I’m working with, and the many more HMCT and Pittsburgh CAT have rescued right off the streets and are providing care for. Here are a few opportunities!
You know that Pittsburgh C.A.T. is the rescue I volunteer with, but even when I’m rescuing cats and kittens for others they still provide support to me in the form of traps and transport, fostering, food, kitten formula, and low-cost clinic and surgery appointments. I couldn’t help anyone without their support. Rescuing adult cats to foster and adopt to a forever home can be expensive depending on their condition, but rescuing kittens is always expensive because they need complete vetting, often they are orphaned and need formula and bottle feeding for weeks, they often develop illnesses or conditions specific to young kittens and they eat A LOT. We don’t adopt kitten out until they are spayed and neutered and have all age-appropriate vaccines, so we make a substantial investment in their future.
Right now, Pittsburgh C.A.T. is in need of a few baby scales for fosters. Weighing kittens is an important part of their care. Check the Amazon Wishlist https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1DJBKJ6Y7IMR8?ref_=wl_share
Here’s what you can do:
HCMT is a 501c3 organization and all donations are tax deductible.
- Visit www.homelesscat.org/donate to find a list of donation possibilities.
PAYPAL: firstname.lastname@example.org (please use friends & family to avoid fees)
- Donate Amazon gift cards to buy food and goods for cats in our medical clinic to email@example.com.
- You can also buy supplies through our Amazon wishlist
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Feline Gifts from Portraits of Animals!
I worked out the manufacture of my own “die” or basically a cookie cutter to use for creating consistent shapes of one of my sketches. Each magnet is hand-painted. Read more.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!