Baby came from FCSNP clinic with a very bad upper respratory infection. I set him up in the basement and began to explore how much handling he would tolerate. If he was very feral there would not be much I could do.
He liked to hide in his carrier. I found that if I disconnect the top of the carrier from the bottom I can lift the top up just enough to reach in and can often handle semi-feral cats while they are in their safe place. I start cautiously with stick, then a golved hand, then my bare hands. Baby was a little squirrley but did let me handle him. Later he got wise to my taking the carrier apart and he would hide behind it. I would just move it then reach back and pull him forward a little.
I gave him:
- Oral antibiotics by squirting some liquid down his throat
- Eye antibiotics by squirting some ointment into his eyes
- Subcutaneous fluids by sticking a needle under the skin on his back and letting fluids drain into him
That was a lot of handling and he was surprisingly calm – as if he knew that it would ultimately help him. I was most impressed that he let me administer ointment to his eyes. This can’t be comfortable. With one hand I scruff him and twist his head to one side. With the other I squeeze out a bit of ointment and then lay that across his eyeball. I then turn his head the other way and do the other eye. If I miss I try to massage it in a little. Baby allowed all that handling and more.
I was always ready to pull my hands back, especially while giving fluids. To help cats who are not eating stay hydrated we inject saline solution just under their skin with an IV drip. As the amount of fluid builds they must feel discomfort or just strange and they start to resist little. Often, once I had the needle out, he would swat but he never got me.
After several days I could see that he was improving.
After several more days I began to rub Baby’s cheek after treatment. Soon after that he began to respond. Each day he was a little more open. Soon he would come out of his carrier and soon he was crawling into my arms. In the end Baby turned out to be just a big Baby.
Baby was promised to a student house in Ravenna as a garage cat to hunt rodents. Since that time his status changed and he clearly wanted to live inside with people. They were happy to have him and gave him plenty of loving. Never the less I stayed in contact to be sure it was right fit. They said that Baby never showed interest in going out side or hunting anything. Ultimately one of the students adopted Baby as his own.