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How to medicate 1/2 feral cat ???

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

I have 3 half feral cats that someone dumped here over a year ago. A Mom and her two kittens. Mom's now about 2, and kittens a little over a year. I trapped them all using a live trap and had them spayed, shots, etc.

Mom, who we named Ginger, was always the friendliest. She will rub your leg, and want petted, but I can't confine her in any way, or she becomes 18 claws on steroids. The two girls will only allow a couple head pats, and then only from my Mother, then they are off. (Mom is the one who usually feeds them, so they like her better than me!)

Well, Ginger has a bladder infection of some sort. She's trying to go every few minutes, and scooting herself on the grass from irriation. My vet called in Amoxicillin - you know, the pink liquid --- well, she will have none of it. We tried mixing it into cottage cheese, into cat foods of various types, and even thawed some raw hamburger to mix it in... but she takes one sniff and literally runs away. But, when she comes back, she will eat the same items without the meds! Smart girl that Ginger.....

I called vet back, they said try to get her into a dog crate to confine her, then do not leave her with a bowl of dry.... maybe if she's real hungry, she will eat it. If not, I am to try to get her into a cat carrier (YIKES) and bring her in - they will give her meds by injection, maybe even keep her so they can medicate her. Even though she turns from Devil cat to perfect little lady at the vets, I'd rather not stress herby taking her in if I don't have to.

Anyone have any ideas for me to try?

Jules - and miserable Ginger :-(

Deer River, MN(Zone 3b)

That's definitely a toughie since she won't eat it in food. Have you tried amoxy pills crushed and mixed into food or cut in half and smooshed into a small ball of raw hamburger? Perhaps that wouldn't be as detectable and/or objectionable as the liquid. It's worth a try, anyway.

If she won't eat the pills disguised in food, either, I think my next attempt would be to wrap her in a large towel with just her head poking out and administer the liquid as quickly as possible. I just had to give a round of that pink amoxy liquid to one of my cats, and it was very easy to administer because the dose is so small. It's barely enough to coat the mouth, so there's really nothing they can spit back out.

The problem with the towel wrap with Ginger is that after you do it once, she may not let you catch her again the next day for the next dose. She might, though, if you give her an extra tasty treat immediately after dosing her - something you only give her after medicine.

If the pills don't work and the towel doesn't work, and you don't want to try to bring her inside and keep her confined during the treatment period, you're pretty much stuck with hospitalization.

Good luck, Jules!


Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Thanks Laurie - I am very familiar with the towel wrapping! I've done that a lot in the past!

Hopeful that when I get home from work, vet will have called saying a pill form is available. We tried to give them droncet a couple months ago by cutting each pill into 1/8ths and sticking it inside cheese. Punkin ate most of hers, but Ginger and Cider said "are you kidding?"

Laurie, I wish I had the courage to bring them in. I don't know how you handle all your cats indoors! I absolutely adore cats, always have, but can't image having feral or half feral cats inside! I have visions of a shredded Mom, shredded Lucky, and shredded drapes! Pebbles would make out ok, cause all 3 ferals like her, and rub all over her! Pebbles loves cats. Perhaps this will be the trick that gets them inside.... It just kills me to have topspot on hand, and not be able to put it on Punkin and Cider. We can get it on Ginger by putting the topspot in a dose syringe (no needle attached, then applying, because you can stick the syringe down to the skin and squirt quick, and get the job done. But, the two younger ones have to suffer, cause I can't get any on them.....

Taking old Casey to vet Friday to see what else we can do for him. If there is nothing else, he'll be crossing the Bridge. He's having more bad days than good. :-(

Laurie, do you think confinement at home in cage, then taking her to vet every 2-3 days would be better than just leaving her at the vet? I don't want to try putting her in a bedroom till she's a bit better, cause I would not want her to be trying to pee everywhere. Once she starts to get better and she's more likely to use the box 100%, It might work to keep her in a bedroom. How do you affix your baby gates? could you post a picture?


Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

Jules, It's so kind of you to take care of Ginger and the kittens. I have 3 feral-born outdoor cats, slowly domesticating. I totally relate to everything you said about wanting to keep the cats inside but being scared, and the difficulty with medicating them and taking them to the vet. Everything is just so much more difficult with ferals. But use Laurie's story (and jdee's story, where is jdee?) for inspiration. My cats are 3 1/2 years old now, and even though they still have some of that wild character, I would never consider them to be feral, esp. in my heart. I'm only reminded about their feralness when it's time for meetings with the vet. One of them is indoor/outdoor now, and my long-term goal is for all of them to become indoor-outdoor cats.

Deer River, MN(Zone 3b)

A pill form is available. I've used it before, thinking it'd be easier than the liquid. It's not ... not with domestic cats, anyway. The liquid is MUCH easier. However in your case, the pill might just work. I have found that even my most finicky, disagreeable cat will eat tapeworm pills if I hide them in a Pounce. There's something in Pounce treats that cats find irresistible. Buy several flavors and see if Ginger will gobble it down with the pill inside. Just make sure you smoosh it so the pill is completely surrounded by the Pounce before you give it to her. Also, don't try to hand feed it to her. She'll be less suspicious if she can eat it off a plate or bowl. Of course you'll have to stand guard so the kittens don't get it instead.

I'll tell you, this spring is putting all my feline skills to the test. I can handle one newcomer at a time, but multiples who can't be kept together are extremely difficult. Right now I am having to keep NC and Phantom separated since NC attacked Phantom yesterday while I was in the bedroom visiting them. Our house really isn't large enough to give two cats separate spaces in addition to accommodating 11 other cats, 5 dogs, and 2 people! How do I handle them all? Not always completely successfully, that much I can tell you.

At least the layout of the house does make it possible to confine a newcomer to the bedroom/bathroom without too much inconvenience. There is a door between the bedroom and livingroom. That is the one I fill with baby gates so the newcomer can watch the daily household activity and interact with the other animals through the gates. There is another door from the bedroom into the bathroom and a second door in the bathroom which leads to the utility room where there is another door that leads to the kitchen.

Right now, Phantom is in the bedroom, and I have given NC the bathroom and utility room. I didn't want to restrict NC only to the bathroom because there are no windows in there and it's such a small, dark space with no visual stimuli or chance to interact with the family. At least the door between the utility room and kitchen has a large vent in the bottom through which NC can see into the kitchen and vice versa. Also, the utility room has an outside door which I have opened and placed a chair next to so NC can look out the storm door.

Joe and I are going to have to be extremely careful to make sure NC doesn't scoot out into the kitchen and no one else scoots into the utility room during our comings and goings.

The picture below is of the doorway between the bedroom and livingroom (bonus pic - I didn't even see Phantom lying there in the lower right when I took the pic!). It takes 3 baby gates to fill the doorway and still has a gap at the top that I fill with a chunk of scrap styrofoam (yes, cats will climb the baby gates all the way to the top). If I didn't have a secondary door to access the bedroom, I'd have to remove the center gate and crawl through every time I wanted in or out of the bedroom. Now THAT would be a big old pain in the rear!

Jules, do you have an extra bathroom you could relinquish to Ginger during her treatment? If so, that might be the best option until you feel comfortable moving her to a bedroom. I have found that even when a cat has a UTI, she will often use a sink or tub, in addition to the box. Even if she misses all three, assuming your bathroom isn't carpeted, a pee mess is easy to clean off of a hard floor. I'm afraid keeping her confined in a large crate might overly stress her, particularly if you are also putting her through a car trip every few days. I don't think that's the best option.

I am so sorry that Casey is reaching the end of his time here. CRF is a miserable way to go. If the vet can't help him rally for a bit more comfort and time, it'll be a kindness to let him go. My warm thoughts and sympathy are with you. Tell Casey to steer clear of Pea (my old CRF cat) when he reaches the Bridge. I have no doubt she's as cantakerous there as she always was here. ;-)


Thumbnail by laurief
Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

Sometimes bladder problems will 'right themselves' if you put them on canned food. Might try that for a few days first. If it's working, and she is urinating more normally, recommend canned food from now on.

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Thanks Palmbob.... each of the outside cats gets one can a day, split into two feedings, and also get chicken that we cook and mix with broth. They eat some dry, but not much.

I've had females get bladder problems before, but none as severe as poor Ginger is acting!

I could not quite picture how you covered your doors in gates. Now I understand!!!


Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Well, we put up the dog cage in the pole barn, and then we were able to get Ginger into the barn, but not into the cage. :-(

Ginger is more comfortable with Mom, so after I went to work, Mom went out with some warmed roast chicken, put the plate in the cage and voila! Ginger in the dog cage.

So, I took her to the vet today. Seems she had a nasty anal gland, which probably caused the scooting that then caused a bladder upset. Poor Ginger got Topspot, annual shots, droncit tab for tapeworms, antibiotic shot, anals expressed and cleaned as well as "massaged" in the right area to pee so they could get a sample. We will take her back Monday - or Tuesday if we can't catch her again on Monday.... for a second shot.

It is so frustrating to be a "cat person" whom 99% of cats will just gravitate to.... and I have had these 3 since May 2004, and they still have not learned to trust me. I keep telling them they will love it if they finally come to me, as I know all the best places to scritch!

She was a perfect lady while at the vets. Purred the whole time, didn't even try to get away.

Deer River, MN(Zone 3b)

Poor Ginger! She's going to feel sooooo much better once she gets past all the stuff done to her at the vet's. I hope your Mom can woo her again on Monday or Tuesday for her second shot.

Did your vet check her ears for mites? Mites seem to be a pretty common occurrence in the strays and ferals who show up here. In fact, I had to treat NC for them again after his month-long outdoor adventure.

I'm so glad you were able to help Ginger along the road to recovery. Believe me, I understand your frustration at your girls' reluctant behavior toward you. I can guarantee you, though, that persistence pays off ... eventually. Persistence and getting them inside where they can't avoid you so easily, that is. ;-)

Hang in there, Jules.


Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Since I was going through pics, thought I would post this one.

Punkin is on the left, Cider in the middle and Ginger on the right.

We believe Cider and Punkin are Ginger's kittens. They were dumped here together, and they sure look like they could be!

Kind of puts a damper on all orange cats being male......

Thumbnail by daylily_ohio
Deer River, MN(Zone 3b)

Cider sure takes after her momma. Punkin must have more of her daddy in her.

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