No, I'm not talking about my every 2 month haircut and beard trim at Supercuts, but rather, the feral cat living out front that we've been affectionately calling Scruffy for nearly a year. We've blogged about him before, but yesterday was his "special" day, where he got to meet our vet, Dr. Kayomee Darowalla!
Scruffy is a beautiful cat, but suffered a number of obvious ailments. When he first visited a year ago, he was all skin and bones, but has bulked up a little with regular feeding. He was just covered with mats, in obvious pain, moving like a much older animal with arthritis. There were also some skin lesions and scabs - he was just pitiful! So the plan was to get him fixed - we weren't quite sure of his sex - neighbors down the street thought he was associated with a litter of kittens, so even at the last moment, there was some thought of a Scruffette. Any touching of the body south of the waist (lifting of tail) brought hissing and a whirr of claws, so the gender remained a mystery. We also had to have him tested for general health, communicable diseases, etc so there would be no risk to our other cats.
He showed up Monday afternoon for some food, and with a Tuesday surgery appointment already made (he missed one made 2 weeks earlier), I wrapped him in a towel and quarantined him in Jason's bathroom overnight. He seemed to do fine and was quiet on the trip to the vet yesterday morning.
A couple hours later the vet called - Scruffy was indeed a boy and was now neutered. They shaved off the mats while he was out. The skin lesions were caused by the abundance of fleas and bites he carried, and he also had ear mites, and 2 broken canine teeth that required Dr Darowalla to dig out the roots. With vaccinations and blood work, the total was $421.32 - and that with my 30% bulk-rate discount!
Perhaps the worst news is that he tested positive for FIV, the equivalent of HIV in humans. Our original intent was to not risk our existing cat population, and, in fact, the vet had already notified the animal shelter they run, in case we wouldn't be taking him home. After consultation with Dr Darowalla (who also has a FIV+ cat with 2 that are not, and in fact, Vicki and I had an FIV+ cat for many years), she convinced us that the risk is minimal, and that if introduced slowly and safely, everyone will be fine. She described using a dog crate to effectively keep him quarantined in the living room for days or weeks, so that everyone gets used to him. That way there won't be any biting and saliva/blood exchange, which is the only way to transmit the virus. She even lent us the crate, so when he recovers from the surgery a little more, he will be moved out of the bathroom into the living room.
He is a good patient - mostly content to lie down behind the toilet in the hall bathroom. He devours canned food, so rather than struggle to give him his 3 meds (pain, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics), we just put it in a little canned food and it is gone in 10 seconds! He'll look a little funny for a few months, but as his hair grows back, I'm pretty sure he'll get used to life here in the "cat house" and will do just fine!
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