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Rehabbing?


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  #1  
May 25th, 2010, 05:00 PM
my.estrella's Avatar Ashley
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,516
Does anyone have any experience with rehabbing a stray cat? I've decided to "adopt" a stray that has suddenly started hanging around my house. She is very young (I'd say 1 or 2) and EXTREMELY emaciated. She's very people friendly and sweet, so I'm assuming she was once a pet and was abandoned. I've been feeding her canned food since it's usually a cat favorite, and has a lot of water content. She was reluctant to drink plain water which is the main reason I chose the canned food. She's still not eating much (has yet to eat a full can) but I'm thinking it may be because her stomach isn't used to having anything in it, and it will just take time.

She doesn't seem to have any behavior issues, my main concern is getting her weight up. You can literally see every single bone in her body, and even feel her kidneys. Otherwise she appears to be relatively healthy (or at least as healthy as to be expected). I'm going to bring her in to my class later in the week and we'll be testing her for FIV, FELV, and worms to get an idea of exactly what I'm taking on.

So, any experiences to share?
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  #2  
May 25th, 2010, 10:37 PM
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Yes, slower is better when it comes to putting on weight. The weight didn't fall off overnight so it shouldn't be back on overnight either. If she's THAT bad, it should take 6-8 months to get her back to a normal weight. Best thing you can do is take what she should ideally weigh, use the feeding guidelines on whatever food you feed for the weight she should weigh (not does but should) and then add in 15-25% more daily until she starts to fill out. Once she gets to the weight she should be, then you can back off of the extra and figure out what she needs as a maintenance amount.

I would also suggest a healthy food (Felidae, Wellness, Natural Balance, Blue Buffalo, etc) as opposed to a low grade food (Friskies, Whiskas, Cat Chow, etc) which will help give her the nutrients she needs in a healthy fashion. You could also add in some meat, chicken, turkey, fish (NOT tuna) for some added protein.

Good luck! I hope that other than the low body weight she is otherwise healthy. Just remember, slower is better right now, she didn't lose it overnight so she won't gain it back overnight either.
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  #3  
May 26th, 2010, 04:24 AM
my.estrella's Avatar Ashley
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,516
I've been adding in bits of Salmon, and she seems to like that. She ate a lot more last night, and I can already tell a difference. Not physically, but she's acting more alive. She was already very sweet and alert, but since I started feeding her she's showing more of her personality. She is an awesome cat. She had to have been someone's pet. She tries to come inside, she jumps on my lap, and is even very tolerant with my daughter. I checked her teeth to try to get an idea of her age, and they are practically pure white. I'm guessing she's 1, maybe 2 at the most, just by looking at her teeth, and her development physically.

I will be getting some better food (right now I just got the cheapest of the cheap to attract her, since they seem to have the most godawful fish smell). I'll probably buy some dry and start mixing that in next week. I'm going to post some pictures later this afternoon.

I'm not sure this was completely coherent, I'm lacking sleep the past few nights thanks to teething.
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  #4  
May 26th, 2010, 06:32 PM
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Right now I'm also trying to "adopt" two strays that were abandoned by the people who used to live next door. When they moved out, they didn't bother to take the cats with them and since I have an outside dog, they of course found the food right away. I'm guessing that they were abandoned for quite a while because they are still fairly wild and I've been interacting with them for a couple months now.

At first, they wouldn't come anywhere near me even when I was offering food, but they're slowing coming around. The bigger of the two is now to the point where it will come up and sniff my hand if I hold it out and now neither one of them run as soon as they see anyone coming. They are a work in progress, but I am being very patient with them and thankfully they are finally starting to pick up some weight. When they first started showing up, they were skin and bones and now they are finally starting to look "normal".

I started buying cat food for them and sometimes I will mix in a little tuna with it. They have no problems eating and anytime the tuna is mixed in, they gobble it down in a matter of minutes. There has always been water available because of the dog's water dish and they don't have any problems with drinking that either. As soon as I can tame them down enough to pick them up, I want to take them to get them checked out. From what I can see, they appear fairly healthy, but I'm looking from a distance of at least a couple feet away which makes it hard to tell.
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  #5  
May 26th, 2010, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMiner86 View Post
Right now I'm also trying to "adopt" two strays that were abandoned by the people who used to live next door. When they moved out, they didn't bother to take the cats with them and since I have an outside dog, they of course found the food right away. I'm guessing that they were abandoned for quite a while because they are still fairly wild and I've been interacting with them for a couple months now.

At first, they wouldn't come anywhere near me even when I was offering food, but they're slowing coming around. The bigger of the two is now to the point where it will come up and sniff my hand if I hold it out and now neither one of them run as soon as they see anyone coming. They are a work in progress, but I am being very patient with them and thankfully they are finally starting to pick up some weight. When they first started showing up, they were skin and bones and now they are finally starting to look "normal".

I started buying cat food for them and sometimes I will mix in a little tuna with it. They have no problems eating and anytime the tuna is mixed in, they gobble it down in a matter of minutes. There has always been water available because of the dog's water dish and they don't have any problems with drinking that either. As soon as I can tame them down enough to pick them up, I want to take them to get them checked out. From what I can see, they appear fairly healthy, but I'm looking from a distance of at least a couple feet away which makes it hard to tell.
I'd encourage you to stop giving the tuna. It's EXTREMELY high in mercury as well as salt and very many times will cause kidney failure in both cats and dogs. Tons of other things on the market to add and they will eat if they're hungry enough.

And kudos for taking care of them!
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  #6  
May 26th, 2010, 10:24 PM
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Oh ok, I had no idea about the tuna. I'm not as knowledgable about cats as I am dogs, but I just couldn't see letting the two of them go without some kind of food so I offered the first thing that I found in my cabinets that might appeal to them. So thanks for the advice.
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  #7  
May 26th, 2010, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMiner86 View Post
Oh ok, I had no idea about the tuna. I'm not as knowledgable about cats as I am dogs, but I just couldn't see letting the two of them go without some kind of food so I offered the first thing that I found in my cabinets that might appeal to them. So thanks for the advice.
Just as an FYI the tuna deal holds true for dogs too (and even humans shouldn't eat it in large quantities due to the mercury).
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  #8  
May 27th, 2010, 11:38 PM
my.estrella's Avatar Ashley
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,516
In the morning I'm taking her to get her FIV and FeLV and Heartworm tests done. I'm crossing my fingers for negatives. She's starting to eat a whole can, and a little dry as well. I'm starting to see a little progress. She's still very emaciated, but you can feel that there's something in her stomach, and there is a bit of cover over her ribs and spine. And she's really starting to be more active. She's going to be a great cat when she's healthy again.
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