I'm not even sure where to begin, but the short version is that the schedule for trapping and neutering the outdoor kitties got bumped up to this Saturday (day after tomorrow).
Now here's the long story.
Basically, both the gray female, and Little Blackie started letting me pet and handle them. On the one hand this is a great step and means they might get to move indoors... on the other hand I was getting increasingly worried about handling cats with unknown medical situations, and life was turning into a complicated series of hand washing and clothes changing to make sure that I kept Smoky and Jasper safe.
Anyhow, the gray female was getting so tame that I called my regular vet and asked if they'd be able to run a quick FIV/FeLV test on her if I could get her into a carrying case. They said sure, no problem, so this past Saturday, I got her into a case and took her over.
My plan was to get that test done and then if she came out clean I'd bring her inside and see how she was gonna adjust before moving forward.
But... the vet tech totally botched the whole thing... didn't listen to me when I told her that she wasn't entirely tame, and it ended up being a disaster. So I basically had no choice but to either let her go, and probably never catch her again, or keep her inside and wait for the next feral cat clinic (this Saturday.)
Anyhow, she's been adjusting and doing well in the basement bathroom, though I did discover that she has a tapeworm... yuck!
|Here she is getting a belly rub|
I called the feral cat people and they said to bring her on Saturday too and they'd fix her, vaccinate her and deal with the abscess. Thing was, I wasn't sure if I could get her into a carrying case or if I'd have to trap her, so they said it would be best to just trap them all and bring them all in for testing, vaccinations and neutering.
I was able to get Little Blackie into the carrying case today, and she's now downstairs with the gray female... and even though she's pretty freaked out, I think she's doing OK.
|Hiding behind the toilet...|
But Gray Boy runs off to do his rounds of the neighborhood each night, and I was worried about Little Gray trying to follow him. So I figured maybe it would be best to try to trap him tonight and just let him spend an extra night in the cage.
Anyhow, I set up the trap and obviously didn't think it through very carefully, because Gray Boy headed right into it with Little Gray right behind him. Problem was that as soon as Gray Boy stepped on the plate, the trap slammed shut trapping Gray Boy but totally freaking out Little Gray.
So now I have Gray Boy in the basement in a trap, and poor Little Gray is all alone outside.
|Poor Gray Boy in his trap|
Anyhow, I just feel horrible about all of this and I'm worried sick about Little Gray out there all alone. I've got all day tomorrow to try to get him, so maybe he'll be hungry enough to go into the trap then.
In the meantime, I just feel like sobbing - well, to tell the truth I have been sobbing for the past hour or so. I'm just not cut out for this sort of thing, and I feel like I'm in totally over my head.
And that doesn't even scratch the surface of the worry, because what if it turns out that some or all of them have FIV or FeLV? Apparently there is great controversy about what the best thing to do is, but the feral cat place generally says it's OK to release a FIV positive cat as long as they are neutered because FIV cats can live long healthy lives, and it's only spread through mating and fighting (both behaviors pretty much go away once fixed.)
FeLV (feline leukemia) is more complicated because it's spread through more casual contact (the virus is shed in the saliva and mucus) so it's more contagious. Some people say it has a terrible prognosis, and other say cats can live long healthy lives with it... so some folks think it's OK to release an FeLV positive cat and others (including the feral clinic folks) say it's best to euthanize them.
In either case, if any of them have FIV or FeLV, they can't live inside because of the danger to Jasper and Smoky.
OK... so this is a long humorless blather, and I'm sorry. Not the sort of thing I try to write, and I'm sure many of you could care less, but I just feel unambiguously horrible and overwhelmed at the moment.
I'm sort of hoping against hope that somebody out there might have more experience than I do and can offer some words of wisdom, because, honestly... right now, I just feel like puking. I just hope that I'm doing the right thing, and that I haven't just made everything worse. Help.