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How to care for a found cat?

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Mar 2, 2009
Messages
10,364
So this weekend I was hiking in the poconos a friend and as we were exiting the forest we thought we heard a child crying. After getting closer we realized it was a very cold and upset cat. The cat was very clearly trying to “talk” to us and was very happy to see humans. It also seemed very well fed and clean. It was going to be below freezing that night, and we were nowhere near the camp area or any housing. We decided to take the cat to the rangers office at the state park. He was happily purring inmy lap the entire 15 min car drive and pushing his head into my hands. No collar or ID or tattoos.

At the office the rangers said that they actually both have rescue cats they’ve found in the forest. They suggested I call the spca and take him there. I assume that if it was common that families take their cats camping and they get out a lot the rangers would have said something. So I followed their advice.

I called both SPCA’s in the area. Both denied any lost cat reports and both said they did not have the space to take him in that night but could put me on a waitlist to be notified when they would have an opening.

Since I wasn’t going to just chuck the cat out into the forest again I decided to cancel my hotel that night and to bring him back home with me to the philly area.

I named him Shale after the shale pit I found him in. He did great on the 3 hour drive home. Purred on my lap the whole time. Once we got home I set up a litter box and put out some food. He settled in quite quickly and spent the rest of the night asking for belly rubs and meowing when nobody was petting him.

I took him in the morning to the local Animal advocacy center to check for a chip. No chip. They said their earliest appointment with the vet was 12/3 and they could give him his shots and neuter him at the appointment.

I called another local vet but no appointment for a well check until 12/16.

So for now he’s just with me. Should I try to pretreat or presumptively treat him for anything? Is the time line to check with the vet reasonable? I put in messages with another vet as well and waiting to hear back.

He’s been here for about 36 hours now and has pooped and peed just fine in the litter. Eaten and drinking water. Grooming and playing and trying to always be on my lap. No kids and no other pets at home now (belle is living with my ex for the time since I didn’t want them commingling). Even let me trim his little razor nails with no problem. He seems happy and healthy, just “talks” a lot if I’m not paying attention to him.

I put in “found” reports with the shelters in the poconos and posted on pawboost and Facebook. I can’t really put up flyers in the state forest trail lol.

Any advice or tips on caring for him? I’ve also never owned a cat and know nothing about them. They are so much less work than dogs so far it seems!


B7AD98CE-E526-4CCE-8C9B-327C047E6BE8.jpeg 17EFA8E5-B409-4028-8D49-2297F8972CA7.jpeg DA319CD2-8F14-4C12-B947-F002C28473EC.jpeg 386C9558-E008-41B8-AFEF-0348BF694377.jpeg F210E8B5-7D43-4FB1-88AF-A810E0830969.jpeg 3D62B19A-266D-497A-8026-A662A87E1C27.jpeg
 

OdetteOdile

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
223
That cat is a beauty! I do not have experience with cats, so I do not have any tips for you unfortunately. I think it's great you are taking such good care of him.
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 25, 2014
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6,254
Congratulations on your awesome new pet cat! :D

Looks like you are now his adopted staff, sorry, owner ;-) so I hope he brings you years of joy! :))
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jun 8, 2008
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27,802
Thank you @MakingTheGrade for taking Shale home with you!!! Thank you so much!!! What a sweet cat he is. :love:

I am very glad your dog isn't with you. You're right. Until you know Shale's health status it's best keeping them apart. Having said that the vet wait is ridiculous. You should be able to get Shale checked out ASAP as in today or tomorrow. I cannot believe how long you have to wait. Is there another vet clinic you can go to? A teaching hospital? You need to get him checked out and cleared.

You don't see any patchy hair loss or anything odd on him right? Of course you cannot always see if something is wrong and that is why he needs to get a vet eval ASAP.

Good luck and I hope you keep him. You two look so comfy cozy together and cats are really amazing family members.

Just want to add make sure you wash your hands very well after cleaning the litter and handling stuff just in case. You don't know if he has parasites etc. since he has been living outside for goodness knows how long. Just take precautions and you should be fine. And get him into see a vet as soon as you can.

And check him for fleas too. That would be a pain but manageable. Don't let my RW thread scare you. As long as he isn't around any other animals it is all very manageable and treatable. And it's unlikely he has RW. I just mention it because of the situation we are in at the moment.

Haha I just noticed he looks so much like our Oliver!
 

Matata

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Sep 10, 2003
Messages
6,413
He's chosen you as his human and you've obviously fallen under his spell. Thank you for taking care of him. When you finally get an appointment with a vet, have a standard wellness check done and a complete blood and stool panel to ensure he doesn't have any parasites or asymptomatic issues.

Now for the fun stuff. A cardboard box, an assortment of cat toys, some cozy cat beds, and a couple of scratching posts are essential for a pampered kitty.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Jun 8, 2008
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27,802
FYI



Enjoy and have fun! This is a magical time and you have a wonderful cat who is crazy in love with you already. Meant to be!
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Mar 2, 2009
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10,364
Haha my knowledge of cat health is based on what I can extrapolate from dog health and human health (I’m a physician but people can tell you what’s wrong!”

I checks his fur the way we check people for lice and everything seems good. No tics at least. No signs of fleas. No patchiness or odd spots. Typical shedding. Stool seems healthy and formed and no strain.

Some minor abrasions to 2 of his foot beans. But nothing that looks infected.

Teeth are clean, nails were crazy pointy sharp (now trimmed) except for one that was mildly cracked but fine.

No bad odors. Breath could be better but I don’t know what the baseline is for cats since I think their food smells pretty bad haha.

Yeah I called all the reasonable places and all the wait times are 2-3weeks. I guess it comes with living in a big city like philly? One of them
Was a vet school (penn). If there were concerning symptoms of anything I’d certainly just go to emergency services.
 

JPie

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 12, 2018
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2,270
I've never had a dog before, but as you've observed already, cats are pretty easy. Give him a spot up high to call his own, a comfy place to worship the sun, and the rest you can figure out as you go.

Oh, and post more pics!
 

Garnetgirl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
447
I think you’re doing very well, taking care of your new cat. You’ve checked him over, and since he seems to be in good health, I wouldn’t worry about having to wait a bit for a vet appointment. (Of course, assuming all stays good).
You are wonderful to have rescued him. And he is lucky to have found you.:)
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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One of my friends asked if maybe he’s a feral forest cat. As far as I’m aware, that’s not a thing. At least I’ve never come across a domestic cat while hiking or camping and I do both fairly often.

Also my understanding is that feral cats don’t like humans much and have low tolerance for handling. Certainly not the case here.
 

StephanieLynn

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 2, 2016
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4,567
Oh my goodness such a handsome kitty! How wonderful that he found you to take him in.

Just a comment on feral cats, our cat is semi-feral and he is very attached to me but will run away if someone else attempts to pet him, he can also be standoffish and can get spooked easily. This doesn't sound like an even semi-feral.

I would definitely find a place to get his stool checked, even if you can't get an appointment for weeks, when you do make an appointment, that veterinary office should be able to test a stool sample if you bring it in and get him on a dewormer if necessary. Worms gross me out so I always deworm as a routine whenever we get a pet.
 

PreRaphaelite

Brilliant_Rock
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Feb 2, 2015
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Congratulations on your new bestie! Thanks @JPie for tagging me.

I haven’t read all the posts because I’m at dinner, but here’s my response. I’ll give you my opinion, but as I haven’t seen him in person, please remember this is my opinion and a vet might say different.

He looks like an 18-month to 2-year old, a pet who was abandoned, rather than a feral cat, because his teeth are white, his coat is in fine condition, his nose and eyes are clean, and there is no sign of ear mites. If he had spent even a week outside in that area, he would have had fleas and subsequent worms (both easily treated), and his coat would have been dirtier, not to mention rough. His “squishbeans” (toe pads) look soft and clean. This is not a feral.

The emergency vet will have a zero-wait time first thing in the morning, and while it will cost more, you’ll be better off doing blood work right away rather than waiting. Examination for ticks is also vital.They cause absolute havoc and can be deadly. Have him tested for things like FIV and FIP while you’re at it, just to rule them out. This should be part of an a-la-carte option.

Once you’re back home, buy some Capstar, a pill that kills flea adults (not eggs) and can be found on amazon. It is very safe and just one dose might save you from an infestation. Again, don’t wait.

Urinalysis can probably wait a few weeks if you don’t see any behavioral issues. In the meantime, get him chipped, de-wormed, and licensed so he is yours, and have fun shopping for scratching post (super important), machine-washable natural fiber bed (ok I use old cashmere sweaters but I’m an oddball), and ceramic or glass food bowls. DO NOT use plastic bowls, as they cause allergic reactions in some cats, which can be extremely painful. A charcoal-filtered water bubbler fountain is a wonderful thing (again, amazon) that will support flushing his kidneys in case he got into anything dodgy while exploring the woods.

And most of all, go to your bathroom mirror, look yourself squarely in the eyes, and THANK yourself on behalf of your new cat, your PS friends, and your future self. You have done the most wonderful humane thing, and you will be richly rewarded for it. He narrowly escaped a terrible end, and you are responsible for changing his life forever. Congratulations again. You’re wonderful.

<3
 
Last edited:

PintoBean

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 27, 2011
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Even if you cant get in to a vet asap, at least collect a stool sample to drop off for testing in the mean time.

Have you tried getting an appointment with the Philly aspca?

If you're willing to drive to NJ the cinnaminson animal hospital comes recommended.
 

PintoBean

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 27, 2011
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Theres also an animal hospital by chop.

Instacart delivers cat food, litter, etc from petco lolol. If you're in a pinch.
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Even if you cant get in to a vet asap, at least collect a stool sample to drop off for testing in the mean time.

Have you tried getting an appointment with the Philly aspca?

If you're willing to drive to NJ the cinnaminson animal hospital comes recommended.
Oh I just looked them up and they have walk in hours for vet care! Perfect!
Ugh. I wish I hadn’t just thrown out the litter poop lol. But once he poops we will go the next morning at 8am!
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Heh. Got overheated on my lap so now next to me in a cat ball

I really can’t imagine why anyone would get rid of him. And in such an extreme environment! Some of the trails were closed down due to ice and there are no dumpsters or human life nearby. I mean if you want to surrender your pet why not go to a shelter?!

17F5F362-DB9F-448A-9262-A4DB42F0AC35.jpeg
 

elle_71125

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 29, 2012
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3,785
Congrats on finding your new best friend. Seriously, cats are the best! And you found (what I consider to be) a rare specimen...a friendly, cuddly, love bug of a kitty.
He’s so freaking cute! Your story has me feeling so emotional. I can’t imagine such a sweet little guy being all alone and lost out there in the woods. I’m so grateful that you followed your instincts and brought him home. There are so many people who wouldn’t be bothered. You are an amazing human being and I think he recognizes that too. I hope you both share many wonderful years together.

Two of our cats were found outside. In both cases, I was considering fostering until I could find them a home. In both cases, I fell, immediately, in love and I can’t imagine my life without them.

Please keep posting pics. He’s so adorable! :kiss2:
 

PreRaphaelite

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 2, 2015
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1,532
Some shelters charge a surrender fee, around $15. That’s why. When I worked rescue, we saw it all the time. So sad. Sometimes humans suck. But then there are people like you, who are the exception to that rule.

He loves you! What a happy ending!
 

PintoBean

Ideal_Rock
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I think poop or no poop I will take him in early tomorrow morning.

I can take a cat in a carrier into an Uber right?...
If anyone asks, say it is your emotional support companion. I just sent you a message through LT.
 

elizat

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
1,079
He's so sweet!

I agree he was dumped or somehow got lost. I think he looks like a young adult too. He looks pretty healthy! Teeth look good and coat too.

Definitely drop a fecal sample. If he was any parasites you want to get rid of those...for a lot of reasons! Flea medication, Revolution, etc. as well. The wait for neuter doesn't surprise me totally because it's close- ish to Thanksgiving. Sounds like some folks have given ideas for spots near you. A non profit spay/neuter clinic should have spots open quicker, I'd guess, but I could be wrong depending on your area.
 

PintoBean

Ideal_Rock
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I have so many silly questions:
Should i regularly bath or brush him?
Do people crate train cats? (Lol. Can you tell I’ve only had dogs?)
Can you teach cats to come when called?
Should I get him a collar even if I chip him?
I grew up with dogs so my cats are dogs. They wear jingle jangle collars. They come when called. They perform tricks. I usually give them a welcome to this hell hole, I mean home, bath. Then I just brush regularly. Each cat is different. Currently, I can get by with once a week with these cats.
 

elizat

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
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1,079
I have so many silly questions:
Should i regularly bath or brush him?
Do people crate train cats? (Lol. Can you tell I’ve only had dogs?)
Can you teach cats to come when called?
Should I get him a collar even if I chip him?
Bathing- no need unless he gets into something awful. He will take care of that himself. I foster babies, they are usually flea covered, so I have to, but he looks good. I only bathe if filthy, flea ridden, etc.

Brushing- sure! Many like it. If he does not though, he'll take care of the grooming.

Crate train- not really a thing for domestic house cats. Just set his box and food/water and he'll do his thing.

Some cats come when you call. I have two that do. But they all know their names. They are much more independent than dogs that come running.

Lots of people do a collar even if chipped. Make sure it's a break away color though for safety.
 
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