Whether you are caring for a colony or notice a cat needs additional veterinary care at the time of spaying or neutering, we have a responsibility to provide the best care we can for each individual animal. But providing daily or routine care of cats that can’t be handled presents a very special challenge.
Here are some of the ways you can handle some of the more common issues:
Fleas: If you notice your cats scratching and you suspect fleas, a Capstar pill crushed up into their wet food will kill fleas within 3-6 hours. Capstar is safe and effective and doesn’t require a prescription.
Ear Mites: Revolution (prescription & purchased through a vet) effectively treats ear mites but must be applied topically. It could be done while the cat is under anesthesia or when in a trap. Revolution also treats fleas and intestinal parasites, but does need to be applied monthly if the problem continues.
Intestinal Parasites: For roundworms and hookworms, in addition to be being able to use Revolution to treat for these parasites, you can safely put Strongid into the wet food to treat the cat.
Ringworm: “It takes 21 days for ringworm to heal if you treat it and 3 weeks if you don’t.” Some strains of ringworm respond to a double dose of Program flea treatment. Good nutrition also helps the cat’s own immune system to respond.
Viral Infections: Treating eye infections is difficult, but can’t be neglected. Loss of vision is common if left untreated. Antibiotics have no direct effect on viral infections such as URI (upper respiratory infection) or Herpes virus eye infections. However, azithromycin has been found to be effective in resolving herpes eye infections. Often vets will prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary bacterial infection for an URI. In addition to crushing pills or adding liquid to wet food, prescriptions can be compounded with cat-pleasing flavorings. If you have the cat contained in a trap to care for it, you can put the trap under a heavy bath towel with a humidifier to aid in moistening the mucus membranes and ease breathing.
Bacterial Infections: Giving antibiotics to feral cats or kittens twice a day is difficult. However, there is a one-time injection of Convenia that provides 7-14 days of antibiotic treatment. It can be given at the time of spaying or neutering if an infected wound is discovered or teeth need to be pulled. Also, if an infection is noticed in one of the colony cats, the cat could be re-trapped and given an injection while in the trap.
For many other procedures, such as examining an injury or cutting out large clumps of matted hair, you will need to sedate the cat.
We hope you find this information helpful in caring for community cats.
A great, big thank you to Deb for putting this together.