A Furry Friend in Need!

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My new neighborhood is full of stray cats, which breaks my heart. I love animals, but especially cats. I hate to see any living thing suffering, particularly animals who have so little say in what happens to them. I recently discovered that Shanghai has a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) program and I have volunteered to help organize events and capture stray cats to be brought in for spaying/neutering, before returning them where we found them. Some people may think that returning them defies logic. Why not adopt them or put them to sleep? Because cats are territorial and if you remove them from an area, then more will just move in and with extra resources and territory, instincts will kick in and tell them to reproduce. Keeping spayed and neutered strays in their original territory prevents the growth of the stray population in more than one way.

I’ve been feeding a litter of kittens I found for the last two weeks and they seemed to be pretty healthy (except for conjunctivitis, which I am treating), with the exception of one, small black kitten. She is the smallest of the group and seemed mostly ok, but I made sure to give her extra food and keep the other kitties from stealing it from her. It wasn’t enough. She began leaving the safety of the bushes where they live and wandering around listlessly in the lane, where she was vulnerable to cars, mopeds and pedestrians staring at their phones instead of where they are going. When a stray begins approaching people like that, it’s typically a cry for help. They know they’re in trouble and asking for help the only way they know how. I ignored it and thought she would get better on her own. I came home from the gym one night and found her laying on the sidewalk, pulling herself around in circles with her front legs, unable to move her hind legs. I put her into a box and brought her into my house. I wrapped her with towels and turned on the heat to stop her shivering and fed her. I began looking online to see if I could find a veterinarian that took emergency calls, and of course, no one answered their phones. I finally remembered my contact at the TNR program who helped me find a vet that would see her so late (it was about 9:30pm when I found her, after 11 before I made it to the clinic, which was a million miles away). When I finally got there, he was really kind and patient. I think he took good care of her, but he really didn’t think she would make it through the night. She did make it through the night, and seemed to be a lot better the next day. She had blood in her urine and still couldn’t walk or go to the bathroom by herself. Today she had no blood in her urine, but still, no walking or relieving herself without someone pushing on her belly to get it out. The vet took some x rays and couldn’t find any spinal damage or other abnormalities, so he thinks she has nerve damage near her hips. The good news is that she has feeling in her toes and he could see her muscles moving when she was trying to poop, even if nothing was coming out. He said that with the right kind of care, it’s possible that she could regain use of her legs and bowels, but that will mean having a person available to help her go to the bathroom a couple times a day and providing physical therapy like treatment to help her nerves regenerate. She has a shot, but not without the right kind of person to help her. I wish like hell I could be that person because I have a hard time believing that someone else would give her the right attention, but also because I blame myself for not taking her to a vet sooner. Starting next week I’m going to be on business trips until December, so I just can’t do it. I really hope that some of you can help me spread the word or even volunteer to help this poor little kitty. She doesn’t have fleas or any contagious diseases (I had her tested) and the conjunctivitis of her eyes is getting better every day and will completely heal without any blindness.

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9 thoughts on “A Furry Friend in Need!

  1. My MIL has been feeding stray cats in her area for several years now. Shortly after she started the cat population exploded, I think there are hundreds of cats now she is feeding and its getting more (started with 4 of them…)
    We suggested to get them sterilized but she says always its too expensive but somehow paying more and more money on cat food is fine for her (crazy woman!).
    Each time we are there we take care of some kittens, I probaly still have some nice pictures of them somewhere lost on my harddrive :p

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    • Wow! That thought had occurred to me, but to be fair I only feed the kittens and certainly not enough for them to think they can rely solely on me for food. I don’t want to undermine their survival skills. Your MIL should check to see if her area has a TNR program, but there are also a lot of vets who are willing to do surgeries at cost for strays. It’s so sad!

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  2. I really love the idea of spaying/neautering and rereleasing. What you said makes a lot of sense.

    I normally have a lot of sympathy for strays and it warms my heart how many of my neighbors pitch in to provide make-shift shelters, water, and food for homeless animals. lately, however, there are a couple of cats that have become quite a nuisance. My next door neighbor always feeds the momma cat so her and her kitten sit outside our door all day and night. They poop and pee on the stair landing and the mother tries to get into our apartment, twice succeeding and attacking our small dog, once leaving her bloody. I’m not sure what to do.

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    • That’s not good! You should search online (in English and Chinese) for an animal shelter. More and more cities in China are constructing no-kill shelters. They may even be able to come help you catch them. Sounds like momma kitty definitely needs to be spayed, since they tend to calm down a lot after the surgery. Good luck!

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  3. How great to know there’s a TNR program in Shanghai! I was in China a couple of years back, visiting a small town Shanxi province, when I found three tiny baby kittens by the site of the road. They hadn’t even opened their eyes yet, but their mother was nowhere to be found. I tried to ask around what to do with them, but I think the locals had enough worries on their own without having to think of the kittens. By the time I was back, one had stopped moving. This experience was so traumatising I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing those kittens meowing for their mother. It’s great to hear that there are programs designed to help these little guys! I wish I could help you find a foster home!

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    • That stuff kills me! Unfortunately, my baby kitty didn’t make it. She was living at the vet clinic for a week and she suddenly took an unexplained turn for the worse and didn’t pull through. I was pretty upset, but couldn’t help but admit that perhaps it was for the best. She most likely wasn’t going to regain use of her back legs and I have to seriously question the quality of life that comes along with that kind of condition. I feel terrible that I didn’t bring her to the vet sooner, when I knew she was sick but hadn’t gotten hurt yet.

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      • Oh that’s sad news 😦 But you shouldn’t feel guilty, you did all you could given you had no idea what was going to happen, and I’m sure not everyone would have gone to such lengths to try and save her!

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      • Thank you for saying that! I know it on one level, but at the same time I can’t help but feel kind of guilty. Anyway, if you know people in Shanghai, spread the word about TNR! We need lots of volunteers and/or donations!

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