Hi I recently trapped 2 young feral male cats. The smaller one amazingly started purring when I petted him (even though he'd never let anyone around here touch him before). He's now eating fine and acting affectionate toward me.His buddy is another story. He acts utterly terrified. He was shaking so hard when I trapped him that I though he'd have a heart attack. I took them to the vet for FIV and FeLV testing (both cats were negative). Right now, I have them in a large walk-in closet with water, food and litter. The small cat gulps the canned food down, but the other cat will not eat as far as I can tell. I leave dry food in there also but peek in when I hear crunching it's always the smaller cat who is eating.

It's been two days. Should I give him another day or so and then take him to the vet? I don't want him to end up with liver damage. Do you think any vet would be willing to force-feed a feral cat. This little guy is somewhat hostile, but he will let me scratch his jaws a little bit.
Releasing him is not an option. The small, friendlier cat is his best buddy. They were always together. They even ended up in the trap together as they entered side by side. The small cat seemed so miserable as a stray, and I don't want to spearate them.

The other reason for not doing the trap/neuter/return program for these cats is that I found out the person who had promised to feed them is completely unreliable. She refuses to put out clean water. She says they can drink out of puddles when it rains. (Last summer she put out tons of food but no water in 90+ degree heat for some kittens who ended up drinking fluids under a car and dying). She also does not make plans for someone else to feed the cats when she's out of town for extended periods of time. It's like the cats are there for her amusement but she doesn't worry about them beyond that. (I am reporting her irresponsible behavior to the local TNR program people as well as the apartment manager where she lives).

I am however worried the one feral cat is going to die if he continues to refuse to eat. Any ideas?
Thanks,
Sheri
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I am however worried the one feral cat is going to die if he continues to refuse to eat. Any ideas?[/nq]Good work on trapping them! That's awful about the so-called caretaker, though. I hope someone else will take over if there are others. As for getting the little one to eat, can you try some meat baby food (warm it a little) and put it on a spoon for him to lick off? I had to feed a feral this way and she wouldn't let me anywhere near her - just as terrified as could be and I couldn't even touch her at all, and she was ill after being spayed, I think it was feline herpes and she couldn't breathe well.

I taped a spoon to a long wooden spoon to create some distance between us and she licked off the baby food, then Hill's AD and then finally kitten food, and then she was eating on her own when she was feeling better. Good luck!
Yes, try other foods such as roasted chicken cut up in pieces. Also, tuna fish. I think he is just so frightened but that given time he will be OK. I think you are wonderful for taking these guys in. Also, he may eat at night when all is quiet and he feels safer in the darkness. Gail
I learned a new word at the cat show yesterday: "Heinz-body hemolytic anemia". It is the condition some animals (cats and small dogs) get when they eat onions. Or garlic. One very common cause of Heinz-body hemolytic anemia in cats is human "all meat" baby food: Many, if not most of which contain onion powder. Read all about it:

http://www.monkeymaddness.com/articles/onions.html

From what I've read, fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) is usually associated with older, pampered, overweight cats who suddenly become anorexic. I find it hard to believe that a young, skinny, starving feral cat would even live long enough to have a problem with it. Read all about it:
http://www.hdw-inc.com/healthliver.htm

As for getting the little one to eat, can you try some meat
baby food (warm it a little) and put it on a spoon for him to lick off? I had to ... and then finally kitten food, and then she was eating on her own when she was feeling better. Good luck!

John Kimmel
I think it will be quiet around here now. So long.
Hi I recently trapped 2 young feral male cats. The smaller one amazingly started purring when I petted him ... worried the one feral cat is going to die if he continues to refuse to eat. Any ideas? Thanks, Sheri

Have you tried giving him some canned tuna. My cats will always eat tuna.

Adam
I learned a new word at the cat show yesterday: "Heinz-body hemolytic anemia". It is the condition some animals (cats and small dogs) get when they eat onions.

Yes, good reminder to look at the label and don't buy baby food for cats that has onion in it. I keep Gerber turkey or chicken on hand but others have suggested other brands.
This is also an opportunity to bond with the feral by spoon feeding him occasionally. It worked for Bonnie. Emotion: smile
Thanks to all. I do know about the problem with giving onions to cats and am careful to use baby foods without them. I'll try your suggestions and pray he responds. This poor cat is just petrified.
He and the other smaller cat were inseparable. I even caught them together. They must have walked into the trap side by side because I was shocked to find both of them in it 20 minutes after I set it out. I'm amazed now at how different their personalities are. The little one hasn't stopped purring for 2 days and is a bottomless pit when it comes to food. The other one just hisses at me and backs into a corner.

I put a cardboard box in the room so he can hide from me. I figured that would make him a little more secure. Still I really worry he's not going to make it. There's a depressed expression on his face like he just wants to give up. He looks so bewildered that his little buddy is acting affectionate toward me. It's so sad.

Sheri
Although feeding him tuna might get him started on eating, after a few days he will have to have regular cat food in order to get enough taurine and other essential nutrients.
Just a couple of thoughts...
If they went to vet, I assume they got shots & sometimes that lays them low for a couple of days.
I just had for a couple of weeks a stray who also didn't seem to be eating for a couple of days but he did use the litter box & drank some water. Can you tell if both cats are using the box? I too would peek in when I heard crunching but he always ran off could be that he eats when the little guy eats but runs off when he hears noise at the door. Ultimately, my guy started out eating only at night when it was dark & real quiet! He did not eat much for a week or so (certainly less than when I fed him outside) & I did give him tuna once or twice just to get his 'appetite juices' going. Seemed to work...
Also, remember he is hearing all sorts of new sounds; people, TV, radio, etc. Each new sound will scare him at first but & it may take him a couple of weeks before he even wants to try exploring. Having the second guy, I think, will really help him there.
Best suggestion I got was to sit on floor, talk softly to them, put my hand out a little & let the cat come to you. Do this for 5 minutes at a time as often as you can during the day. Doesn't seem possible but it does work. By the end of first week, my guy was rolling over on his back to get his belly rubbed!
I think cats kind of go into a shutdown mode under real stress but with the help of the other guy, hunger, and lots of patience, I'm sure he'll come around in his own way. He's probably not going to let you see him eat for a few days though.
Hang in there
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