Hi, all. Looking for some more experienced Friends of Cats to advise.
BLUF: Feral cat has a swollen eye but is wary of traps and humans. What is the best course of action?
DH and I have two feral cats (Omar and Shiva, both fixed and ear tipped). After 7 years, we have never had success with physical contact, though they are always “around” on the property and seem content in their busy feral cat lives.
That said, they’re very difficult to provide veterinary care for. We can deworm them for roundworms, but we’ve failed at providing more significant care. Four or five years ago, Omar went through a period of being on and off lame on a hind leg, but the cats are familiar with traps from their lives pre-us and we failed to trap him to take to the vet. Eventually, he healed fully and hasn’t had an issue since so we let it go.
Similarly, Shiva on and off has a swollen/shut eye (no tears or pus, just squinted shut or visible third eyelid covering part). It used to come and go, but the last few months it hasn’t fully cleared up, and is mostly shut again as of this AM. A new development has been the switch to feeding them the indoor cats’ raw diet, instead of Friskies and store brand kibble. They went from being politely interested in feeding time to greeting us with urgent meows and gobbling bites off the spoon as the food is dished out.
I believe it’s possible with a little work and planning to shove Shiva in a carrier or trap her and take her to a vet, but I also fully believe this will ruin their tenuous comfort and trust in us. I managed to graze the top of Omar’s head with one finger a few years ago as he came to eat his Friskies and it took him 6 months to get within 15 feet of me again… There would be no hope of being able to apply eye drops or cream to Shiva’s eye as ongoing treatment. Any oral antibiotics would get into both of them since they share a food bowl even if we put down two (they eat one and then the other together). She eats enthusiastically and doesn’t seem distressed, but clearly something is wrong with the eye.
Are there any options other than taking her in to the vet and hoping it can be a “one and done” treatment?