In an earlier post, I introduced you to Winter the neighborhood stray cat. Winter has walked through our property on his or her way to adventures unknown since we moved into our home. Often just pausing a moment to stare into a window before heading on his or her daily journeys
In late 2021 we noticed Winter received some type of ailment or injury precariously close to the eye area.
Once the bitter cold Wyoming winter temperatures approached, we began to put out little snacks when Winter would come around and perch on the porches of our house. Often he or she would have to deal with a bigger bully cat nearby, but we got crafty trying to only put out the food when Winter was here and taking it back in when he or she departed.
To our dismay, the wound began to get noticeably worse. We were baffled what it could be: Injury, tumor, or something else all ran through my mind. I began to consider we may have to trap our wary visitor if humane treatment was needed, but this cat is not simply skittish; Winter is feral. This led me to consider just how traumatic and stressful for the animal a trapping experience would be.
We phoned our local vet who advised that unless the cat was in severe physical distress, it was best to let it try to recover on its own.
Recently things started looking up since the above photo was taken, with the wound having decreased in overall mass. We are hoping to see it improve still more in time.
I researched online groups like Alley Cat Allies that advocate to help feral and stray cats. Interestingly, they note that many feral cats may be seen alone but likely survive as part of a group or colony. Also, feral cats are more bonded to the geography of where they live than a house or person they may visit (so while well-meaning people try to “keep” them, a feral cat will nearly always try to get back to its original territory). I found consensus from sources that unless a cat begins to warm to a person, or begins to show socialization, it will not likely end well for the cat to try to keep it. There are some ways you can help still, depending on your situation. (So glad we have organizations out there that put this kind of helpful information online for the rest of us!)
Being someone who wants to care for any hurting creature, it’s hard to see this little soul struggle with this injury and not able to welcome it into our home. (Our resident cat Fury cannot risk being with other animals due to her conditions). So we continue to put out snacks and water when its freezing or when Winter appears by the door. Once warmer temperatures arrive, our plan is to slowly reduce until we can revert our friendly visitor back to hunting on its own. Until then, we will keep a close eye on our little fur friend closely.