Last week I was talking to one of my favorite feral cat bloggers, Chicago Feral Cat Files, about feral cats who need extra recovery time after their TNR surgeries because they have other medical issues going on. Normally male feral cats can be returned outside after their surgery within 24 hours, and female cats can be returned after 48 hours. If a cat is recovering from a wound or a URI, however, and require antibiotics, their recovery time is obviously longer. In these cases we were brainstorming on how to keep the cats more comfortable.
Ideally cats that require more recovery time should be transferred into a larger cage so that they have room to stretch, eat, sleep and use a litterbox comfortably. I need to do some more research on these cages, but there are good options out there. One thing that I try to do for these cats is to line the trap with a puppy pad. The pads are more absorbent and comfortable for the cats to sit on rather than just newspaper, but they should only be used for cats that remain calm. Some cats like to shred and chew on everything in the trap, in which case the puppy pad is not a good idea.
Boo was TNR’d at PAWS Chicago in 2009. Her photo is also featured on PAWS Chicago’s Trap Neuter Return site. Boo turned out to be a pregnant female, which was so surprising to me as I rarely trap females from my yard, and she was so tiny. I named her Boo after seeing her for the first time the previous week looking out at me from inside my open basement door. I was outside gardening with the door open for hours. At some point she came into my house without me seeing her. When I did see her in the doorway, she bolted, and I did not see her again until I trapped her a week later late at night.
I recovered Boo in the trap for a few extra days with the puppy pads and she was good to go. Because she was so tiny, the trap did not seem that small for her. How do you keep the feral cats from your colony comfortable during their recovery time after TNR?