Meet Dr. Linda’s new cat, Beebee.
Nov. 8, 2020
On my way to work this week I drove past something laying in the middle of the road. It was a cat and as I passed she turned her head to look at me but made no other attempt to move. I pulled over, grabbed a grocery bin from the back of the car and approached her. She looked terrified but didn’t move. I suspected she had been hit by a car and cautiously transferred her to the grocery bin, covered it with an extra large shopping bag and took her to work.
In the exam room at the clinic she bolted out of the bin and ran around the room. Clearly nothing was broken. She looked and acted like a feral cat. I was able to do a brief exam. She had some dried blood on the front of her muzzle and the side of her muzzle and upper lip were swollen. There appeared to be no oral trauma, or missing or broken teeth. She was not microchipped.
We housed her in a kennel in a quiet room at the clinic to monitor her and better judge her level of tameness. She ate, did not use the litter box provided and continued to be difficult to handle and look terrified but she appeared healthy.
I found her on the road between 2 farms, she had a winter coat and seemed feral so I suspected she was a farm cat and would not be missed.
I live on a hobby farm and have a small horse barn that currently houses 2 semi feral cats. I decided she could join us on the farm. Our barn cats have ample food, litter boxes and a heated tack room in winter. It’s not a house but the accommodations are quite comfortable.
She would need to be negative for feline leukaemia and feline immune deficiency virus to join our farm and would need to be spayed.
She needed sedation for the blood test, which was negative, so we proceeded to a general anaesthetic for the spay. This also allowed a more detailed exam. The swelling on her face had decreased to almost normal over her 3 days at the hospital but there was still a hard swelling just above her lip. I did a mini exploratory surgery over the hard swelling and extracted a lead pellet. Her facial wounds were not due to being hit by a car but due to being shot in the face. During surgery I noticed a hematoma on the suspensory ligament of her uterus. She had also suffered some sort of trauma causing limited internal bleeding. I suspect she was also hit by a car and I found her stunned and in shock after the accident. I X-rayed her entire body and there were no other shot gun pellets. Her uterus was immature so I suspect I have a 6 to 10 month old kitten as my new barn cat.
She is currently living in a large dog kennel in the barn until she recovers from surgery. She is eating well and has learned to use a litter box. I can pet her but only because she can’t run away. I hope she learns to trust us enough to stay when we release her from the kennel.
Update January 2021
Beebee lived in the kennel for 2 weeks cowering in the back corner whenever we filled her dishes and cleaned the litter box. She seemed to have recovered from her surgery so we let her out of the kennel but kept her confined to the tack room of our barn. We visited several times daily to clean her litter and feed her (and take care of our horses). She gradually became less afraid and allowed us to pet her. We started holding her. She struggled but over time she started to like being held. We gave her toys and she played.
We have had her for 2 months and she is now the sweetest cuddliest cat we have ever had in our barn. She is no longer confined and has chosen to stay. She has 2 cat friends, a heated tack room, a heated water bowl, a bottomless food bowl and lots of cuddles during barn chores.
Patience and kindness nurtured trust and created a bond that improved all our lives. A fitting lesson to carry through this new year.
See a video of Beebee’s story: