Neglected neighbor cat may have a broken toe, what should I do?
May 22, 2004 6:13 PM   Subscribe

KittyFilter! I think Skinny broke a toe. I saw him take a fall and he's been limping on one foot since then. It's improved steadily, he can walk on it now (though gingerly) but I can see some swelling in one toe. Before you tell me to take him into the vet, please read the [more inside].

1) He's not my cat.

2) There is a crazy cat lady two doors down from my house, and dozens of ill-cared-for cats emanate from her location. Skinny is one of them.

3) I know they aren't well-cared-for because they show up with cuts and scrapes and abcesses all the time.

4) I once took Skinny into the vet myself, just as a good samaritan, when an abcess got really ugly over a 4-day period.

5) That was when I had a job.

Anyone with any experience in the hurt-kitty-foot area, please advise. I don't believe it's his anterior crucial ligament, because he can support weight on it. I've seen that, and I don't think this is it.

It's been a week since he fell. I can ill afford a visit to the vet. Should I wait another week? Am I doing him harm by waiting? He seems healthy in general, just tender on that one foot.
posted by scarabic to Pets & Animals (15 answers total)
Response by poster: Oh, and that time with the abcess, I knocked on the crazy lady's door for 1/2 an hour and she wouldn't answer. Getting her to act is not an option.
posted by scarabic at 6:15 PM on May 22, 2004

I certainly am no veterinarian so I can't speak to the specific issue, but this seems like a no-brainer: call the humane society/aspca/animal services. It's unfair foir you to be forced to undertake pseudo-caretaker responsibilities and doubly so for the other cats which are not so lucky as to receive your (generous) care.
posted by Sinner at 6:23 PM on May 22, 2004

Yes, call Berkeley Animal Care Services at (510) 981-6600, or just drop the poor thing off in one of Berkeley Animal Care Services Night Deposit boxes at their offices at 2013 Second Street (between Addison and Hearst).
posted by nicwolff at 6:52 PM on May 22, 2004

What Sinner said. If for some reason you are opposed to getting the humane society involved, then call that vet ASAP and explain the situation. S/he should be able to recommend alternatives, such as a cat rescue group, and may be willing to donate some services to your neighbor if she's willing to take steps to make sure Skinny and the other cats are adequately cared for (possibly by voluntarily surrendering some to new homes?).
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 7:43 PM on May 22, 2004

Definitely get a cat-rescue group involved if you can't call the Human Society (who will probably put down many of those cats).
posted by mischief at 8:28 PM on May 22, 2004

scarabic - if the problem persists (and cats can get really nasty infected abscesses), email me for advice from a truly crazy (but very well informed) cat lady.
posted by troutfishing at 10:20 PM on May 22, 2004

and - BTW - most humans who break toes get little more than advice to "stay off it".

Your (adopted) cat will know this advice instinctively .
posted by troutfishing at 10:25 PM on May 22, 2004

Definitely get the Humane Society or animal services involved. If you just take it in, then the authorities will probably never find out that you have an animal hoarder as a neighbor and the situation may never improve for the other animals.

Also, although mischief said "probably" regarding putting down the cats, I have to disagree. Most area Humane Societies will assess each animal and put them up for adoption if they're not suffering a life-threatening disease or have behavioral problems. Disclaimer: I volunteer at a HS and that's the philosophy of most in this area at least.
posted by cyniczny at 11:11 PM on May 22, 2004

Response by poster: Awesome feedback and resources. I feel stupid for not being more aware of the options. Thanks!

[skinny thanks you too]
posted by scarabic at 12:23 AM on May 23, 2004

While what cyniczny says is true, from my experience when married to a cat-rescue fanatic, cats that come out of such situations ("dozens of ill-cared-for cats") are often unadoptable, and that is the source of my 'probably'.
posted by mischief at 6:14 AM on May 23, 2004


What would Gotham be like if Batman consistently ignored the BatSignal?

Hell, I tell you: It'd be sheer Hell.

I hope Amanda's doing alright.

scarabic: points for being a concerned catperson. BTW, I had a cat who got an absess the size of a golf ball in a fight once (those kitty canines deposit bacteria in the wounds they make), and after I spent good money on antibiotics and a vet visit, the thing just one day popped like a zit, spraying spew 2' across my desk. Cute. Real cute.
posted by Shane at 6:30 PM on May 23, 2004

And then healed up fine, right, please, Shane?
posted by nicwolff at 7:50 PM on May 23, 2004

And then healed up fine, right, please, Shane?

Absolutely! Or I would've taken the little scrapper back to the vet. Thanks for asking, nicwolff!
posted by Shane at 10:08 PM on May 23, 2004

Response by poster: Good news all! After steadily recovering day by day, Skinny seems to be doing fine now. After a few days, I was able to get a pretty good idea what happened. He let me manipulate his entire leg without any sign of pain, and it became obvious that the problem was with one toe. It was swollen to about 2x thicker than the others, and the claw was extruded a little at all times. It wasn't too sensitive to manipulation, but he didn't want to put much weight on it either. Anyway, he had an off day or two in there where he seemed sluggish, but overall has made a good recovery and is entirely his normal self again, with practically no limp. I'm sure in another month it will be as if it never happened. Thanks for the sanity checking, meanwhile!
posted by scarabic at 11:11 PM on June 10, 2004

Response by poster: Oh... and fwiw - I didn't find anyone who was willing to offer a gratis vet examination. The city services and humane society seemed primarily set up for animal control issues, and doing triage on abandoned or at-risk pets. I wound up giving as much detail as I could to my Mom, who relayed it to a Vet she works with. Following the advice that came back, I was able to make, I think, a reasonable call. This time...
posted by scarabic at 11:14 PM on June 10, 2004

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