My philosphy

My philosphy

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

TNR & other Feral Cat Ethics

TNR stands for Trap, Neuter & Return, which is a program for neutering healthy feral cats and returning them to the colony. First off, the term neuter is not gender specific. It simply means to make neutral. Castration is the surgical removal of the testicles in the male, and ovariohysterectomy is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus in the female.

TNR is a touch subject, with many variables. Some people feel that the feral cat colony should be euthanized entirely, that they wreak havoc on the natural ecosystem by killing the birds and lizards for food. Some groups test for FeLV & FIV and euthanize those that test positive, while others test but don't euthanize unless symptomatic.

The standard for neutered/vaccinated cats is for their left ear to be "tipped", so the same cat does not go through the trauma of getting trapped and taken to a facility after already being neutered.

I previously worked for a SPCA Spay & Neuter Clinic, where we handled feral cats routinely. Most of the feral cats were FeLV & FIV negative, and otherwise healthy. I live in an area where feral cats are plenty, and would LOVE to see better TNR programs around us!

 FYI- National Feral Cat Day is October 16th!

Here are some Feral Cat links-
Alley Cat Allies is an amazing organization promoting TNR and awareness of Feral Cats. I would love to become more involved with them someday.

Fully Vetted is a blog written by a Veterinarian from PetMD, her view points are awesome and she touches on some controversial subjects.

Winn Feline Foundation is another amazing organization that promotes feline welfare, and another group I would love to get involved with some day.  

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) is yet another organization I want to work with. I am actually going to send in my membership application soon! They do so much for cats with research, and setting up vaccine guidelines, client support and education and continuing education for Veterinary Professionals.


Yet again, I have been so caught up with school work I haven't posted.  I also had a rough weekend. Four weeks to the date of euthanize Fluff, I came home from a friends house Saturday night and my "problem child" Cole had passed away. He had a massive seizure and died. I am still in shock because he was doing so well. Cole had a lot of health problems, but since we diagnosed his Hypoparathryoidism and found a correlation between his seizures and his low thyroid level....his medications were adjusted and he was GREAT!

I have always said with Cole, that I knew his time on this Earth won't be as long as the rest of us, but while he was here I would show him love and make sure he was happy and healthy. Which is exactly what I did. I also said when his time was up, I wanted to do a necropsy (autopsy), to find out if he even had a Thyroid gland!

So when I got home at almost 1 am and found him in his crate, I was in shock. Todd wasn't home yet, so I called him...once I heard his voice, I started to cry. I called my parents as Dad and his girlfriend were able to come right over, and helped us get Cole to the clinic. I didn't go to bed until 3am, and woke up at 7am. I spoke with Dr Chavis, the amazing vet who has been helping with Cole, and we scheduled his necropsy for that afternoon. I asked my BFF Sadie from work to be there with me. I gave Todd the option of being there, and understand his decision to not remember Cole like that. This was for me, this was my way of getting closure. Unlike Fluff, where I made the decision to euthanize because I knew she was sick, and didn't want her to suffer...this was so sudden, and I NEEDED and answer.

I won't go into the details of the necropsy, I am sure no one else wants to hear them. I was okay during it though, I did cry...but I knew he was gone, and even in death was teaching me. The body is an amazing machine, and even though I have seen necropsy's and have preformed dissections, it is still amazing to look at. I did learn a bit more about Cole, and we had to send some tissue out for pathology. Dr Chavis thinks Cole had an immune mediated thyroid problem.  Pretty much the body decides to attack itself, not recognizing that it's own structures are under siege; ie: Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), the immune system attacks the Red Blood Cells (RBC's), destroying them (hemolytic = RBC destruction) and therefore causing anemia. It makes sense that Cole's immune system could be attacking the Thyroid gland, because he more than tripled his thyroid supplement dose and developed Hypoparathyrodism (the parathyroid gland is located beside the thyroid). On necropsy, we could not definitively find the Thyroid we sent off the surrounding tissue to confirm.

In the end, I want an answer. Obviously this answer will not change how we treated Cole, and we did do EVERYTHING we could for him. I know that I found him BECAUSE I would go to great lengths to diagnose and  treat Cole. Eventually though, his Thyroid would have to shut down, you can only supplement something that isn't working for so long.

I miss him terribly, but know that before he died...he was happy. He was a normal dog!

Here are some pictures from a few years back. My friend Becca and I took our dogs out to a local beach for the morning, they had fun. Her dog Harmonie is the Great Dane. Abby is the fuzzy wet dog at the bottom, she is my old lady (15 years old)

Cole wasn't really allowed off his leash...he tried to leave with other people....

Me and my Cole Man

He LOVED the sand dunes

He also loved Harmonie

This is my ALL TIME favorite picture of Cole
Abby, after swimming in a tide pool!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


 This article makes me so upset. People REALLY should do some research before they just start messing with an animals diet. So I feel the need to step up on my soap box for a minute....Cats are OBLIGATE CARNIVORES. They are unable to synthesize Taurine, an essential amino acid, that humans and canines are able to synthesize. Cats MUST get Taurine from their diet, and it is most abundant in MEAT! Taurine deficiency causes retinal degeneration and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)! This was actually discovered in the 1980's, once the link between Taurine deficiency and retinal  degeneration and DCM was discovered, it wasn't long before these problems reversed themselves. Cats are minute Lions, Tigers, Leopards, etc. They have the same anatomy and physiology, the same nutritional requirements, the only difference is the SIZE and personality (ie NOT wild, exception - feral cats)

Anyways, I am done ranting...time to get back to studying. We had our first A&P test today,and we will get them weekly! I have to study the bones of the cat, dog and horse...and of course, the horse is complicated!