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Canned cat food, Neosporin, and Vetericyn Win the Day!

By Kimberly J EganPublished 24 days ago 4 min read

Being a farm cat isn't for the weak of heart. Unlike house cats, who pretty much rule the roost, farm cats have to constantly struggle to keep their position in the group. Patience is a young female barn cat who, over time, has come to be the new matriarch of my small clowder. She has more status than any of the other cats, other than Creamsicle, my old male. She eats first and sleeps the highest. Her status was cemented in place by having a litter of kittens this year--the first successful litter of kittens we've had since old Target (Tarjay) died.

Three girls! I am keeping the little black "split face" kitten on the right. The other two have already found homes.

Imagine my surprise, then, when she came limping up to the cottage on May 9, her right leg swollen from hock to foot, and dragging as she walked. Judging by her appearance, it seemed that she had been in a fairly bad cat fight. (That points to another female cat being in her territory, as my only other female, Little Brown, defers to Patience.) I will give her credit: she knew where to come when she needed help. My cats get fed their two small meals a day in front of the cottage and they know that is where I stay.

Although I knew that she had been fighting, I was not prepared for what I would see when I went out to help her. Somehow, poor Patience had gotten a strip of skin as wide as my thumb and almost as long torn from her leg. The wound extended from just above her hock halfway to the pads of her foot. I can't show the picture that I took of it for diagnostic purposes. It's too horrible and I'd need to put a warning on this article. Let's just say that there were "underlying structures that were exposed" and leave it at that.

In terms of wounds that farm cats can suffer, it was ugly but not as life-threatening as some. I knew one barn kitten, many moons ago when I was a child in Connecticut, who had an entire paw bitten off by rats. Stumpy went on to live a reasonably long life for a barn cat, too, so I knew that if Patience survived the infection, she would be okay. The problem was that there were already ants infesting the wound and she was in some significant amount of pain. Her kittens were not yet ready to wean--they couldn't survive if their mother disappeared or died. Neither was she a suitable candidate to take to the vet. Patience tolerates me touching her, but no one else, not even Dan. I couldn't imagine her being sedated to treat a leg wound, especially when stitches would be all but useless due to the nature of the wound.

After picking her up to inspect for any breaks or puncture wounds and finding none, I decided that the best way to treat her was with simple wound care. Cats are AMAZING healers. They have very thin skin, so it heals quickly--almost too quickly. The trick is to help it heal without allowing it to become infected. Even though I thought I knew what I was doing, I went to one of my several homesteading social media pages for some advice. The consensus was that I should use plain water and mild soap to clean the wound for the first two days, coat it with antibiotic ointment, and, when I had picked up some Vetericyn Wound Care spray, to use that product three times each day until the wound had closed.

I am not here to sell any product, but if you have a homestead or even care for a lot of animals at home, I highly recommend that you have Vetericyn on hand. It is antimicrobial and goes on without stinging. Once Patience learned that she would get a couple of tablespoons of stinky canned cat food for being a good kitty, she happily tolerated being sprayed over the length and breadth of the wound. She also got a small amount of milk in the morning and at night, fresh from the dairy goat. After a couple of days, she realized that she was living the high life. She always put on an act like she was going to run away, but pretty soon I caught her purring softly when I picked her up!

Vetericyn is handy to have around, to prevent infections in topical wounds. After Patience recovered, we started using it on Cowboy's surgical wound, after he had to have a growth removed.

The terrible-looking wound began to dry up quickly, with the regular application of a moist washcloth and Vetericyn spray. By the fourth day, it was beginning to granulate around the edges; that is, it was beginning to form a scab. By the sixth day, it was still darned ugly--but now it was ugly and brown and scabby rather than ugly and red and nasty. The swelling had gone down, and she was putting more weight on the leg. By some miracle, the edges of the wound always remained dry. Despite being a barn cat and being continuously exposed to dust and goat poo, she never had the slightest infection!

Just yesterday, May 22, I took this final picture of Patience's leg. I am happy to report that she has made a complete recovery! All that remains of that terrible wound is a thin line of a scab that is in the process of coming off. Would Patience have recovered without the spray (and her stinky cat food)? Maybe. As I said earlier, cats are amazing healers. I like to believe that I did a bit of good for her, even if it was just that she kept coming back to eat and to remove debris from the wound.

Even without the "before" picture, it's easy to see from the "after" how badly off she was. All that's left is for her fur to grow back, which will probably take a while.

So, yes, homesteading is an adventure, for humans and animals alike. The homestead and all its denizens give me a reason to get up in the morning--and they certainly provide more than enough topics for my writing! If you like reading about our adventures here, please consider subscribing. If you really, really, really like us, you might consider a small tip or even a pledge? Thank you so much for reading--we'll catch you next time!


About the Creator

Kimberly J Egan

Welcome to LoupGarou/Conri Terriers and Not 1040 Farm! I try to write about what I know best: my dogs and my homestead. I'm currently working on a series of articles introducing my readers to some of my animals, as well as to my daily life!

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