Tag Archives: feral cats in Dickinson North Dakota

I Had To Take Hannah To The Veterinarian This Morning

In yesterday’s blog post article, titled “Is There Something Wrong With Purina Dry Cat Food?”, I was complaining that after buying Purina Kitten Chow for my seven month old cat named Hannah Lee Duggan, my cat wouldn’t eat anything for the past three days. My cat wouldn’t eat the Purina dry cat food, another brand of dry cat food, sliced turkey, or sliced ham.

This was very troubling and hard to believe, because this cat named Hannah, she was a stray cat that I had been feeding at the job site where I work for the past five months. Hannah, her brothers, her mother, and her father were voracious eaters. They were always very eager to get whatever food was put out for them.

About three weeks ago, I caught Hannah Lee Duggan and took her home with me, because I thought that I was going to save her from something bad happening to her. One by one, her three brothers had disappeared, never to be seen again. Myself and my co-workers, we didn’t know if an owl, hawk, or coyote was getting them.

When I got Hannah home, I kept her inside the house and I wouldn’t let her outside because I didn’t want something to happen to her, she is still a small cat. Within a couple of days, Hannah would come and sit beside me on the sofa. She liked to be petted, scratched, and held. She liked to sleep beside me, on top of me, or down beside my feet.

For the first two weeks of having Hannah at my house, I had to clean her litter box about twice per day, because she pooped and urinated so much. After she hadn’t eaten for the past three days, the amount of feces in her litter box dropped off significantly.

This morning was the fourth day that Hannah had not eaten. When I checked her litter box, not only was there not any feces, there were not any litter clumps from urination. Hannah had quit drinking water too. For the past week Hannah’s disposition has been very pleasant and affectionate, though she has lost some weight.

When I called the veterinary clinic in Dickinson this morning at 8:30 a.m., luckily I was able to get an emergency appointment for Hannah at 10:00 a.m. this morning. I hated to have to catch Hannah and fight her to get her into her cat carrier, she had been in such a pleasant and affectionate mood all this week. She didn’t understand why I was trying to catch her and take her somewhere, she thought that this was her home now.

The vet check-in went smoothly. Pretty soon we were taken to an examination room. The young veterinarian woman was able to take Hannah out of her cat carrier, hold her, handle her, examine her, and do a blood draw without Hannah panicking and struggling too much. This was surprising to me, I had warned this young veterinarian that Hannah had been a stray feral cat.

From the physical examination of Hannah, feeling her belly and organs, taking her temperature, taking her heart rate, examining her eyes, ears, mouth, and throat, the vet could not find anything wrong. The vet said that Hannah looked and acted healthy. I had to wait about twenty minutes for the results of Hannah’s blood test.

It turned out that Hannah tested negative for Feline FIV and everything else that they tested her for. When the veterinarian technician began talking about possible “hospitalization”, then possibly “surgery”, I was beginning to picture a $2,000-$3,000 vet bill. I was getting ready to have to explain to them again that this was a stray feral cat that I had taken home with me from a job site, you people are getting the wrong idea.

I didn’t want to leave Hannah at the vet for “hospitalization”, because I couldn’t see spending $100 per day or more for keeping her in a cage where she would be frightened, confused, and probably be even less likely to want to eat anything. I explained to the vet technician, and then to the veterinarian that I didn’t want to leave Hannah, she would not understand, she would think that I was abandoning her, she thought that she had had a new permanent home with me.

The veterinarian said that if Hannah did not eat anything by Monday morning, that I would need to bring her back. She would probably have to be hospitalized for them to try to get her to eat. Then if she didn’t eat, she might have to have surgery.

I asked how much did this hospitalization cost? The veterinarian said $38 per day, which I was relieved to hear. I thought that they were going to try to charge me $100-$150 per day. The veterinarian said that most cats do well with their stay at the hospital. I don’t know, I thought that Hannah would feel that I was abandoning her and not ever coming back, when she thought that she had a new permanent home with me.

The veterinarian gave me five cans of Science Diet cat food, which is supposed to be a better and more appetizing cat food. The total bill for this visit was $275, which I thought was fair.

I can’t believe this though, this is ridiculous. I took a stray feral cat home with me, that just as easily could have stayed right where it was at the job site. Now, a few weeks later, this cat is needing emergency vet visits, and possibly hospitalization and surgery, WTF? I don’t know if I will pay for any surgery. I can see paying for a week of hospitalization, but how much will a surgery cost? Is this cat going to have continuing health problems?

Update 11/21/20:  When I got Hannah home from the veterinarian on Friday at noon, I opened a can of the salmon Science Diet cat food that the vet had given me.  Hannah did not eat this salmon Science Diet cat food when I put it out for her, nor later that evening, nor that night.

At about 7:00 p.m. I put a small piece of cooked chicken breast out for Hannah, but she did not eat it then, nor later that night.

At about 8:00 p.m. I put a small piece of raw beef out for Hannah, and she ate this small piece at about 11:00 p.m.  So I put out five more small pieces of raw beef out at 12:00 a.m., and Hannah ate them.

Between 6:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. I saw that Hannah had consumed about 1/3 of a bowl of water.

At 6:00 a.m. I put out six small pieces of raw beef, and Hannah ate them within about 1/2 hour.  At 7:00 a.m. I put out another seven small pieces of raw beef, and Hannah ate them within about 1/2 hour.

At 9:00 a.m. I put out eight small pieces of raw beef, and at 5:00 p.m. Hannah ate these eight small pieces, plus another four small pieces that I gave her while she was eating.

At 7:00 p.m. Hannah ate another eight small pieces of raw beef.

Hannah has been in a good mood all week.  She is behaving well and is acting very friendly.  She does not appear to be in pain or feel sick.  The only indication that she was sick, was that she went for four days without eating anything.  Her bowel movements and her urination became much smaller and infrequent.

I am beginning to believe that Hannah has some kind of intestinal blockage, that makes her not feel like eating, and makes her bowel movements very small and infrequent.  I don’t know if she has a hair ball, swallowed some foreign object, or if the Purina Kitten Chow plugged her up.  She is not coughing or throwing up.

I don’t know if Hannah is going to get better on her own or not.  I don’t want to take her to the veterinarian hospital because I think that she will be less likely to eat there and poop there, due to being confused and frightened.

Update 11/23/20:  By Monday Hannah was eating, drinking, pooping, and urinating normally.  On Sunday she passed a couple of very hard, dark stool, with a small piece of fiber, like a carpet fiber in them.

I am not sorry that I took Hannah to the veterinarian, it’s probably better to err on the side of caution, or find out sooner rather than later if your pet has something wrong with it.  However, I am glad that I held off on the hospitalization and surgery, especially for a cat that was behaving fairly normal, other than not eating.

I Caught Hannah Lee Duggan And Took Her Home With Me

At the industrial job site where I work in North Dakota, most of my coworkers like the feral cats that hang around. They each have their own unique personality, idiosyncracies, and behaviors that we observe. How they fit in, socialize, and interact with other cats, other animals, and us.

When the site is not busy, we are able to put food out for the cats. We don’t want the cats hanging around when the site is busy, because we don’t want them to get run over by vehicles, tractor trucks, or heavy equipment.

The male cats seem to be the most wary of people, always acting like they think that someone is going to do something to them. Which is good, because we might have some oddball worker from another company who might do something mean to a cat, especially a feral cat.

The female cats seem to be more ready to accept food from us, and wanting for us to give them something to eat, whereas the male cats try to act like they don’t need our food. This all changes in the winter though when there is less natural prey for the cats and it becomes, very, very cold.

The smallest female cat at the site, is actually the most dominant cat. She does not hesitate to chase after and attack any other cat that is not doing what it is supposed to be doing, in her opinion. She is kind of like Judge Judy, she is always putting the other cats in their place.

In February or March of 2020, we noticed that the Judge Judy cat was becoming fatter and fatter, it became obvious that she was pregnant. We were glad that this happened when it did, because she would be able to give birth when it got warmer in May.

One or two of my coworkers asked me to try to find out when and where this Judge Judy cat had her kittens, because they wanted to take one of them home with them. When this cat became much, much smaller suddenly, and we knew that she must have had her kittens, she hid them so well, that we never could find them.

It wasn’t until late June, quite a long time to keep kittens hidden, that the mother cat brought her kittens out into the open. They appeared to be about six to eight weeks old. Several times each day, we saw this mother cat bring mice, other small rodents, and birds back to her kittens. She was a very good hunter. There were four kittens.

In late July, the mother cat was down to three kittens. We don’t know what happened to the fourth kitten. It could have been an owl, a hawk, or a coyote that killed her other kitten. At least her other kittens were getting bigger, so they would be less likely to be carried away by an owl or a hawk. Here is a photo of the three kittens at this time:

In the photograph above, the grey and white kittens were male, and the tan and white kitten was female. It became obvious for a number of reason who the father was. Each kitten was a mix between the father and mother cat, as you can see from this photo:

As winter was approaching, I was concerned about what was going to happen to these cats. At this job site, it gets down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. To be clear, I am talking about 40 degrees below zero degrees, and that’s not even including the wind-chill effect.

I thought about it, and I believed that if I could get some of these feral cats to come and sit inside of the office trailer to warm up when I was at work, that it might help them to not be under stress from the cold all the time.

In early October, it was already getting down to 7 degrees Fahrenheit. So I began tricking the kittens into the office trailer, by putting food just inside the door, then closing the door behind them. I even tricked the mother cat into the office trailer a couple of times. I didn’t listen to their complaints, and eventually they would calm down, and go sit down:

The female kitten, I named “Hannah Lee Duggan”, after the YouTuber Hannah Lee Duggan because their markings were exactly the same, white and tan.

The bad thing about inviting/trapping Hannah Lee Duggan inside of the office trailer, was that she pooped on the floor. You had to watch her the whole time. In order to not have to keep track of her, I picked her up to put her in a chair, and she pooped all over.

One day after having a few days off from work, when I returned to work, the two male kittens were nowhere to be found. This was highly unusual because each of the kittens always stayed together and played together throughout the day. At first, I thought that either a site worker did something to them, or an animal had gotten them. But after a few days of asking around if anyone had seen them, it became to appear more likely that these two male kittens had climbed up inside someone’s car engine, and had been driven away to who knows where.

This was very sad that the mother Judge Judy cat had put so much work into hiding, feeding, and raising these kittens, and now there was only one that had survived, the female kitten Hannah Lee Duggan.

I didn’t know how I was going to take Hannah Lee Duggan back to my house, because she kept shitting everywhere. I brought a cat litter box and cat litter to the office trailer to see if Hannah Lee Duggan would use the litter box, and she did. The next day I was going to bring in a cat carrier and catch Hannah Lee Duggan and take her home with me. Also, there was a fairly large gash on Hannah’s side, that I didn’t know what it was from, it may have been an owl or a hawk had tried to carry her away.

The following day, I had Hannah Lee Duggan inside of the office trailer with me. I kept her inside because I wanted to be able to grab her when I got ready to leave for the day. A couple of times during the day she had gone into the open cat carrier by herself, but I didn’t want to lock her in it too early, so that she could use the litter box.

Twenty minutes before I had to leave for home, was when I grabbed Hannah Lee Duggan to stuff her inside of the cat carrier. She didn’t want to go in, and she began shitting everywhere, on my pants, on my shoes, everywhere. I was about ready to give up, I didn’t need this aggravation, so in anger I grabbed her very forcefully with heavy gloves on, and shoved her ass inside the cat carrier no matter how much she protested. Once she was in, she didn’t have much to say.

Hannah did not have much to say on the nearly one hour drive home. I had already prepared another cat litter box with litter in the living room of my house, and I put the cat carrier with Hannah in it, right in front of the litter box for a few minutes before I let her out of the cat carrier.

She stepped out of the cat carrier like she wasn’t upset, stretched, and then she walked over to and under the sofa. I let her stay under the sofa for several hours without bothering her. Then I tried to get her to come out, because if you let cats get into the habit of hiding under furniture, that is what they will do for the rest of her life.

When I got Hannah to come out from under the sofa, she walked around normal for a few minutes, then she found something else to go hide under. I would only let her stay under something for a few hours, before I would try to get her to come out. I saw that she was using the litter box. She was using the litter box so much, that I had to clean the litter box at least twice per day.

After a few days of clean water and normal cat food, Hannah’s digestive problems seemed to clear up. Everything was a first, grabbing her and putting her on the sofa, was the first time that she had ever been on a sofa. Scratching her head, her neck, and her chin was the first time that anyone had ever scratched her.

Soon, Hannah realized that she liked being petted and scratched, and she was always coming over to me wanting to be petted and scratched. Then, she realized that she liked being held, and that she would much rather sleep beside me, or on top of me.

Now, Hannah is sometimes a nuisance, because she persistently wants to climb on top of me, kiss me on the mouth, and wedge herself up under my chin, kneading her needle-like claws into my neck.

This is quite a change for Hannah, not having to be afraid of coyotes, owls, and hawks trying to catch her, not being out in the wind, the rain, the snow, and the cold. She is behaving fairly well, not tearing anything up yet. I might try to catch her mother, the Judge Judy cat, we will see.

I Almost Killed This Cat

Yesterday evening at work, I pulled a six week old Siamese kitten out of a truck engine.  The driver of the truck did not want this kitten, and she said that she lived next door to a bar, that had a lot of stray cats outside, that she didn’t think that this kitten belonged to anyone.

I wrote in yesterday’s blog post that this kitten didn’t try to scratch or bite me, and I put it in my Jeep Cherokee while I continued to work.  This work site was not a safe place to let this kitten go, there are several packs of coyotes nearby, that come onto the site every night.  After work, halfway through the long drive back to Dickinson where I live, this kitten climbed up my sweatshirt sleeve, it sat on my shoulder fairly still, and it looked out the window at the sights.

I stopped at the Family Dollar store to buy cat litter, a litter box, cat food, and cat food bowls.  I put this kitten in my apartment bathroom with a bowl of water, some cat food, and the litter box.  When I checked on this kitten after about an hour, it had eaten all of its food, drank some water, and it had used the litter box.  I was glad that it knew how to use the litter box.

At the apartment building where I live, pets are not allowed.  I didn’t know how or if I was going to be able to keep this kitten.  When I let it out of the bathroom, it explored the apartment some, but it didn’t go crazy running around everywhere and getting into everything.  It came and sat on top of the back of my lazy boy chair where I was sitting, and it went to sleep for several hours.

Later that first night, this kitten came and sat on top of my head and the pillows where I was sleeping, which caused me to give up my pillows.  Like I wrote yesterday, I have to get up at 3:30 a.m. because I have a long drive to work far outside of Dickinson.  When I got up, this kitten started meowing loudly, so I gave it some more cat food.  I didn’t want this kitten to keep meowing so loudly that the neighbors would hear him.

When I left my apartment at 4:15 a.m., I left this kitten out in the living room rather than shutting him in the bathroom or a spare bedroom where he could do less damage, because if he were confined in a room he might meow all morning and cause the neighbors to complain to the apartment building manager.

Today, driving to work and while I was at work, I thought that I wanted to try to keep this kitten, he was so well behaved, so little trouble, that I thought he would be good company.  I thought of a name for him, and I looked forward to seeing him when I got home.

I didn’t leave work until 6:15 p.m., and I didn’t get back into Dickinson until a little after 7:30 p.m.  I stopped to pick up some carry-out food, I had not eaten all day.  Remember, I left home to go to work at 4:15 a.m., and I was not getting home from work until after 7:30 p.m., that’s fifteen hours later.

When I got back to my apartment and went inside, I could see that the kitten had used his litter box, and he was sitting on the back of the lazy boy chair.  Everything appeared to be fine, but he started meowing very loudly, so I had to stop what I was doing and feed him first to get him to shut up.  I don’t want to get kicked out of my apartment and have to move because the neighbors complain that I have a cat.

When I sat down to eat, finally, the kitten climbed up my back to play around on my shoulders and on top of my head.  This was funny the first time, the second time, and the third time, but by the fourth time and the fifth time, I was getting tired of it because I was hungry, I was trying to eat, I was tired, and I was becoming angry from the nuisance and getting clawed again and again.  I thought about putting the kitten in the bathroom or the spare bedroom, but he would start meowing so loudly that I would have to let him out right away.

Soon, I was angry enough to where I was about to throw this kitten as hard as I could against the wall, in order to make it not exist anymore.  No more worry about the neighbors hearing loud meowing, getting evicted from my apartment, the work of having to move and carry everything out of my two-bedroom apartment, and find a new apartment.  No more having to deal with this kitten, getting woken up by it, having to feed it, having it get in the way of my dinner.

I was sorry that I was so angry from this kitten that I wanted to kill it.  I put my food away, and I went to bed.  I thought that I had better try to call the Oreo animal rescue people tomorrow to try give them this kitten.  The kitten sat out in the living room for about an hour.  I didn’t shut the bedroom door, because the kitten would just start meowing loudly.

After about an hour, the kitten came into my bedroom, and began climbing on me and biting me for about an hour.  Ever since I was a kid, I had cats, and I can not ever remember a cat or a kitten even trying once to climb up my back when I was eating, or climbing onto my bed and trying to bite and scratch me for an hour when I was trying to sleep.

I couldn’t believe how bad this kitten was acting, it was such a change from yesterday.  After he had eaten a lot of cat food, had a safe place to stay, and had gotten some rest, he was the worst cat ever.

The Kitten That I Brought Home

I have to get up in the morning at 3:30 a.m., because I have a long drive to work, at an industrial site far away from Dickinson, North Dakota where I live.  For the first nine months of this particular work assignment, there were very few people at this site, which is located out in the middle of nowhere.

Several years ago, all of the wildlife in the area realized that there was no hunting on this industrial site.  There was no hunting allowed on this location, because of the risk of damage being done to the equipment by any stray bullets.  Several herds of deer, several packs of coyotes, several foxes, dozens of rabbits, a handful of feral cats, many pheasants, some badgers, and even a wolverine, yes a wolverine, began living at this location.

Not only did all these wild animals move to this location, these wild animals began to have a certain amount of trust towards me and my few fellow co-workers.  In fact, some animals like the pheasants, actually preferred to stay close to where we were, sensing that neither the hunters nor the coyotes would come after them when we were around.  Some of the rabbits would come within three or four feet of us while they were eating grass, believing that the coyotes, owls, eagles and other predators would not try to get them when we were there.

When me or my other co-workers did not want to finish eating the food that we had, we would leave the leftover food in a certain spot for the feral cats.  I felt very bad for the feral cats, they were skinny and not in very good physical condition.  The feral cats did not have any place warm to go when it got to be -10, -20, -30 degrees Fahrenheit.  I felt that at least they could have our leftover food in the Winter.

Late this Summer, everything changed at this industrial site where I work.  There were so many workers, that the rules had to change.  Every day now, there are a couple of safety specialists, and environmental specialists at this site, who are there to monitor and observe everything that goes on.  Their instructions to me, were that me and my co-workers could no longer feed the feral cats, as this would be considered interfering with the native wildlife.

What was even more upsetting to me, was that some of the new workers actually started doing mean things to the feral cats, rabbits, and pheasants on site, to the animals that used to have a certain amount of trust towards the people who worked on this site, that they weren’t going to harm them, and that they were protected.  I am not going to dwell on this at the moment, it is just a fact that some North Dakotans get enjoyment out of hurting and killing animals like cats, prairie dogs, rabbits, pheasants, and deer.

I like cats, but I can’t really have a cat, because pets are not allowed in the apartment building where I live, and I am really just here in North Dakota temporarily for work.  I left a cat back home at my house in Idaho, and I paid the neighbor to feed him, but supposedly he got run over by a car.  I felt bad that I pretty much nearly abandoned this cat in Idaho, but I wanted him to be able to stay on his five acres of land, and I paid a neighbor to feed him, which I felt was the best that I could do for him.

I would like to have a cat, but I shouldn’t have one.  Today at work, at 4:30 p.m, I heard a radio announcement that a lottery jackpot has now grown to $1.5 billion.  I thought to myself, if I won this lottery jackpot, and a reporter asked me what I was going to do with all of this money, I would say, “I am going to get a cat, and then a girlfriend.”

At 5:15 p.m. today, one of the worker’s wives drove up to the site entrance in a new Ford F350 pickup truck.  I walked over to her to ask her if she was here to pick someone up, and she said yes, her husband.  I could barely hear her, because there was this cat screaming Meow!, Meow!, Meow!  I said to this lady, do you have a cat in your truck, and she said no.  I said pop the hood, and she didn’t know what I was talking about, but I knew there was a cat stuck up in the truck engine.

I went and got my work gloves because I was sure I was going to get bit and scratched, I pulled the hood release, undid the hood safety latch, and told her to turn off the truck engine while I went digging for this cat, it was under the air cleaner box.  Within about thirty seconds, a six week old kitten climbed out from behind the radiator, and I grabbed him.

This woman, her husband, and some of the other workers thought that this was funny, it appeared that they did not dislike cats.  I asked her about where she lived, to try to determine if this was one of her neighbor’s cats.  She said, no, she lived next door to a bar, where there were a lot of homeless cats.  I asked her and her husband if they wanted this cat, and they said no, not really.

I put this six week old kitten, which appeared to be a Siamese cat, on the front seat of my Jeep Cherokee, because I was not off duty yet.  If it pissed and pooped in my Jeep, this Jeep only cost me $500, so it was not that big a deal.  It sat down on the center console, and behaved pretty well.  Also, it had not tried to bite me or scratch me.

Ordinarily, I would have just put this cat on the ground and let it go.  But for one thing, this was not a cat, it was only a six week old kitten.  Second, some of the workers on this location were doing mean things to the feral cats, rabbits, and pheasants.  Third, the coyotes, the wolverine, an owl, an eagle, or other predator would have gotten this kitten this very night.

I don’t know what I am going to do with this kitten.  I would like to keep him, because he is pretty well behaved.  Halfway back to Dickinson, he came out of hiding, climbed up my arm onto my shoulder, and sat on my shoulder quietly all the way back to Dickinson and through town, just looking out the window.

I put him in my bathroom with a litter box, some water, and some cat food for about an hour when I first got home.  He drank some water, ate all of his food, and he pooped in the litter box.  So, I don’t have to worry as much as I thought I would about him using the litter box.

Here is a short video of him, he didn’t stay in this basket long: