Today is the one-week mark since we brought Sooty to our house. The first few days were worrisome because he was so incredibly emaciated and yet was not particularly interested in food. We have super fancy and healthy food on hand for our cats, but he was unimpressed in the extreme. I went and bought a different kind of canned food and he grudgingly ate a little of it, but wasted most of each can.
I contacted the shelter where he'd been kept and they said he liked the super cheap canned food. Alrighty then. I did get him some semi-premium dry food to keep in his bowl between canned food feedings, but I bowed to his junk food preferences and bought several 50-cent cans of grocery store food yesterday. Since his digestive system was clearly sluggish (aren't you proud of me for sparing you the details?), I also picked up some pumpkin-and-squash baby food to supplement his diet with a little fiber. Mixing the cheap canned food and the vegetable baby food together turned out to be just the ticket. He's eating with much more enthusiasm now.
My husband and I have been taking turns spending time with him so he isn't left alone quite so much. We both observed that he appears to have some discomfort when eating. That and the fact that his breath would knock a maggot off a gut wagon tells me that he probably needs some dental care. I looked in his mouth and saw that he is missing a considerable number of teeth, so the chances that he has rotten or infected teeth in there somewhere seem pretty high to me.
Fortunately, my veterinarian's office is reasonably priced when it comes to dental work, so I'm taking him in on Saturday, piggybacking with Toby's annual check-up, to have them take a look. I used the term "foster cat" a lot when I made the appointment in the hope that they may take pity on me and give me a discount. I'm happy to do whatever it takes to restore Sooty to good health, but I'd just as soon keep the expenses down considering that he's ultimately going to become someone else's cat.
Sooty has definitely filled out a bit since he arrived. For the first day or two, his spine felt like a row of empty spools of thread. Now he's much less noticeably bony, although he's still very, very lean. It's actually unhealthy to "fatten up" a starved cat too quickly, so we're pleased with the pace of his progress.
Once we get him to a point where a stiff breeze wouldn't knock him over, we'll see about introducing him to the other cats in our household. I know he's dreadfully lonely in the laundry room by himself, but it's hard to divide our time enough to really give him a good amount of attention. When I go down to visit him, the dog barks for me the whole time. When I come back up to hang out with Toby and our cats, I hear Sooty's meows echoing up through the floor registers.
This is why we're in no danger of ending up in true Crazy Cat People territory. As much as it's important to give animals a chance to live, it's just as important to provide happy lives for them. We're stretched a bit thin even with our own pets and can just barely accommodate one more, even temporarily.
I'm hoping we can get Sooty transformed into the healthiest version of himself and adopted into a family that will enjoy his happy, friendly personality through the rest of his days. Then everyone wins.