Yes, Kevin is a girl, and a very lucky one at that! Kevin arrived at my house sometime around April 2020 and joined in with my very small colony of Community Cats that I care for. She didn’t have any interest in coming near me and would often run away as soon as she saw me outside, so I assumed she was totally feral. She visited at least once every day for food and water and very slowly learned she didn’t need to run from me because I wasn’t going to try and touch or chase her.
Fast forward to early May 2021. Kevin was still around, in fact she was now spending about 22 hours a day at my house, and only leaving for very short periods of time. That was okay with me, because my yard is very safe and accommodating for the outdoor kitties like her. But what wasn’t okay with me is that Kevin was having a lot of trouble breathing. She was having a lot of heavy, abdominal breathing and multiple episodes of open mouth breathing every single day. And as the temperatures got higher her breathing was getting worse.
As soon as I noticed her breathing problems I set about trying to trap her so I could get her to the vet. But Kevin is too smart for her own good and easily avoided all my traps. Instead she spent the next three weeks watching every idiot cat in my neighborhood trap themselves multiple times per day. But I had a secret weapon – a very friendly cat in my colony named BT, who showed Kevin by example that I”m totally trustworthy and I give excellent belly rubs and chin scritches.
From the first time she let me touch her it was only about 1 week before I was able to simply pick her up and bring her inside. She was of course morally offended that I was doing so, but she didn’t really fight me and instead just hissed a lot and made sad crying noises like she was dying.
Two days after catching her Kevin saw our local feral vet where she was weighed in at a measly 4.7 pounds (she was literally skin, bones, and hair mats), and diagnosed with both tapeworms and hyperthyroidism. The vet was concerned about quality of life for a street cat living indoors, but it turns out that Kevin must have been somebody’s pet at some point in her life because she is really affectionate and adjusted to life indoors very quickly. Here she is being cuddly and affectionate in less than 12 hours after being indoors:
For her hyperthyroidism Kevin takes a pill twice a day. She’s excellent at taking pills. You don’t need to force her at all, just give it to her with some yummy treats and she gobbles them up with lightning speed. Her medication is also available as a gel that can be rubbed into her ear. Personally, I prefer to use the pills because they’re cheap, super easy to give, and you don’t need to worry about wearing gloves or finger cots to handle them the way you do with the ear gel. The ear gel will disrupt your own thyroid function if it absorbs through your skin (and it will if you don’t use protection).
Kevin might eventually be a candidate for radioactive iodine treatment, which would permanently correct her thyroid function, but first she needs to be stabilized on her current medication and go through the proper evaluation process to decide if she’s really a candidate for that procedure.
Kevin is available for adoption! Here’s her basic info:
Age: 5 years (estimate)
Sex: Female, spayed (well, technically spayed twice!)
Breed: Domestic Long Hair
Weight: Currently just over 5 pounds, should be approximately 6.5 to 7.0 pounds at full weight
Vaccination status: Vaccinated for Rabies and PRC in June 2021. Due for PRC booster July 2021 and Rabies booster June 2022. After that the PRC vaccine is due yearly and Rabies will be due every 3 years.
Health: Hyperthyroidism requiring daily medications and regular blood testing. Due for 2nd round of tapeworm treatment July 2021. Some nasal discharge from left nostril due to unknown cause which needs to be investigated. This was originally thought to be a respiratory infection but it hasn’t responded to antibiotics. Has been tested for both Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and is negative for both.
**She’s currently scheduled to see my vet on July 2, 2021 for follow up thyroid testing, vaccination, round 2 of deworming, and to try and identify the cause of her nasal discharge.
Litter box habits: 100% litter box usage from the moment she came inside. She’s currently using Tidy Cats Free & Clean clumping litter (fragrance free clay litter), but can possibly use other litter types. I’m just limited for what I can use in my house because Oliver has allergies and asthma and can’t tolerate scents. She uses an uncovered litter box and has only 1 box available in the room she’s living in. If she eventually moves around to the rest of my house she will have multiple boxes available.
General Behavior: Kevin is friendly and social with me. She likes being petted and is learning how to play with toys. But she does get scared or agitated somewhat easily so you must pay attention to her body language to know when she needs a break. If you keep trying to pet her after she’s done with you she will hiss and swat and the only warnings are a subtle change in how she swishes her tail and the look in her eyes.
Kevin has never attempted to bite me out of aggression, but she has done an accidental chomp or two while playing with her toys. And she appears to be an affectionate nibbler so she rubs her face all over my hands and then starts to gently bite at them. Cats do this when they really like you and feel comfortable with you, so it’s a good behavior to see.
Outdoors Kevin was friendly with the other community cats. She wasn’t food aggressive and she was often napping next to them or following them around in the yard. Indoors she’s shown some interest in meeting my cats. Kevin is isolated in my office and hasn’t explored the rest of the house, but can see and interact with the cats through the gate at the office door. Cow has stared coming in the office in the afternoons and the two of them have sniffed faces a few times but that’s the extent of their interaction so far. They mostly just sniff in greeting and then move to separate parts of the room to sleep. Oliver and Shiva have come in the room a few times too, but Kevin’s reaction to them has been mixed. Sometimes she ignores them, sometimes she’s interested and sniffing them, and sometimes she swats and hisses at them. That’s totally normal for cat introductions though.
To my knowledge Kevin has never been around dogs or children. She would probably be fine around both if they understand her body language and respect her boundaries. But she is quite reactive (hissing and swatting) when she’s overstimulated or stressed, so being around dogs or children might not be ideal for her.
I don’t know how she reacts to strangers/visitors. The only time I’ve had visitors while she’s lived inside has been when I had an AC installed, and that was noisy and a bit scary for her so she had no interest in meeting them or interacting with them.
Play Behavior: Kevin seemed very confused by toys at first but she’s learning to play with them. So far she likes soft toys that she can throw around, bite, and bunny kick. She plays like she’s hunting, so if you play with her you’ll need to be mindful of where you put your fingers because she may accidentally chomp on you or scratch you. You’ll definitely want to keep her claws trimmed for your own safety!
Diet: Kevin eats both wet and dry food. For dry food she’s eating Purina Naturals Original formula. For wet food she mostly eats varieties of Fancy Feast pate. She should not be given any food containing fish due to her thyroid condition. She absolutely LOVES Temptations Treats and freeze dried chicken treats. She’s not super picky about food at all. She regulates her food intake too, so even though she’s free fed she’s not likely to become overweight or obese.
Reason she’s up for adoption: I need fewer cats, not more! My other 4 cats don’t always get along with each other – they did before Cow came to live here, but he sort of upset the balance we had. I’m worried that adding a 5th cat would cause even more stress than the others have right now. Cow is my next-youngest and healthiest cat. He’s about 8 years old. But Oliver, Shiva, and Muffy are between 15 and 17 years old, and all 4 of my cats have multiple medical conditions. Given their ages and fragile health I want to keep their stress levels as low as possible. Kevin is also a bit young to be living in my geriatric kitty home and might not enjoy being stuck with my boring, grumpy seniors.
On a related note… BT, the friend brown tabby who convinced Kevin that I was trustworthy and safe is also available for adoption. Yes, his name is from his coloring and totally un-original. BT was neutered and vaccinated in May 2021. He’s estimated to be 3 years old and is totally healthy. He’s super friendly and affectionate with me and great with other cats. He would absolutely love to be your new best friend. BT has also been microchipped already.
Organizations Involved Kevin’s Care
Tucson C.A.R.E.S provides the humane traps used for attempting to catch her and any of the other community cats needing TNR or veterinary care.
Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic provides free TNR services for community cats like Kevin and provided most of her original medical care totally for free.
Santa Cruz Vet Clinic is able to provide their services to community cats like Kevin thanks to funds from Pima County (funding available due to the exceptional work from No Kill Pima County) and from the Asavet Charities fund created by Dr. Karter Neal, owner of Santa Cruz Vet Clinic.
H & W Cat Grooming technically hasn’t been involved in Kevin’s care yet, but she’s going to be having a grooming appointment with them on June 28 to remove the remainder of her matted hair and get her squeaky clean.
Are you interested in meeting and possibly adopting Kevin?
If so, send me a message and I can answer any additional questions you might have and set up a meeting.