Cat Scratch Fever

Today we spent all morning dealing with the stray cats that we’ve semi-adopted in our compound.  I found out last week that there is a government veterinary service that provides free care, so we took “Mama Kitty” and her five babies there.  Mama Kitty needs to be spayed so she doesn’t have any more babies.  And her five babies have some sort of terrible eye infection that has gotten worse and worse and their eyes are basically swollen shut.  I was hoping it would go away, and even put some of my own antibiotic eyedrops that I still had from when I had a previous eye infection in their eyes, but it didn’t seem to help the kittens.

So last night Cousteau and I rounded up the five kittens and put them in a box that we cut some air holes in.  Then later I grabbed Mama Kitty and put her in a different box.  First I put some bricks on the top of the box to keep her in it, but when I went back to check on her, she’d somehow managed to pry her way out.  Then I taped the box and also put bricks and a heavy planter on top of the box, but when I woke up this morning, there was Mama Kitty outside of the box.  She’s persistent and also very strong.  So when it was time to leave for the vet we stopped by a store and bought two rolls of duct tape and I taped the box up so good that there was no way she was getting out between our house and the vet.

The vet was way across town near the airport.  The first thing we found out was that Mama Kitty needed an appointment to be spayed (which is not what their website says, but that’s pretty typical here).  So we made her an appointment for May 12th.  Then the vet looked at the kittens, cleaned their eyes with saline solution, and gave them all injections – I assume of an antibiotic.  She also gave us a prescription for an antibiotic ointment to put in their eyes twice a day for a week.  She said that the infection that they had was cat-only and could not spread to humans, which we’d been worried about, and also that it is a serious infection that can cause them to go blind.  Frankly a couple of their eyes look so bad that I am afraid they might be blind and will need to be put to sleep.  Hopefully not, but we’ll see.

I dropped the cats and Cousteau and Thao back at home then went to pick up their prescription and some new milk and cat food for them.  I also bought a plastic and metal pet carrying cage for when we have to take Mama Kitty back to the vet in May, as we’ve learned that a cardboard box is no match for Mama Kitty.  (I’m actually pretty impressed with her and wish we could take her with us when we leave Qatar.  She also basically attacked a dog that followed me home into our compound the other night when I came back from a walk.  I was worried about the dog bothering the cats, but I ended up worrying about the dog after Mama Kitty got after him.)  But I’m deathly allergic to cats so we can’t have one inside – and if we’re living in an apartment or whatever it will be tough to have an outside cat.  So I think Mama Kitty is going to have to live on in Qatar.  Maybe some of our neighbors will start to feed her, etc., once we’re gone (in 72 days!!!).

Cousteau has really enjoyed having Mama Kitty and her kittens around, and he is usually very gentle and sweet with them.  We all hope their eyes get better soon!

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