Prime examples are, (see picture, from left to right): Duchess, at about 6 months of age, wandered into a house up the road from me and tried to take up residence – the householder knew I’d taken in cats in the past and appeared on my doorstep with her. I rescued Crusty from a house I used to visit regularly – of 3 adult cats and 4 litters of kittens he is the only known survivor. Shapoloh was dumped outside my old house at 5 weeks old. Right on a busy main road. They’re all lucky to be alive. For one reason or another they all ended up taking up permanent residence here.
Nearly every kitten & cat that has arrived at my house has a belly fat with worms (in contrast with their undernourished, skeletal body), is riddled with fleas and ear mites and, more often than not, can barely see for some kind of eye infection or other. Adult males are also usually raggedy with torn ears, patches of fur missing and/or numerous scratches from fighting. What breaks my heart is it only takes a few days to see an improvement and often the animal appears completely healthy and cared for after just a few weeks. Kittens we think are only 5 weeks old when they arrive blossom and have growth spurts which leave me wondering if they’re actually several weeks older. Males we neuter are much less aggressive and will live longer as a result. Neutered females also live longer – and won’t have to cope with scavenging for food for litter after litter that, despite their efforts, end up dying before maturity.
Food and care make such a difference; early treatment, before these problems get out of control needn’t be expensive and certainly isn’t time consuming – if caught at onset eye infections can be often be cleared up simply by regular bathing in water. But for some reason negligence seems to be the rule rather than the exception in this area.