He moves from side to side grooming his belly with his tongue, back legs akimbo, and appears to be multi-tasking by relieving an itchy patch on his back at the same time as doing his frontal ablutions.
The itchy patch is (or was) a nasty looking sore about 8 cms by 8 cms wide (since Brexit I have gone completely metric) on his middle back, and the fur around it has been falling away. You see him trying to reach around and lick it but it is in a very hard to lick place, so (we surmise) he rolls around on the gravel.
I have taken photos of the sore and asked vets about it. One said it looked like an abscess and I should give him antibiotics. Another (Ellie from London) said hmmm, could be lick dermatitis or it could be an abrasion.
I will spare you the photos. Here is one of Husky looking normal.
A lightbulb moment occurred. Oh dear. The long chest-like plastic box in which the Musketeers sleep ‘all a huddle’, which is located in our outside boiler room, has a cat sized hole at both ends. I say cat-sized but perhaps not Husky-sized! When I cut these holes with a heated up knife years ago none of the feral cats was anything approaching obese.
Funnily enough, I put a video on facebook a few months ago showing Husky squeezing himself in to his boudoir. See bottom of the page.
We think Husky is so fat and his gut so large that he has been literally scraping off the skin on his back to get in and out of his bed! This was a horrible moment of realisation followed by a quick trip across courtyard with knife and lighter.
I made the holes bigger and since then the nasty sore has been drying up very nicely.
The second point of this blog is to muse on why on earth Husky and his fellow Musketeers are so fat.
Husky is the biggest, but Clem Fandango is very round, and while Zorro carries his weight well he is certainly a big guy.
They are fatter than our pet cats from London and I think therein lies the clue. We have two different kinds of cat food in our house: the posh stuff for the London 4, and the cheaper stuff for the ferals. I suspect the cheaper stuff is hugely calorific while the posh stuff is more nutritious and less calorific. And because of Zita’s own tendency to stack it on, we buy grain-free dry food.
When I say ‘cheaper stuff’ I don’t mean cheapest you can get. We did buy that a couple of times and the ferals wouldn’t eat it!
Anyway, I hear you cry ‘feed the feral fatties less (cheaper but not dirt cheap) food’!
Difficult. If we feed them less they hang around the door more, upsetting our Scruffy, who the avid reader of this blog (hello again!!) will know is somewhat territorial, likes a bit of fisticuffs and has a ripped ear to prove it.
Okay well let them fight I hear you (avid reader) shout, let Scruffy off the leash so to speak. Well, that is to be avoided because while the London 4 are vaccinated against the usual things they are not vaccinated against feline HIV and the ferals are likely to be carrying that, a very nasty virus spread by bodily fluids, and therefore fighting.
Scratch the surface and there it is again, the tale of inequalities in the co existence of these two groups. The London 4 with their posh vaccinations and grain-free vet-approved nutrition, and the poor old ferals with their nasty diseases and their high calorie cheap (but not dirt cheap) kibble. Here are Jessie and Bette Davis are tucking in below.
I should point out the the fat feral cat phenomenon is rare - they are usually very skinny and need people to be kind to them, by which I mean feed them and neuter them!