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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 10923
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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We feed and shelter in our shed a feral cat who is over 20

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We feed and shelter in our shed a feral cat who is over 20 years old. She has had a sore on her cheek for some time, that does not heal, and now something on the top of the head too. I fear it may be cancer, but she seems normal and is eating well. It would be very difficult to take her to a vet, as she is not used to being handled, and I don't know how we would manage it. At her age I am inclined to let nature take its course, but I don't want her to suffer

Hello Eileen, I'm Dr. Deb.
I'll do my best to help you today.

I have to agree with you given the information you've provided about Squeek. Whether or not this is cancer, I'd be inclined to elect quality of life over quantity of life for her. I'd much rather avoid the stress of taking her to the vet's office, even if you managed to trap or catch her to do so.

Of course, I can't say for certain, but cancer doesn't necessarily have to be the only cause of sores which she might develop; in fact, they frequently are the last thing that comes to mind. Depending on what she skin looks like, she could have something called an l-form bacterial infection which is basically an infection which won't heal unless or until Tetracyline-based drugs are given.
It's also possible that she has Feline AIDS or Feline Leukemia; both of these diseases adversely affect the immune system. She may have experienced an injury and her body can't fight off an infection which developed.

It certainly doesn't sound as if whatever's going on with her skin is affecting her life in a negative way if she's still eating and otherwise acting her normal self. I wouldn't expect her skin to be causing pain such that I would consider her to be suffering.

I've been involved with trying to manage feral cats in my local community for some time now and I know how frustrating it can be: wanting to help them but being limited by their inability to trust us.
It sounds like you're doing the best you can with a difficult situation by continuing to feed her and watch out for her. That may be the best you can do for her.

I hope this helps. Deb

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