Early this morning we posted this question and asked all of you to answer:
This is a question of triage, and triage principles apply to all of our rescue-related work at LKP. We promised we will share our answer, so here it is.
The cat with the bite wound will not die if it is not tended to immediately. The cat that fell from a height and has blood in the nose, is likely to have internal injuries, and will most likely die even if you help it. (Hence remember your window safety!) The cat with the breathing problem is the first one we will attend to immediately. After oxygen mask is placed, the lungs and heart should be listened to via stethoscope. If there is fluid in the respiratory system, diuretics and/or steroids can be injected.
Of course, we are not vets, so this scenario will not happen in our foster home often.
But triage applies to other aspects of rescue work. Supposing we receive 3 requests at the same time for fostering of kittens, but we can only take in one, not all. Which one will we take in?
If the kitten is more than 3 months of age, it is most likely already independent and can survive on the streets (assume no illness). It should not be rescued also because after the 3-month age marker, adopters lose interest. LKP taking in this case will cause the cat to be a shelter cat for a very long time.
If the kitten is sick or orphaned/abandoned without a mother but not yet able to eat on own (i.e. needs a mother cat’s milk), this case is more critical than the one above because with human intervention the kitten will have a chance at recovering and surviving.
However, if the rescuer is able to foster the kitten in the above scenario and with our guidance place it for adoption, we will not take in the case. We only take in kittens that have no fostering options left. We shall then be the last resort.
In our sterilisation work, we do the same: we only do TNR projects that have large populations of cats that a regular cat feeder cannot afford to neuter all, or there is no one who is neutering the colony. Small cases such as, say 3 cats, we will advise the enquirer to neuter the cats themselves and guide them how to go about it. This is because such cases are very affordable, and if we take them on, we are diverting our attention from the large colony cases that are not neutered.
Similarly, in our work for sick and injured cats, if the cat can be medicated on the streets by the caregiver, we will not take in such cases. If the cat has to be hospitalised for basic reasons such as daily subcutaneous fluids, then we can take in this case, and when the cat recovers, return it to its street territory. If the cat absolutely cannot go back to the street and must have long term intensive care to survive and live a comfortable, emotionally beneficial life, then we will take this case in as well. However, it still all depends on whether we have space as we can only take in 5 sick/injured cats at a time, i.e. maximum threshold rule still applies.
Hope you have gained some insight into how we take on cases and projects!
Donate to our cause by making a deposit to our POSB savings account 188-52652-7.