(TL;DR he's okay, just gotta heal up)
So Major Tom our backyard not-really-very-feral-anymore tomcat has been having running battles with another large, probably male cat who wishes to move in on Tom's territory. Understandably so, cos Tom's territory is also our back yard & comes with food & water that's not frozen & also a nicely padded & sheltered warmy spot. We'd feed them both but, well, cats.
So we've been breaking it up when we hear them (& Major Tom has been grateful & actually shoved his head into my hand for a petting after the one time, which was a first) but, well, they're cats, things happen, & as of this time yesterday we hadn't seen Tom in more than two days. Not unusual over the summer but he's been at the back door for breakfast & a lil warms every morning, like unto clockwork.
...so yeah I was terrified, & had gotten to the point of going outside several times a day to check, & went out yesterday about this time to get some sandpaper, & just sadly said 'Tom', not even really calling him, just saying his name. & he said prrrrrow! & I GASPED & looked around & he said prrrrow! again & then I found him in the _second_ padded-doghouse-warmy-spot we'd set up in the hopes that Tom would let the other cat bunk down there.
(Spoilers that aren't: Tom has claimed both & switches between them depending on his mood.)
I was SO VERY glad to see him & bent down to pet him & tell him I had missed him & he ... wasn't putting any weight on his right forepaw.
So I hauled his butt inside (he'll grumble & complain but also let me carry him) & fed him (gooshyfud with EXTRA egg) & tried, very gently, to examine his paw. Which he was pretty NO about but not in the killing me sort of way because he is VERY very patient.
Dharma got home just then & between us we managed a look. He's torn his thumbclaw toe badly, though it isn't bleeding & doesn't feel infected, but his ... wrist? ... is swollen & we're pretty sure he has a broken bone in there somewhere.
Which...yeah. Taking him to the vet would involve money we don't have, cooperation he won't give, & a cast he'll remove with Great Prejudice. He didn't even want to stay inside once he'd eaten.
So he's got a choice of warmy spots (one of which even has a heating pad in it, which is good cos it's gonna be 6F Friday night). He's got kibble we refill daily, & water in a bowl that's in the warmy spot with the heating pad -- so it stays liquid. He gets gooshyfud with egg at least once a day, & he can come in & warm up when he asks (which he did this morning).
Also? He didn't immediately shock out, which isn't uncommon in small mammals who break a bone. He didn't lair up somewhere to wait to die. Near as I can tell he spent two days limping back here which just makes me cry because. He was feral & is still, really, he's never gonna be _tame_, but he trusts us & knows that we'll take care of him so we limped all that way, however far, on three legs, to get back to here where he knows it's safe.
...okay now I _am_ crying again.
We've done what we can for him. He'll heal, or not, or as much as he can. No matter how much or little that is, we'll take care of him; if he can't hunt any more, well, there's always more gooshyfud & egg.
Here's a picture from last week I took looking out the front cat door. That's not his real warmy spot but he does like a nap on the front porch from time to time. He made blinky eyes at me several times while I was getting pictures, but he didn't want to come in just then.
& here he is after I opened the door to get a different angle & he got up HUFF can't a guy SLEEP around here HUFF & before he demanded a PETTING IMMEDIATELY.
Pls to observe the Very Skeptical Ears. & pls to pray, light candles, send good wishes, or whatever variant of that you like for my Great Big Fierce Tomcat.