In generosity, the folks who I work with gathered some money and supplies for him and I contacted Indy Feral to see what might be done. I was able to arrange for the cat to be seen at the low-cast spay and neuter clinic in Noblesville. They have a feral cat package, and for $20 they offered a flea and worm treatment and surgical sterilization. They do an amazing amount of surgeries there so I assume with such practice they are good at it and certainly the cost is far less than usual.
The poor cat had tapeworms and fleas (no surprise) but he also had a burst abscess that had infected. So for an additional $31, I had the wound cleaned (and his side shaved to do so) and got some antibiotics to help him recover. They were kind enough to keep him for a few days post-recovery (also to make sure the worms and fleas were gone). Now he's hanging out in the laundry room at my house, mellow and quiet and hopefully, a survivor. The beagles are not happy with the arrangement; so he's just a temporary resident here. When he's recovered I'll see about returning him to his existence at the docks. He's a good mouser (and chipmunk-er). I thought about trying to keep him as an outdoor cat at my house, but I fear the local fox wouldn't be any friendlier to him than are my beagles. So the plan at this point is to try and give him the best shot we can at living at the docks where he was previously making his home. He's getting food and water from my co-workers, and has a little dog house (or, cat house, more accurately) with a heating pad. And while he recovers from surgery, he's hanging out at Chez Beagle. If you have or know someone who might want to give him a home inside, I'm sure he'd be happy to find one.
A friend of mine has this quote in her sig line:
You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back. (Barbara De Angelis)And my corollary is: no good deed goes unpunished. For now I've got to thoroughly clean that laundry room to make sure the parasites are dead and gone. I suppose it needed cleaning anyway. For such a rough existence, I'm impressed that this cat is so calm. He takes his meds like a champ (though clearly he finds them yucky) and although he's got fierce looking nails I have nary a scratch. We suspect that the cat was dumped off at the property last summer. Whomever you are, I wish you an equal number of cold, lonely nights to what you've given this blameless cat.