Dec 31, 2010

The Feral Cat Memorial, 2010

A tradition I sometimes regret starting, this is the post to remember the special furry ones we've lost over the past year. I very nearly didn't do this post, in fact, because it's just too sad. These losses are something I've carried with me throughout the year, generally choosing to not bum-out our reader-family.

This photo blog is about the cats, though, and their lives. They deserve to be remembered, even though it is so hard....  that, I present the ones we knew and lost in 2010...

Shemp, 2003-2010

Shemp was King of the Colony for a long time. More tame than feral, under different circumstances he might have found a home. This spring, we lost Shemp due to cancer.

As someone else observed, nothing gets out of this life alive; the best we can hope for is to have a good life while we are here. I  hope at least he had something of a happy life in the colony and with us. He got handled and petted more than most cats and was brought indoors when he was sick. Shemp is survived by his brother Curly and children Shemp2 and X-Ray Hitler. His memorial page is here.


Tabbyco Watches Me
Tabby-co, 2009-2010

We lost Tabbyco this year as a result of complication from her spay surgery. She was the only cat I've ever lost in this way. It was really hard to take. While I think of her as a victim of veterinary malpractice, that's probably too harsh. The truth is that sometimes bad things happen, and I guess we just have to accept it.

Tabbico Investigates

She was one of the sweetest and smartest of the pure feral cats; always curious and bold. Her memorial page is here. I'll always wonder why her....

The losses I've already talked about are hard enough - the rest are the ones I've kept to myself; too sad to share. It's the part of taking care of feral cats that constantly beats on you... loss after loss. It's hard enough for me and I have to take it because I'm here. I didn't want to burden readers. But for those who feel compelled to know, I present the quiet hearbreaks of this past year.....

If you are still reading, I guess you really want to know. It's for them, not for us.... It's hard to think about but this is the last time we will see them.

The Reemergence of Cow Cat  #1
Cow Cat, 2009-2010

Lost in the early spring of 2010... Cow cat had those unique markings that made him stand out. He was very shy but we loved catch that rare glimpse of him. Cow Cat was lost almost certainly due to coyote predation, as were several others during this same time period.

Calico Feral Cat At Feeding
Beautiful Calico, 2006-2010

A calendar cat from last year, she was living a comfortable farm life even though she was quite feral. Another victim of coyotes, beautiful Calico had some of the strongest calico markings I've ever seen in the feral colony. She really stood out and was often photographed as a result.

Gray Cat Sitting In The Sun
Son of Gray Cat, 2007-2010

Another victim of coyotes in the spring, Son of Gray Cat was named after one of the original moms of the feral community, a dumped cat (I don't use the term stray) we called Gray Cat for her strong "Russian Blue" coloring. Her sons were Mo, Shemp and Curly. He was the only pure gray we ever saw in the colony.

Tortoise Shell Rescue
Tortie Kitten Xiu, 2009-2010

A heartbreaking loss: Xiu was rescued with Fran and Mort, all very sick at the time, they were nursed back to health and tamed in the process. She had been spayed and was up for adoption at the time we lost her this summer. She wasn't yet one year old.

I had captured little kittens Spot and Wishe and was keeping them in my van at the time. Fran, Mort and Xiu didn't like it (they were also living in the van since their rescue). Xiu refused to sleep in the van at night anymore in her pique ....and it cost her her life; she too was a victim of coyote predation despite my best efforts.

She would have made a good pet for someone - and it you ever just "thought about" adopting a rescued feral let this be the hard lesson that it is for me: If you wait, it may be too late. Poor Xiu, she should have had a home instead.... Xiu is survived by her sister Fran and adopted brother Mort.

Silver Tabby Cat
Silver Tabby, 2008-2010

We lost Silver Tabby in November during our spate of cold weather - from an upper respiratory infection complicated by exposure and probably one of the chronic cat diseases like FeLK - she had a semi-constant case of the sniffles, it seems. Silver Tabby was such a pretty cat, I wish she could have been a pet instead of a feral. She might not have survived anyway, though. Silver Tabby is featured in the new calendar and it seems like a good way to honor her memory. Silver Tabby is survived by her BFF Little Tabby.


So now we can all remember them for their beauty and what they brought to our lives. To me, their loss is a monument to the unfairness of life; its randomness and its cruelty. But I can't think about that all the time. We all have to keep moving forward; we try to do our best and work with what we have. I'm sorry that these kitties didn't have better lives - longer lives. I did what I could for them. Often, that is not enough.

Dear little cats.... You might not have been tame but we loved you anyway. Rest in Peace, Kitties.