For those of us who care for feral cats, there are a lot of resources on colony management, on Trap, Neuter, Release, all the practical matters, but what's never addressed is how to deal with the hard stuff, what do when your ferals get sick, how gut wrenching it is when they die. We all invest a lot of time in these cats and feel protective of them, they are our cats too.
Joanne called me yesterday about one of her ferals who was ill. Joanne is a wonderful woman I met a couple of years ago. She has a TNRed colony in her neighbourhood and does recovery and short term fostering for me, and has become a good friend, we often talk about cat situations.
Hers was a tough one, one of her ferals was clearly not well, in fact was so ill that her husband was able to grab him and put him in a carrier. We agreed that he would go off to the vet first thing this morning. Sadly Tux (yes, all of our ferals have names) died overnight. Obviously something was very wrong with him. Naturally Joanne is upset, she has fed him for years. But at least he had care and love, and he died inside safe and warm.
I've certainly felt the same grief when one of mine goes. Right now I'm worried about Stubby, he's not eating. I don't know if he's sick or stressed. Pseudo is chasing him and because of the snow and ice he is having trouble getting to his ditch spot, and I'm not sure what to do. It's a worry.
I also discovered someone is stealing the cats' food, I think it's Harry, so now I have to wait around and catch whoever it is in the act. How maddening, I'm just trying to take care of these homeless cats and some jerk is taking their food and water away.
|Stubby in warmer days|
These are the kinds of things that aren't in the manual, the kind of things that break your heart.