Karrot – wild cat to (almost) mild cat

Karrot came to us as a tiny, but ferocious, ball of teeth and fur. She’d been born on a farm where the cats didn’t have great lives. However, a worker at the farm took pity on these little creatures, bundled them into a bag before anyone else got a chance to see them and phoned us to see if we could take them. Of course, we did.

Karrot - rescue cat

Karrot – rescue cat

There were four kittens, about 5-6 weeks old possibly, eating well but full of fleas and worms. These health problems were taken care of as soon as possible and we set about handling these little spitfires.

The other three came around quite easily and when old enough, they were rehomed to become loved family members. Karrot had other ideas. She was having none of it! By the time she was about six months old and getting no better we decided that, once neutered she could live on site.

We’d been bitten and scratched so many times, this option seemed safest (certainly for us) once released into our ‘feral’ unit, fed in there, and slowly introduced to the other ‘ferals’. She became a much happier cat. We still couldn’t handle her but she would come within arm’s reach.

It was an improvement. Once we thought she would be OK in the outside world, we let her loose from the unit and she ran and didn’t look back!! That’s it, we’d lost her.

We were worried sick as we have a busy road to the front of us and all the other cats keep away from it and we’d hoped she’d hang around with them and learn from them. After a couple of days of no sightings, she came skulking back just as we were feeding the others, looking a bit sheepish.

Her food was put in front of her and she wolfed it back like she’d never eaten. ‘That’ll learn you’ she was told, but kindly. We were so happy to see her back safe and sound. As time went on, she got better and better around us, even, occasionally allowing us to tickle the top of her head, but if you went on too long you got a nip for your trouble.

A couple of years ago we found her with a completely broken tail, snapped in two, with the bone sticking out of the end. HORRIBLE! she was very good and allowed me, with minimal fuss, to get her into a cat basket and take her to the vet, where the tail had to be amputated. she was not amused about having to be confined until her wound healed and after she was finally released she wouldn’t come anywhere near us for weeks.

She would just sit and scowl at us from a distance, she was such a character. More recently she has allowed more people to, briefly, tickle the top of her head and she has seemed so happy with her life. Having her put to sleep today at the age of only 5 years was heartbreaking.

She was born with tiny kidneys that just couldn’t function any longer. The fact that I was holding and cuddling her told us just how ill she really was. We didn’t need the blood test results. It was the kindest thing to do. We couldn’t let her suffer. The last thing I said to her was ‘come back and see us’.

I think she will come back and see us, as she loved her life prowling around the fields, playing in the hay with the other cats and eating her own body weight in food at every opportunity. She had a short but happy life, and we’ll miss her little fat face.

See you around Karrot.


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Karrot – wild cat to (almost) mild cat — 19 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Leanne. I found the story uplifting in that you gave Karrot a life but sad that it was short and never quite right probably because of a start in life that was not good.

  2. What a lovely little story Leanne. Bittersweet in that Karrot had such a bad start and then a very happy life with you at Kays Hill, you allowed her to live her life as she wanted to, took care of her in her bad times when she broke her tail and let her go at the end for her own sake.
    I know how much you care about each and every animal and bird you have there, none are PTS unless they are incurably ill, I wish all Rescue Shelters worldwide were as good!
    I for one love reading about your residents and hope you will write more for PoC, you are a really natural writer Leanne, honestly! I know how modest you are but I think other PoC regulars will agree with me.
    Take care, you must be feeling very sad right now at the loss of Gerty and Karrot too x

  3. Wow what an amazing story. It’s very sad actually – but it also has a happy side in that she had the best life she could I guess. It puts my cat dramas to nothing by comparism. I would love to have seen a photo of her. She sounds like an amazing little character and I like her name. Thats terribly sad though. It seems awful that she only lived 5 years but at least she was happy.

    You must be very brave people running a cattery. Something like that would leave me comletely devastated for ages. I don’t think I would manage to get up the next day and certainly not write about it. Thank you for sharing. That is one of the most intense and real things I have read in a long time – along with Michaels story about his first cats. It’s all so sad – but I guess thats because cats are so wonderful and it’s hard to see their lives cut short or filled with trauma. I think maybe its harder for us humans than for the cats. You must have so many stories of cats you could write a book. I think Ruth is right too, you certainly have a way of writing! I was on the edge of my seat and I re read it twice after. I hope you feel better from having shared it with us. It must be hard. You make me look like such a baby harping over the loss of my cat in ordinary circumstances.

  4. I’m sitting here in tears,this story is so touching and the love you had for that little cat shines out Leanne I’m so sad for you at your latest loss.
    Could you write about Gerty too?I know from other pages she was one of a family abandoned and you rescued them at night but could you write about from when she came to you?
    Marc is right you could write a book of stories and sell it to raise money for Kayshill.
    What touched me most was the end
    “See you around Karrot”
    in other words her spirit will be around Kayshill and she will never be forgotten.

  5. thank you all for your lovely comments, i was’nt sure if michael would think it ok to put on, so thank you for that michael. as i said to you i just wanted people to know how great she was. i know we should’nt have favourites but sometimes you just can’t help it, karrot (to give her full name karrot cake), forced her way into our hearts, just by being herself. a proper little cutie! marc, i have to say that you are not a baby for caring and worrying about your cats, its what we all do,with our ‘cat dramas’, at least anyone who truly cares does! when i first came to kays hill 7 years ago, i was the BIGGEST wuss ever. every time we lost an animal (thankfully not often, but it does happen) i was in bits for days. i would make myself ill with it. then kevin told me i had to ‘pull myself together’, harsh, but true. when i was in this state i could’nt see to the other animals properly. he told me i had to sort it out or stop all together. i knew he was talking sense. although it is still very hard, especially the last couple of days, we have to carry on, because there are others who still need us, and although while writing karrots story i was crying, when i just read it again, i was crying, when i read all your kind comments i was crying (i really need to stop before i dehydrate!), i know i have to see to the other animals here. you have your moment (or moments in my case)and you carry on. its not that you’re hard or dont care, you just have to. yes rose, i know karrot will be around, we might not see her, but she’ll be there. as far as writing gertys story, i don’t know, i feel its just too sad, a sad life and a sad end, without ever having a loving home of her own. we’ll have to think about it ruth. sorry for rambling on.

    • Oh she’s such a pretty girl – I didn’t see a pic first time round. Thanks for your comment Leanne – it’s nice to get encouragement from sombody who really knows and is ‘in the trenches’ so to speak. She looks very happy and satisfied in the photo. Thanks again for your beautifully written story Leanne – I wonder if she can hear us all thinking of her now. I know the since I lost my Red I have regularly thought how nice it would be if he could hear me – I guess he will always be part of my current reality one way or another.

        • thank you for saying karrot was pretty, we think so too. i know people have different beliefs, but i think if they loved you and were loved in return i think they like to keep an eye on things and return to where they were happiest. thats how i like to think anyway. another cat came in today, meg. a beautiful long haired all black queen. nervous at the moment but i’m sure she’ll be fine when we can introduce her to a new friend. life goes on……..

    • Nice photo. It is a pleasure to publish this little story because it is very personal and real. We like those. If you want to do something similar about other cats, that would be fine.

  6. Bless the little soul she had much to put up with in her short life, I’m so glad she knew love on her own terms at Kays Hill, I remember seeing on a few of our visits, she was beautiful even after losing part of her tail. Maybe one day you’ll feel a little nip on your finger or a tiny headrub against your leg and it’ll be Karrot come to tell you all is well with her now. RIP Karrot.

  7. Wow Leanne you write so well!! I had a tear in my eye when she was put to sleep I think it was because after your telling of her I felt as though I knew what she was like 🙂
    Such a beautiful story she looks so happy in the picture and she had such a lovely life thanks to you
    Thanks so much for sharing

  8. thanks everyone for your kind comments. both gerty and karrot will always be remembered at kays hill. i wish i had better memories of little gerty, unfortunately there are no special cuddles or purrs to remember her by. the best we got was her not running to hide from us when she was with marcus. i suppose thinking about it maybe that’s the best memory, seeing her curled up with marcus in their bed, warm and snuggled, with a full belly. its not a lot is it for a little cats lifetime. the person or people responsible for gerty’s frame of mind have a hell of a lot to answer for. i have better memories of karrot, her following me right to the top fields, just me, karrot and sheba,(gsd), taking hay to the horses. she loved to be up there. thats where i tend to think of her now, well, either there or in ‘her’ chair in the cattery.

  9. Leanne, after Gerty came to you I think she was the happiest she had ever been, you gave her respect and security.
    Knowing what we know now, the person who abandoned her wasn’t a real cat lover, just a cat hoarder, it wasn’t about each cat, it was about having ‘the cats’ and being known as a ‘wonderful cat rescuer’
    I think she was probably born feral and would have done better being spayed and released when she was young rather than forced to live amongst humans who she never really trusted apart from the one who eventually abandoned her, but even so she obviously never had loving contact with that person and she didn’t love that little cat, she never once enquired about any of the 15 cats after she left them.

    • i know it galls you as much as me ruth. the whole horrible story. i just wish we could have found gerty a place she could have been happy and could have called home, somewhere of her own (hers and marcus, of course)it makes me so sad that she never had that. we did what we could for her and gave her all she would allow us to give her, sometimes i have thought should we have pushed her a bit more, maybe she would have gotten used to ‘closeness’ if not handling. so yes i’m feeling guilty,and i know you have and will again no doubt say i should’nt, but i cant help it. i suppose we all do it, feeling guilty after the event, wishing we could have done things differently. poor gerty she did’nt deserve the life doled out to her, i hope she’s happy now. at least she cant be hurt and frightened any longer.

  10. Yes Gerty is at peace now and it’s you suffering and you shouldn’t be as you did your very best for her.
    Just think if she was still at home she wouldn’t have had a gentle ending to her life, in fact it would have probably gone un-noticed that she was ill!
    We feel guilty for not knowing what was really going on, we could have done something about it if we had, looking back we always wish we’d known but at the time we just didn’t know!
    I still shed tears for all those cats.

    • exactly, all those poor cats suffered one way or another. like i’ve said before we, and they, will see our day with the one responsible. if it was’nt for you and babz, god knows what would have happened to them.

      • what you have just said michael seems to sum little gerty’s life up. nervous, vulnerable, no-one liked/cared about her. we did, obviously and so did ruth and babz of course, but i mean her previous ‘owners’ she had obviously only ever been a possession, as ruth said one of many. gerty certainly needed help but did’nt know, or was too afraid to ask for it. one thing i do know, where we were not allowed to get too close, marcus certainly was and i know that he gave her more comfort and companionship than she would EVER allowed us to give her. to see the two of them together was lovely, she seemed relaxed, well as relaxed as gerty ever let herself be, with marcus and he loved her and seemed to watch over her. they never squabbled over food as even the best of pals sometimes will, he just let her have what she wanted and if she wanted his bowl, he let her have it. so maybe she was happiest here. not from what we gave her but what marcus gave her! we need to find marcus his own special home asap, after his service to catkind, he deserves it. i’m sure gerty would agree.

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