My wife and I received some sad news this weekend when we found out that one of our sweet semi-feral cats, Miss Kitty, had made her transition. We believe that she was hit or backed over by a car near our home. There were no outward signs of trauma except a few bits of missing fur. Our neighbor found her lying near the Leland cypress trees that border our two yards. This location is very close to our house and was a favorite lounging place for Miss Kitty and the rest of our feral cats.
Miss Kitty was brought to us as a kitten by her mother, Momma Kitty. She was a high-spirited and independent girl. The first time I saw her as a kitten, I attempted to pick her up. After a few swats to my hand and a long hiss, I decided to leave this feisty little kitten alone. Over the next couple of years she grew to be a beautiful and sweet cat. Her buff-colored coat was the softest I had ever felt. It was like running your hands through extra plush carpet or a favorite thick cotton blanket. She would greet me each morning with a soft meow and escort me to her food dish. She would always allow me to pet her while she ate. When she was done, she would gently rub against a few of the other cats in her kitty family and then head off on her own for the day. At night, she would return and follow the same routine. After dinner, she would bed down in one of the heated cat beds in the garage for a long night sleep. She loved it when one of the other cats would snuggle with her in her bed and never caused a fuss about anything.
Of course I know the dangers of allowing cats to stay outside. However, each of the cats in our colony came to us extremely feral. Some, over time, would permit me to pet them while they ate. Others would choose to only get within a few feet of me while I feed them. Since we couldn’t bring them inside of our home due to my extreme cat-related allergies, we provided them with open access to our garage for food, water and shelter. Their beds and linens are always kept clean. Most of their cat beds are heated. Since this winter has been unusually cold, we bought them with a small heater that we turn on for them on the nights when it drops below freezing. This heater has all of the latest safety features, of course. We had all of the cats in our colony vaccinated, spayed or neutered. Other than the occasional scrape or scratch, they all are very healthy.
In my opinion, it’s just as hard to lose one of your feral cats as it is a cat that lives in your home and is fully domesticated. Over these last few years, I must say that I’ve grown accustomed to spending time with each of them in the morning and evening. I know that they’re all well taken care of and always receive as much love and attention as they want from me. It is a deep sadness that my wife and I feel each time we lose a member of our furry family. We are attempting to come to terms with the fact that Miss Kitty will no longer be with us in physical form. However, her energy and spirit will always remain with us. She knows that we loved her and that we will miss seeing her each day. Rest in peace Miss Kitty.