a post by the mom
A neighbor and I started looking out for the community cats in our neighborhood back in 2010. It all basically started with Junior and Bug. And then we caught a momma cat and discovered the Memorial Day kittens. Things settled down at that point and Carol (the lady on the other side of the neighborhood) was basically feeding 2 cats - Annie (mom to the kittens, best we can tell) and Blackie (not the father).
Allie showed up near my house in 2012, but I have no reason to believe she is related to the other two cats and Carol says she hasn't ever seen her up there.
Last fall we both started seeing a long haired white cat. I was heart broken - had we missed a kitten? But it has been so long, we should have seen this cat before now. Had someone found a kitten and then kicked the cat out of the house? There was no way to know. However, with the weather being SO brutally cold this winter, Carol and I agreed to wait until spring to trap this cat as surgery is hard and recovery in the cold is that much harder.
I would occasionally catch a glimpse of the cat running out of my garage - he certainly wasn't grooming himself very well. Carol was getting a better look at him and agreed he was pretty scruffy.
The end of last week, Carol sent me an email expressing concern about the cat and asking if I thought it would be time to try to trap him. Among other things, he was spraying and her neighbors weren't happy about it.
I took the trap over on Sunday and finally got a good look at him....it was bad. His ears were crusted and bloody. His fur was matted and filthy - and missing in spots. The worst though was his jaw - it appeared to have been broken at some point and healed to where he couldn't move it right and his tongue was hanging out. I told Carol that I would take him to the clinic but that my opinion was that he should be euthanized....he wasn't living, he was existing and more than likely suffering.
I went home that afternoon and the "what ifs" started playing in my head:
What if we had caught him sooner?
What if we missing him as a kitten?
I knew I had to stop and took a deep breath. Anyone working in welfare - people or animals - will tell you that getting hung up on the what ifs will weigh you down and make you lose your mind. I had to focus on "what is".
What is the current situation?
What is the possible outcomes?
What is the most humane thing I can do for this cat right now?
Tuesday morning we caught him and I took him to the clinic where the rescue gets their spay/neuter done as they are feral friendly. Rather than have a conversation in front of a waiting room full of people, I put a note on the intake sheet explaining....they took him back and said he would get an exam and they would call me.
Rest In Peace Sal
Fly Free over the Rainbow Bridge
a post script: I wrote most this Tuesday before the vet called me that afternoon. They sedated him to get a better look. He had lost several teeth on the bottom (his jaw was fine) and the rest were pretty infected. He was one giant mat and his body weight was fairly low. They aged him out at approximately 7-9 years old....which means he was more than likely the father of the kittens. And as his body began to fail, he started coming around in order to find food. It doesn't make the story any less heartbreaking, but I can take some comfort in the fact that we most certainly saved him for a long miserable death.