You are here

Please Forgive Me.

As some of you may know, for the better part of the last year, every Wednesday I drove a few miles to one of the local diners. Behind the diner, in a back corner of the parking lot, where a thick grove of trees and a few boulders stood, hid a feral cat feeding station.

Our uber-trapper, cat rescuer, Ms. K., set up the feeding station, along wtih an insulated feral cat house. Ms. K. had been feeding and trapping and Vetting all the cats that found their way to our little place. Over the years she rescued and helped many many cats and had a small network of volunteer "feeders" who would take turns to visit the feeding station every day, rain or shine, to make sure if there was a feral cat around, they would be fed.

Just last month, I took in a 6 month old kitten, named Smokey, who had been found abandoned with her pregnant Mother.

It was surprising to many of us that there were any cats still coming to find a meal, since it was more than six months of trips that I had seen any sign of a cat. Ms. K. was even sure there was no chance of any more cats and since someone had abandoned friendly cats at our feeding station, we knew we had to close it down for fear of it becoming a dumping ground for more cats.

I thought it was a good idea, too, and asked to be relieved of my weekly duties, only making myself available to feed, as needed, our one "for sure" feral kitty, Baby, who lives near a small cinderblock office building in town.

Things seemed fine with the arrangement until today.

Today I got an email from Ms. K. saying she had been back to formally close down the feeding station and to remove the feral cat house for good. Upon opening the top of the house, she was greatly saddened and shocked to find the body of a dead cat, most likely who had starved to death and found her last moments of life, hidden away in a small shelter trying to fend off the frigid temperatures.

Ms. K has seen more than her share of dead cats, but it effected her deeply. I wasn't with her at the time and it hit me hard, too. I let this cat down. I gave up, only thinking about how it could be difficult to fit a run to the diner into my day. This poor creature may have been a sibling to the very same dear kitten I had fostered so recently. She may have searched for her Mother and sister and, unable to fend for herself, slowly weakened until she perished.

I was at work when I got the email and I admit to having to struggle to hide my tears. The cat was black and a female. I had lost a feral cat months ago and I wondered if it was her or if she met the same fate, too. It's been since March since I last saw my little feral girl and it all just felt like too much.

Ms. K. says to focus on the successes and to put the losses away. We failed this cat and she suffered terribly because of it. She is only one of MILLIONS who die every year and with the economy doing so badly, I fear those numbers will grow.

This also was a message to me, a reminder. I've been grappling with a house full of sick cats. They may have gotten sick from the Fostering I've done. I was thinking I needed to stop for good, to protect my cats from further harm, but then I think about this one, small cat who never got to know life in a warm room, with good food to eat and a compassionate human companion to look out for her well being.

All she got to know was the cold, dark night. An empty belly. Fear and despair.

For that, I must continue on. I must not give up or give in. I must keep helping more cats beat the odds.


Sorry to hear about it. Our Siamese, Seosaimhin came from a Humane Society shelter and has been with us for eight years now. She loves humans, hates other cats, and keeps dogs away from our yard as well. She does put up with our four rabbits although they puzzle her and seemm to get on her nerves often as not.


Add new comment