I stopped by the TNR site this morning to check traps and review the pictures, just as I have been in the routine of doing. Non-eartipped trapped cats go right to the spay/neuter clinic and eartipped cats get released. The camera had been pointing at the kitten nest for the past 24-hours, so I was eager to see what the pictures revealed about a possible mama.
The pictures taken throughout Sunday clearly show that the eartipped black kitty is mama! Now, we can rest easy knowing we got the mama of those kittens. Mama spent all day Sunday with her remaining baby. Her other kittens were near her in the carrier.
In the traps this morning was the other small black cat (non-eartipped) that had come by to check out the nest the night before.
There are many decisions that are made with TNR, some easier than others. This morning we brought three cats to the clinic from this site. The little young black boy, an older brown tabby who moved slow and looked like he was in a lot of pain, and a multicolored cat we had never seen before.
I met up with one of the trapping partners at the clinic and we dropped off the cats and started planning the next phase of trapping. As we talked in the clinic lobby, the clinic staff came out and told us the multicolored cat was in rough shape. He was very thin, had major teeth problems, and severe pillow-pad. The vet thought he might have some other stuff going on too.
I’ve been doing TNR now for a little over two years and this was the first time I ran into this decision. It was not hard to make, the cat was suffering and prognosis was very poor, especially considering he is feral with no responsible caretaker. The emotional aftermath of our decision is hard.
We went in and said our goodbyes to this precious boy and retreated back to the lobby to get out of the way of the busy clinic so we could talk and cry. A few minutes later, the vet popped out again and said the old feral boy we brought in had cancer and was not well. This one didn’t surprise us as he looked like he was in pain. Again we made the choice to end his suffering and for us to take on that suffering in the form of broken hearts. We both cried even more.
My friend said she wishes she didn’t always cry when faced with this situation. I’m glad we cry, our tears honor the lives of these homeless, nameless, forgotten feral cats. These cats matter, our tears reflect that truth.
My heart still hurts for these two precious souls and yet I feel comforted knowing they are no longer suffering. As they go on to kitty heaven, may they forever know they are loved by two trappers and the staff of the spay/neuter clinic who cared enough to take action to try to better their lives.