Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Farewell to a Little Feral Cat

Fluffy Noir ©Mary Montague Sikes
For the past two or three years, we have fed a feral black cat. I was first drawn to Fluffy Noir when I saw him with an injured, bleeding chest. Thinking it could be his last meal, I opened a can of tuna and left it for him.

He got better, and I started to see more of him. Whenever I had good leftovers, I put some outside for this little cat that always looked bedraggled and scruffy. Eventually we started to buy cat food to feed him. I discovered he liked pate best, especially the "super supper".

One day someone noticed that the cat (now named "Fluffy Noir") had patches of fur that were matted. Since he never got close enough for me to touch him, I could do nothing to help. She insisted that he should be trapped and taken to the vet to get neutered, inoculated, and his matted fur fixed. Although I did not like the idea of trapping him, I agreed, especially after being told that the matted fur was painful for an animal. A nice volunteer with a group working with the town's feral cat population came and set up a trap in our yard. After a few tries, Fluffy was trapped, and she took him away.

This lovely lady was an angel. She took Fluffy to the vet where his fur was shaved in the places it was badly matted. He got his shots, was neutered, and his flea problem was taken care of for about 30 days. The poor kitty looked awful, but he probably felt better than he ever had before in his lifetime. When the volunteer returned him to me the next day, Fluffy shot from the trap and raced the fastest I ever saw him run to a heavy thicket. I thought he would be upset with me for his ordeal, but I found him waiting for breakfast the next morning on our deck.

This little cat had no meow, but he would stop and listen when I talked to him. Although he still ran from me, he was letting me get closer at feeding time.

About two weeks ago, I found an eagle sitting on the deck railing opposite our back door. Since I had never before seen a raptor close to our house, I was fascinated. I even searched my Peterson's book of Virginia birds, but this raptor was not listed. Then I noticed Fluffy was tucked close to the brick wall, sitting on the other wooden rail.The bird was almost three times his size which made me a little uneasy. Until then, I had not thought about the cat, the smallest in the neighborhood, being in danger. When I started to open the door, the bird flew up into a nearby tree and lingered there for much of the day.

It has been over a week since I last saw Fluffy. I look out the windows in hope of seeing him in one of his usual spots, but I'm always disappointed. I'm afraid the eagle targeted him, and there was no way for me to save him from harm.

In my first novel, Hearts Across Forever, I allowed a cat to die. One of my readers told me she would never buy another of my books because of the cat's death. Now I understand why. I cannot use Fluffy's story in one of my books unless it is changed to "happily ever after".

Pets are special. Cats are extraordinary.

Do you have a memorable cat story?


Birgit said...

I am so sorry to hear about Fluffy. I have a hard time watching any movie or reading any book where the animal dies. old Yeller is a killer for me and I bawl like a baby when Lassie finally makes it home. It is sad that Fluffy may have become the raptor's dinner. I hope he is just hanging low, trapping him and getting this done is the best thing for these pussy cats. I'm so glad this was done and matted fur must have been very painful.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - sorry to read about Fluffy Noir .. pity he wasn't a little more trusting ... I guess the eagle feels better ... but not nice to think about. It's the way of life isn't it - except us lot. I'm glad he had some time feeling easier with life ...

Take care and Happy Thanksgiving - even while you think about your beautiful Fluffy Noir - love the name ... cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

How sad. If he was feral, trapping him and keeping him trapped would've been the only way to save him. And he wouldn't have liked that. You did the best you could for him.

Our little Rocko would easily be carried away, which is another reason we never let her out.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Birgit, thank you for your kind comments. Usually we outlive our pets, feral or otherwise, so when we take them into our care we know we will one day lose them. Still, we keep looking where they once stood. We wait where they waited.

Hilary, we live in a world where a cat lives on small birds, and big birds can take small cats. Sad but true. I never saw Fluffy show any interest in birds. He just watched the world around him. Thanks for your comments and good wishes!

Diane, you are right. He was so frantic the day he was trapped and so happy last February when he was released. Take care of Rocko!