I TNR’d Betty from the Jose and the Pussycats Colony in February 2012. Most of this colony feeds and hangs out on the front porch. Betty lived all by herself on the back porch, and I was told she was a mama cat many times before her TNR. In fact, two of her daughters were living inside with her feeders. We took her daughters to the clinic to be spayed as well.
Betty was very feral, very old, and very deaf. The feeders think she lived in their backyard for the last fifteen years. She would not interact with any of the other cats in the colony.
Because of her deafness, I was able to get up close and see that she was sick. And that she had the most AMAZING amount of fur.
It took me three days to trap her. I spent hours in her feeder’s kitchen, watching the trap. This is a terrible photo, but this is what she did most of the time while I was waiting. She just hung out on top of the trap. It made me laugh so much, even though I was so desperate to get her, because she was so sick and congested. And her coat is so crazy looking – it made her look huge, like a raccoon.
When I finally trapped her, she was on antibiotics for over a week before her spay surgery. She looked much better afterwards. Her tongue was always out, so obviously she needed a dental, but she tested negative for FIV/FeLV, and seemed to recover fairly well. I had grand plans of adopting her inside because she was so different looking, and her deafness and age made me think she was too vulnerable to be outside. Plus, frankly, the conditions she was living in the back porch were filthy, no matter how much I talked to the feeders, or offered to clean up. In fact, a lot of things about this colony were a mess, but I want to tell Betty’s story now, and not dwell on things that can’t be changed. When I brought back Betty after being recovered for two weeks, the feeders did not want her back. They had thought I took her away permanently. It was actually kind of a fight, but there was nowhere else for her to go. It was so strange, though, because they immediately brought her food. They really do care about these cats, and allowed me to vet all of their indoor and outdoor cats without objection, and would even try to help with trapping. They fed wet and dry food multiple times a day, provided shelter for the colony on their front and back porches, and would never accept cat food donations from me. I would periodically bring clean outdoor clean shelters for her. But Betty was very feral, and would even snub the shelters I brought for her preferred old blankets.
This is the time of year where I clean out all of the shelters for the feeders. When I cleaned out Betty’s shelter two weeks ago, I could see she was very matted and congested again. I wasn’t sure if I should start trapping her immediately for treatment, because at this time of year she could not be shaved. She needed her fur for the winter.
I just stopped by the house today and the feeders told me they found Betty dead outside last week in the backyard. They always answer the door when I go there, but I can never get them to call me, even for something like this. I would’ve taken her immediately to the vet had I known, but who knows if she would have wanted that. I hope Betty died peacefully on her own terms, as a truly feral cat.