I took Dice, one of the cats in my yard, to the vet today to be euthanized. We are heartbroken.
Dice was the quintessential feral tom cat. He showed up in my yard at the beginning of 2009, and I trapped him easily and quickly that January. Here he is right after his TNR surgery looking a little rough.
That rough look never quite left him, and he pretty much left my yard for awhile for a few years. I would see him randomly throughout the neighborhood, on other blocks.
Until the James Gang Colony started, a few years later in 2012, along with Dash, Funny Face, and Bouncy Bear, and slowly formed an alliance in my yard, as the cats learned to come to me daily for their dinner.
Then Dice flourished with the attention and companionship, and became a healthy, fat, tom cat. Just look at those cheeks.
He was always a bit solitary.
Dice seemed to appreciate the meals, accommodations, and companionship with the other colony cats.
But many times he preferred to be alone.
He was especially tight with Funny Face. The two were always together these past few years.
But this year, after the brutal winter, it was clear that Dice wasn’t the same. He had lost weight, and seemed tired. I re-trapped him and took him to a vet for treatment and a full dental in the spring.
He seemed to bounce back and had a good run this past summer, but he continued to lose weight. I prepared the traps to re-trap him again.
This turned out to be unnecessary. I went out of town last Sunday for work, and when I came back into town the following Friday, I found him laying in my garden, meowing, with black mucus all over his face.
For the first time, he allowed me to touch him. When I got him to the vet, they determined that he basically needed round-the-clock hospitalization. Since he was feral, that was not really an obvious, easy solution.
At this point Dice weighed four pounds. The vet administered fluids, vitamins and antibiotics. We waited to see if he would improve crated in my house. He ate a lot, but barely moved, even to go to the bathroom. I tried to make him comfortable and keep him clean, but it was clear that even though I think he knew I was trying to help him, my presence and being in my house was stressing him out.
Rather than putting him through a lengthy hospital stay and a bunch of invasive tests, we decided to euthanize Dice today. He was the quintessential tom cat again today. He hissed, and then relaxed, and showed us his feral nature, even though he was barely able to move. I think Dice appreciated the love, and he showed us true dignity in facing such a death. His rough face softened and was at peace finally. I’m glad he allowed me to get to know him a little bit these last six years, and I hope I was able to make his life a little bit better during this time.