Felix was found dying outside a block away from me last summer. A neighbor took a video of him laying in the dirt, slowly dying, and posted on Facebook for “somebody to do something.” It took three days until another neighbor finally scooped him up and took him to Medvet, where he was humanely euthanized.
I did not know any of this until Medvet called me, because they traced his microchip to me. Since he was full of maggots, they thought he was overcome by botfly. There was no way to save him at that point. They were incredibly kind and compassionate on the phone and explained everything they could to me.
I had no idea who fed him, and in fact, I thought he may be a neighbor’s indoor/outdoor cat. The funny thing was I was driving down his alley to check on the trap before I went to the clinic with some other trapped cats for TNR, and he ran in front of my car, through the alley, through the empty lot, and straight into the trap. It seems like he thought the trap was a hiding place. After his TNR, I never really saw him again, except for one time almost two years later. Eventually I “retired” the Stealth Colony in my TNR Case Study.
I then found the original Facebook post because another neighbor told me about it. It was long and convoluted, and eventually taken down, because somebody found it upsetting. It WAS upsetting – it was upsetting to see an animal suffering that people did not help. They did call Animal Control, but AC is totally overwhelmed and underfunded to pick up dying animals in any sort of timely manner. Another neighbor did finally take him to Medvet, and unfortunately I never found out who.
Also in that thread there was several posts from a man named Jose, who was very upset and asking where this cat was, because he was sure he was feeding this cat, among others, in the neighborhood. I couldn’t believe it! I found another cat colony feeder the next block over from me that I hadn’t met before. I immediately contacted him.
Turns out Jose was feeding FOUR ear tipped cats, all from different colonies in our neighborhood. Including MY Funny Face from MY colony! Jose calls him Simon, and had names for all of them. Jose and his wife Mary’s dogs died in the fall of 2016. Almost immediately cats started showing up in their yard, and they started feeding them. All were already ear tipped. He now also provides shelters for them.
Although the death of Felix was tragic, it was how I met Jose and Mary, more animal loving neighbors who are caring for the cats. Caring for these cats is a community effort, there is no “service” that’s just going to come and do it for you. And neighbors have stepped up to the challenge – we don’t want to see cats suffering outside needlessly. I wish we could have helped Felix faster, but we’ll keep moving forward and trying.