The loss of a pet

For those of us who are animal livers, the loss of a pet cuts into your heart.

My wife & I are more than a little crazy about animals, especially cats.  not only do we have a very healthy number of our own, we also feed a colony of feral cats, capture & work to socialize feral cats/kittens (our latest venture), and foster cats & kittens from the Humane Society.

The fostering has been a great experience.  We’ve had a fair number of kittens, and a few cats through here in the last year.

The little ones need to be socialized some.  They need to learn what it’s like to be picked up, held, scratched & petted.  They learn what it’s like to deal with adult cats.  Sometimes they need to put on a few pounds.  Playful, affectionate kittens will be much easier to adopt out than one that’s unsure about people, or that runs off.

The cats we’ve had have had their own issues.  Sometimes it’s just overcrowding at the shelter.  We had one that was under quarantine because she’d scratched someone.  We care for them, too.  Give them attention, maybe evaluate their personality & write a review (for the kittens, too) about their likes & dislikes, and how they act around people & animals.

Of course, rescuing ferals is a challenge in itself.  These are kittens who’ve never been around people.  Their mom & dad are feral.  Of course, we want to capture the adults, too.  We believe in ‘Trap/Neuter/Release’, so that feral cats are fixed so they don’t produce any more litters.  They’re then released back onto the streets to live out their lives.  Very few feral cats can ever be socialized.  I spent the better part of 8 years feeding a very sweet feral cat I called ‘Little Mister’.  I know he trusted me more than he’d trusted anyone.  And I’d be willing to bet that my wife & I were the only people he ever let touch him, even for just a few seconds.  He disappeared sometime last winter.

But our most recent ‘captures’ were a pair of 10 week old black kittens.  The first one we caught was a young female that my wife named ‘Zsu Zsu’.  The first week or so with us, she didn’t want to be touched.  It’s not that she’d attack you if you tried to touch her, but she’d show her teeth to you, and give this little tiny hiss.  Gradually, she decided that it was all right to have someone pay attention to her, and we can now pick her up & hold her, and she’ll just purr away.  There are still some problems with the other cats, but I think things will work out.

The second one, ‘Little Bear’, doesn’t have such a happy ending.  He was the runt of the litter.  Rejected by his mom & pushed aside by his siblings, he only weighed 13 ounces at 10 weeks.  We had to take him to the emergency vet a few weeks ago.  He only made it another week.   We had to let him go last Monday night.  The short time we had him, maybe because he didn’t have the strength to run away, or maybe because we were the first to care for him, he showed a lot of affection.  R.I.P, little one.

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