Feral or community cats can be the ultimate invisible cats. For the most part they don’t want to be seen. People are dangerous and to be avoided. Only colony managers and those who care for community cats see them regularly.
The volunteers of Derry Township Community Cats have been helping to care for one colony lately, and it was my pleasure to be the morning and evening feeder for the last couple days. Even though I don’t know this crew well, at least not yet, some of them were willing to be seen and even photographed. I understand the colony is about twenty cats or so, and I saw seven or eight.
We have been trying to capture one of the cats. A youngster, maybe six months old (though she is so small that she looks younger) is clearly sick. Her eyes are running. She sneezes. She is malnourished – I understand from others that many of the cats have rejected her and push her away from the food we provide. She tends to eat by herself until the wet food is put down, and then she gets pushed away. She isn’t grooming much, and she just looks awful.
Yesterday she gave me a look that broke my heart. She turned to me while I was taking photos. She was hunched down with a look that seemed to say: “Help.” She looked as if she was running out of steam…for good. And the really cold days are starting up, making it so much harder for a sickly kitty.
I had no way of capturing her yesterday, but as I headed out the door this morning, I grabbed a cat carrier, just in case. It is probably a sign of how bad she feels that she let me come up behind her, wrap her in a fleece blanket, and put her in my carrier. We have her now, where we keep pre- and post-surgical cats. Her trap is covered in blankets, and sits in front of a wood stove. She was all curled up in a polartec blanket when I left this morning, and she has a food dish that she doesn’t have to share with anyone. She’s pretty scared, but at least we can care for her until she’s well enough to rejoin her group. The vet asked us to deworm her, get some drops in her eyes, and start her on an antibiotic, all done this morning. We’ll get the vet an update tonight, and take her in to be seen during business hours. She’s eating at least, and that’s a good sign.
Cats like this perish invisibly all the time. I’m so relieved that she wasn’t invisible to us. Hopefully we can restore her to health. Fingers crossed.