This is Tommy. He has been in our lives since we moved
into our house nearly two years ago. But it was just recently he became
not just a stray, but a part of our kitty family.
the first time I fed him. It was several months ago when I saw him alone
on our back porch. He had always tagged along with our smallest cat, so
we would see him on occasion around the neighborhood. We both knew he
was a stray - his ears are in bad shape and his fur is rough. No collar,
not fixed, all claws. Blind in one eye. Eight, ten years old.
Could be younger, since strays visually age much quicker than house cats.
I saw him out back. Usually when he saw one of us, he would make
pathetic meow sounds and walk away. This time he sat there, staring at
me. I went back into the house and got some wet cat food. Not
thinking, I left it in the can, eager to feed him since he was actually
suffering my company.
I set the bowl next to him and moved
several feet away. He started scarfing at the can, pushing it along the
concrete. Fear welled up as he started moving towards me. At the
time, I had no idea how docile he was, and the fear that he had rabies or
something worse, and didn't realize how close he was to me and would attack
when he realized - yikes. But I stayed still, and he pushed the can up
against my knee and finished eating. I spoke to him then - just silly
little things, but he knew I was there and he didn't mind. And that day,
I fell in love with the little tom cat - naming him Tommy.
are trying to cage him and take him to the vet. He is smart about this,
though. It's like he knows, and only comes around very early while I
leave to work, or late at night, when the vet is closed. We need to take
him in, though, and fix him, make him well and give him a peaceful place to
be. Make him a true part of our family.
My deepest fear
is that he is too sick, too old. That our vet will tell us that he must
be put to sleep. I have no idea how old he really is, how many winters
he has suffered alone and outside - how awful is it that I would bring him
death? What pain is he in, though?
Today I spent an
hour with him out on the back porch. I fed him, then sat down next to
him. He let me pet him, then curled up on his favorite wicker chair and
rested. He looks so old - it breaks my heart. I asked him what I
should do? God, I don't want to take him to the vet and have them kill
him. I really do love him as one of mine. I just wish he was
healthy. Please, please, when I take him in, let them say he has a
chance. I'll pay anything just to make him well.
Tommy had to be put to sleep on July 6th, 2004. We had captured him days
before and brought him into the vet. We were elated to find out he did
not have cancer behind his ears - they were ear mites that had infested so bad
that they had bit through to the other side - something very painful, but
repairable. But then the doctor came back with the fatal diagnosis of
FIV - Feline AIDS.
FIV has no cure. Once a cat has it, he might live
for a few years longer if he is housed inside and nurtured. It is spread
by mating and fighting. Tommy was not fixed and was very scrappy
looking, so there is no telling how he got it. But the fact is he was
too far gone. His little body wasn't healthy enough to keep up the
struggle to fight against this disease.
My heart was broken for this little guy - did he even have a chance?
My only hope is that we made up for some of his rough life in the last few
months we knew him; maybe we made his existence a little less awful.
It was with bitter relief the week afterwards we had our cats Char and Coco
tested - both negative. Really, I think this is another testament on how
wonderful Tom was - he never bit or scratched them, he was just docile to them
Please, please spay and neuter your cats. Think before you bring a
kitten home that it is a life-long commitment. When it turns into a cat,
or has problems, you can't just abandon it. These are God's creatures -
respect them. It is my only plea to you now after having to put this
wonderful being to sleep.