LIFE OF A FERAL CAT...Beaten but not down!

PatChristensen

Wetaskiwin, Canada

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I was born to mummy inside a house. There was seven of us my brothers and sisters. I was the only fully orange one, “Beautiful eyes”, I heard someone say. Next I know my siblings and I are in a dark place, a garbage bag, we are in a moving vechile. Next we’ve stopped, placed on a lonely country road and left. It’s quiet outside other than everyone meowing, “Whats going on?” The next thing I know I’m outside the bag, the only survivor, the others died after that unknowing truck hit the bag. Now what…
Months pass I have survived on small animals, mice, frogs or bugs, finding water when I can. I have met a few others, they are never friendly, they always want to fight, I am male so they don’t want me around. The bug bites, fleas, the itching is terrible, my fur is very matted it provides some protection, the nights are getting colder, winter is coming. This winter I lose part of my tail and the tips of both my ears, but I still have my beautiful eyes. I have now had a few fights, so far I have won them all. I have gained some females, even mated and so far kept the home I found, a hollowed out log. Hard to find something to drink, in Alberta temps can get as low as -40C. Those days I stay in my log, too dangerouse out there, too cold. On warmer days I drink melted snow, careful not to drink antifreeze from the humans, it can kill. The humans are all around, I try to advoid them , you can’t trust them. We are waste to them easily disposed of. Don’t they realize we are meant to be indoors, loved, petted, brushed and cared for and we will be forever devoted to them. We are a domesticated animal, were not meant to be in the wild, we are not lions or tigers, silly people. I don’t need them anyway, I don’t care. I cry I’m not sure why.
I make it through my first winter, according to others three is my max, we will see… Dam there is a new male around, he is huge. The next day I run into him, he wants my log, my females, he wants me gone, we fight. Man I lose big time, he’s hurt me bad. The fox didn’t get me, nor the coyottes or dogs, but one of my own kind did. He didn’t kill me, but the infections from the injurys will. I won’t see another winter, guess the stats are right. He’s hurt my eyes, my beautiful eyes. Well with the ones I fathered I’m sure one or two might get my eyes. Wish I was an inside house cat, lucky ones they are. Days later I’m so tired, I’ll just lay here next to this tree, rest awhile, my eyes are so painful, I shut them. I never leave this tree, my eyes never open again, I’m gone. Another wildcat forgotten…

Although this story is fictional it is based on truth. This image is an orange tabby that has been around awhile and just started excepting food from me. I will call him Matt as he is terribly matted. Two weeks ago I took a lovely image of him he has beautiful eyes, the other day I saw him like this. I don’t know if he will make it, I hope so, he was terrribly beaten up but not down…not yet.
I care for several wildcats within our country area. Many are “drop offs”, the ones people decide they don’t want anymore, brought to the country and left to fend for themselves. Others are born in the wild off springs of the “drop offs” as none are ever fixed. I have been feeding and watching several in a family for about two years now .Many have come and gone, lost to preditors or the elements. Many are captured in my images. Many have a special place in my heart. I recently took in two, I’d take them all in if I could, but I’m not a “cat lady” and thats not reality. So I do what I can I make shelters for them and feed them regularly. If this story or image seems graphic or harsh, my appoligies, but it is the life of a ferral cat. I hope this image or story has touched you, even educated you. I dream that one day all cats will be cared for indoors where they belong. If I have motivated you to help, all you have to do is bring one of these beautiful creatures in from the cold.

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