Apr 20, 2009

Feral Cat Of The Day - Grandma Tabby Cat

She's older, slower, and maybe a little achy... it's Grandma Feral Cat. This is her "Lifetime Achievement Award" picture.

Old feral cat

Almost certainly the oldest surviving cat in the feral colony that I work with. I remember her being an adult cat when I started working with this colony in early 2001. I'm pretty sure that she is over ten years old and maybe as old as 15! Feral cats usually have short, miserable lives so her survival is amazing.

I've noticed lately that she's moving a lot slower. Her half-closed eyes tell me that she isn't feeling quite up to par. Maybe arthritis is setting in. She is an OLD cat. And sometimes she doesn't quite manage to show up at feedings. And each time, I think maybe she's gone... but then she's back at the next feeding.

So far.

- I haven't been posting as much lately because I haven't had interesting photographs to share (speaking strictly from my perspective as an artist; I also know that every feral cat has their own story to tell). I still work with and the ferals twice a day every day. I just don't always have time to photograph them - or my pictures just aren't interesting to me. This one was different.

This photograph was interesting to me because the composition tells a story: An old feral cat looks away, as if remembering her past glory days when she was young and had babies to love and care for. Those days are behind her . ...The dying tree in the background reminds us that nothing is forever, and for each of us - including this elderly kitty - our time eventually comes to an end.

This is the story of Grandma feral cat.

I don't know how she got here. I only know that she was deathly afraid of humans. She was probably born wild.

Her interesting color is a cross between calico and tabby cat. Already in 2001, she was the mother of many. The fact that so many of her kittens survived is a testament to her ability to hunt and her intelligence in avoiding danger.

I remember in 2002 how I found and managed to scoop up some feral kittens. Before I could get away, I felt a tug at my leg. It was Grandma feral cat. She had latched on to my pants leg with her teeth and she was pulling hard, trying to stop me from leaving with those precious babies.

The fear was visible in her eyes. Attacking a human put her in mortal danger. Yet her instinct to save those kittens from an unknown fate overcame her fear. A good mom, she acted in the only way she knew how.

I was touched by her love and dedication.

Grandma hasn't been able to have kittens for a long time but she still helps look after other mom's kittens. She is a babysitter and a guardian. Her hunting days, though, are pretty much over. It is getting harder now for her to be the protector of all kittens but I'm sure she still wants to try.

old, old feral cat grandmother

Her purpose in life was to be a good mom and provider/protector of her babies. She did her job very well. We never managed to trap Grandma, she just got old and stopped having kittens.  But she continued to help raise her grandchildren.

Thank you, Grandma.

Grandma Feral Cat Keeps Watch

-- UPDATE: --

I'm sad to report that Grandma Feral Cat passed away on or about September 24, 2009. Her age was unknown but probably over 11 years old. She was a conscientious mother who took care of not only her own babies, but all kittens who needed warmth and protection. You continued to help raise your grandchildren right to the very end. I hope there is a cat heaven for you, Grandma, you were the best mom a kitten could have.

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