My 12 year old feral cat stopped eating about 2 weeks ago, I found her dead today.
(Long Island NY, USA)
Auntie Black Cat R.I.P.
Hi, This has been a very hard day. I have 2 feral cats, sisters I'm told from my neighbors. First a little history. When I moved into this home I found out very soon that the yard came with 2 feral female cats. I moved in in Dec, 2000. One of them was staying in the crawl space under my house for warmth, her sister under the shed. I had no idea what feral cats were until these 2 cats came into my life. I have had domestic cats my whole life, but not this. I started feeding them, then after they had litters in the spring I trapped them and had them spayed. They have thrived and lived happily in my tiny safe fenced in yard for the past 10 years. They each have heated kitty tents that are fleeced lined and in protected wood shelters that we built for them. About 2 weeks ago I noticed one of my cats was only picking at her food, other than that she looked fine. She is the one who lives in the crawl space during the winter and sleeps in her heated kitty camper. I always provided safe outdoor heated cat mats for them but this year found a product called the Lectro heated kitty camper. They both love them and I sleep well at night knowing they are cozy and warm. I feed them dry mixed with canned food twice a day and make sure they always have fresh water. I have never touched one of them. They have never let me get close enough, though they will hang around in my backyard when I am out there. They never leave my yard. They never go near the street nor do they eat anywhere else, no need. So, the cat that slowed down with her eating 2 weeks ago then completely stopped eating about a week and a half ago. It didn't look like she was touching her water either. I thought (was hoping) maybe she was eating from her sisters dish, but she wasn't even coming out from under the crawl space. At least I would see her when I opened the crawl space door. The last time I saw her was last week, then I didn't see her again. We went under the crawl space, (no easy task) to find her. We did. I knew she was most likely not going to be found alive as she has never disappeared in 10 years or stopped eating or drinking. I examined her body and there was
no trauma that I could see. She looked fine not even thin or anything. It has been 20 degrees c for a few weeks, I live in the northeast U.S. Long Island NY. The crawl space is fairly warm not to mention her shelter with heated pad which she slept in all the time. I'm so sad and the worst part is I don't know what happened. I realize it could be any sort of illness but she looked fine the last few times I saw her alive. Not thin, or runny eyes, or anything that I could see from a distance. She would usually never let me closer than 5 or 6 feet. Does anyone have any ideas? Her sister is fine and hasn't slowed with her eating at all. I realize I will never know for sure, but she seemed and looked healthy as could be up until she stopped eating and drinking, which was for about a week or more. No raccoons can gain entry to the crawl space, I made sure of that. Any ideas would be appreciated.
Thank you, Linda
P.S. I did set a hav-a-hart trap with food and put it under the crawl space with food in it, but I guess because she wasn't eating it wasn't going to work. There was no way for me to catch her otherwise I would have.
Answer by Kate
firstly let me say what a great person you are. you have made the lives of these two feral cats as comfortable and as cared for as you possibly could. god bless you for that.
as to what could have caused the death of your cat, well I'm afraid you answered your own question, there is no real way to tell. She may have developed a long standing illness such as heart failure, or liver damage etc, in fact the list of possible illnesses is so long there is no point going through them all.
As soon as you noticed that something was wrong you tried to catch her so that you get her to a vets and that is all anyone could have done.
feral cats can have shorter lives than purely domesticated cats as their lives are generally harder and so even though you cared for her, she probably still had a harder life.
My advice to you is to not to dwell on this anymore, feel good that you did everything you could for her and I'm sure if she could she would have thanked you.
best wishes Kate