My 12 year old feral cat stopped eating about 2 weeks ago, I found her dead today.

by Linda
(Long Island NY, USA)

Auntie Black Cat R.I.P.

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
Hi Linda
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

Comments for My 12 year old feral cat stopped eating about 2 weeks ago, I found her dead today.

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My 14 year old feral
by: AnonymousDian

My 14 yearly old feral has had a pretty good life I think. He has a home all set up in our laundry and deco room. It is part of the home and has two kitty doors that lead out doors. It's warm in winter and cool in summer. Three months ago I saw he was thinning out a bit but still had a healthy diet. 6 days ago he stopped eating, he did take in water. He's lost his footing and when he tries to get up he wobbles. He likes me to be close now that he's sick. when I leave him he will make a small sound and I'll stay until he falls asleep. I have cat check every 15 minutes and most times I just stay for an hour. He's so thin, and drinks and eats nothing. I know he's old, he was born in my garage from his feral momma. So please pray for my boy he doesn't suffer and he just sleeps his way into that peaceful place where all kitties play, climb, chase, and cuddle into loving ❤️ arms. I feel for all you wonderful cat owners. It's a hard road but we wouldn't have it any other way.

I’m currently in the same boat!
by: Kathi

I have no idea how old this thread is, but I’m worried sick right now, and when I read your post, it’s as if I was listening to myself talk. I related to everything you said and my story is similar, except my little girls (sisters) are only about two years old. They sleep in the same heated cat house, and they are inseparable. I’m constantly checking on them, and I worry so much if they don’t come home at night! I love them as much as I love my house cat. We have lots of ferals on our property, but these are the two that I adopted. They actually come into my house now, and they explore, but if I make a sudden movement, they run out of the house. They will both let me pet them at the sliding door but if I walk out the door, they will run. So there’s a striped one and there’s a smaller black and white fluffy one. The striped one always hogs the food. The fluffy one has never been a big eater. Ironically, it’s the striped one that has stopped eating. It’s been two days. I have managed to give her a little bit of wet food, but she only licks it. Yesterday she licked one all up. But as of today, she’s not even licking at it. I have no idea what’s wrong with her, and like you said, trying to trap her is not a possibility because I have nothing to lure her in the trap with . She’s simply not interested in food. I think I’ve bonded with her more than the fluffy cat, and I know I will be heartbroken if anything happens to her. Besides she’s just too young. I don’t know what I’m gonna do. If I could get close enough to her, I could try to grab her if I had a carrier nearby. I’m gonna have to try to do that because I think it’s my only option now. I will just have to wear my long gloves that I use for stoking the fire, because I know she’s gonna be vicious in order to get away from me. Anyway, I’m just venting right now because, again, I’m sorry that you went through such a heartbreaking trauma. It must’ve been horrible to find her that way. I’m wondering how her sister did without her. Anyway, I think you are a wonderful cat mom, and they are lucky to have you. I hope you get this. ❤️

My feral
by: Anonymous

I started out with ten feral cats. Went up to 21 and down to 12. I caught 10 to have them fixed and shots given. I'm down to 5 which I had for years now. I can pet 3 of them and all when they're eating. Recently 1 gray has been acting scared and won't come close anymore. He wont eat. Now the others are not really eating, even changing their food didn't help. It's like they're getting skittish again. I have no idea what's wrong.

Sick Feral Kitty
by: Jill

Hi Linda,
'm so sorry for your loss and for your kitty. I'm going through exactly what you described right now. My Slate hasn't eaten since Sunday and he stays in the same spot, won't let me near him. When I tried to catch him yesterday to take him to the vet he freaked and ran under my neighbor's porch. I ahven't seen him since. We looked under the deck, and he's not there. I'm afraid that he is by himself dying. I am very sad. I know what you're going through. I love Slate. He is a beautiful large gray male that wandered into my yard about 5 years ago. He lives with his buddies in my yard, a total of 5 ferals/strays. Three of them are a close-knit group, but they've been staying away from him and he away from them. My boyfriend says we do all that we can do for these precious ones, but we can't control everything. Thank you for loving your kitties and taking great care of them. They need us.

Cats in need
by: Anonymous

WOW what an amazing bunch of people you are I've been moved to tears reading some of these incredible heartwarming accounts well done all of you . I work in feline welfare and sadly cats don't always get the love and understanding they so desperately need I'm also feeding a ? Stray boy who is un-neutered but so un -confrontational I have only been feeding him the past 4 nights and he has been really hungry and cleared the lot I'm going to pop a trap out tomorrow and just let him come and go hoping he will use it for shelter before I actually set the trap to catch him he is a lovely boy and my cats seem to know he needs help and accept him he too is nice and very respectful towards them though I feed away from the house as don't want to rub my cats noses in it !!! I really hope I can catch him next week and his bloods are clear and can neuter and find his forever home there are too many like him desperate for love and a responsible home .

Feel your pain
by: MrsTY

I have a 15 year old female feral. I had her fixed and a series of shots right away. She’s not been eating well on and off for the past 6 months. First I made her boiled chicken that seemed to get her over it... the next time I had some extra powdered clavamox in the house from another cat who didn’t need it, and mixed it up and gave it to her. She was fine again for several weeks. Now it’s starting again. Although I’ve been feeding her and caring for her for 13 years she still barely lets me touch her. Trapping her when she’s not eating well is obviously out of the question. She’s had a heated house for winters all these years also. Don’t know if she’ll make it this year. I’m still paying off my indoor cat’s dental bills and can’t afford to get this cat to a vet, if I even could. We’ve done all we can for them, life ends for us all, sadly. I hope you get this.

Sick feral cat
by: Virginia

I also have a feral cat who is my outside companion. My neighbor moved and left her. We heat her water and house in the winter.She never goes into the street or out of the fenced area. A week ago she stopped eating. She is so thin. It breaks my heart. She just looks at me and cries,but now will not let me get near her.we are both suffering. I feel your pain

Thank you.
by: Anonymous

I wanted to reach out to you and say a couple of things. Firstly at the age your feral cat was there is a high likely hood that renal failure was cause of death. Cat's who stop eating are one thing...but when a cat stops drinking it is very often a sign that death is imminent with or without help. I know a good person like you will second guess that she did all that she could do. You did.

I can say this with confidence because the only interventions that are possible with a cat who isn't drinking involve fluid therapy via iv's or sub q's and that isn't something a feral is going to tolerate.
Thank you for caring for them. They were and are lucky kitties.

10 yr old feral cat has stopped eating
by: Susan Anonymous

I am sorry for your loss. I am going through the same thing with my 10 yr old feral cat who is hiding out and not drinking or eating for over 1 week . I tried setting up a trap but he is not interested in food . I have another 10 yr old feral cat who is fine .but he is staying away from the sick one . I feel sick that I can not catch him to bring to the Vets. They have been well cared for but it breaks my heart knowing he may be suffering and dying . He was fine and the next minute he was moving very slow and not moving much . I feel this is not going to end well 🐱💔

I feel your pain:(
by: Lisa

Losing a pet is really like losing a child. I had Rudie for 14 years. She was only a few weeks old when a little boy asked us to take her so his dad wouldn't throw her in the river.I didn't think twice. Ever since she has been a huge part of our family.
Two weeks ago we thought she had run away when the contractors were at our house, but last night one of them and my husband found her way under the staircase where knowone could see her. She had died alone. Now my other cat that is almost the same age paces the house and cries all the time. It's really heart breaking.
This week I am going to plant a small tree out back and make her a garden where we buried her. That way she will always be near and know she is at home still.
People may think thats strange or out there, but pets love you unconditionally, where people not so much a lot of the time.

She is in with God now
by: Anonymous

I feel so bad for you because I have lost animals myself and it is so hard. You tried everything you could and since you could not catch her you could not take her to the vet. She is with God now.

by: Anonymous

Linda, I think your feral cat died of old age. Try not to be too sad, it was inevitable.

There's a special place in heaven for people like you
by: Debbie

I was moved to tears by your story. Not only because of the loss of the kitty but for the extraordinary effort you put into making the two cats comfortable. A tent with a heater in it, who would take the time and the expense of providing this for a feral cat! Only someone with a generous loving heart like you. It's true you won't know what happened but it almost doesn't matter, you loved this cat and you're grieving the loss. Showering your other cats with affection might reinforce what a great person you are and help you through these next days.

I adopted two feral kittens who were older when they were caught (2 1/2 months). They've been with me know 3 months and are my two sweet little guys. They are brothers and adore each other.

Having never owned a pet, this was a huge life commitment for me but when they're lying next to me on the couch it's like a love-fest and then I know I did the right thing.

You're a great person for what you do, never forget that! Debbie

by: Linda

Hi. Thank you for your kind words and advice. These 2 girls have been with me for 10 years, every single day. I love them dearly. They are both 12 years old. They were strictly outside, had been feral for 2 years from birth I'm told and had lived in my yard before I'd even moved in, born under the shed. The sister who is still alive and well had many many litters before I could trap her. I had to have a drop trap made as she resisted the Hav-A-Hart. She had her litters in my yard and at 4 weeks I would catch the kittens, bring them to a vet and socialize them in my sons old room which from then on became known as the kitten room. I screened potential owners for these kittens thoroughly and turned many away until I found just the right person. Over the years I kept 5. They are all inside and are the best cats I have ever owned. They average 3 years old.I have 2 sets of brothers that I didn't want to split up and 1 female Lucy who is her mother's daughter and I could not catch her til she was nearly 6 months old. Then one cold winter night she walked into my house when I asked her to please come in where it is warm. I can only pet her when she's lying in bed with me. Otherwise she will never let me touch her. But boy is she affectionate if we're both lying in bed. They all get along wonderfully and I feel so blessed to have these amazing souls in my life. People always comment on the number of cats I have and I inevitably get the eye roll or some comment like "that must be a lot of work" or that's crazy, but I could care less. I feel honored to take care of them and my house is nice, clean and cozy and bursting with love. They have given far more than I have given them. Now we have had to say goodbye to Auntie Black Cat. We buried her yesterday and had a little candle lighting quiet moment as the sun was getting ready to go down. I will miss her so much. All of these cats have taught me so much. They have given me so many gifts that I am grateful for every day. I only wish I could have done more. I hope she didn't suffer too much. I couldn't really get to her where she was. The crawl space is only a foot and half high. You can only crawl around on your stomach. At least I know she was warm, and she had a pretty long life considering she was strictly a feral kitty since birth. My boyfriend said I should think about how much better her life was because of me. I guess that true, but it's so hard to say goodbye. Thank you for your kinds words, it helps.
Sincerely, Linda

by: Becky

I too care for ferals. You did wonderful for these guys. The average life span for a feral is like 5 years. It often amazes me that these poor kitties never come to trust us. I have been feeding a couple of ferals out my back door. Always worried about them. I alos have a sanctuary with 14 saved (11 friendly and 3 feral) Some let you touch them and ohter never come around. Your kitties are lucky to have found you and have to take care of them! Thanks for caring!

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