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I don't know if anyone will still read this. It is quite long.. but I can only wish someone would try to help me. I'm grief stricken with guilt over a stray outdoor cat. He was recently euthanized in a shelter a week ago. I've been caring for him the last year and a half. He was left by his feral mom when he was little in our property.

Since we already had 2 cats indoor, my hubby didn't want anymore addition so I just fed him from our deck. There he stays and after eating would just lie down on the chair next to our sliding door. At night he comes back to sleep on the same chair. Our cats know him and he's been friendly towards them. They even sleep next to each other by the glass door. Eventually, I am able to pet him and he kneads and purrs a lot too. I named him Tabby. He sometimes wanted to come in but because he hasn't been fixed and vaccinated, I couldn't let him in yet. 

I did try to capture him in the hopes that someone else can adopt him but he's smart and when he sense it, he would just run away. I did call the animal shelter if they can put him up for adoption but told me they were full.  I still planned to catch him whatever it takes because it had been very cold outside.

A couple of months ago, he didn't come at all. I blame it on another male territorial feral who's been chasing him away.  I still wait for him every night in case he did come back. I somehow felt he would starve because he doesn't seem to know how to catch anything and he's used to being fed by me.
 I was wishing that maybe someone had adopted him.

A week ago, I saw him again, walking slowly and being cautious towards our door. As soon as he saw me, he came straight away, and was wagging his tail! But I was shocked to see him limping and what seems to be a broken hind leg. He had a wound and seemed swollen. I immediately petted him, he purred again and then I gave him food. He ate a lot and seemed to be very hungry.

Again, I wanted to catch him and get some help. I observed him for a couple of days and made some call to the animal shelter. They have been assisting me with the TNR of a cat colony i'm taking care of. Maybe they can also help me with him.

He was able to walk still but not using one of his hind leg anymore. He was still able to jump up our deck to eat. Then come down again to go relieve himself, then inside the cat box I made for them for winter and harsh weather. He would just stay in there until the next feeding time or when he needed to go. The animal shelter agreed to take him in since he's injured but informed me that if he was deemed un-adoptable, that there is a greater chance he would be put to sleep. I thought if they get to know him and give him a chance, he should be ok since I can pet him and he still purrs despite his injury.

On the third day, I was able to coax him in the cat trap. It didn’t have to be triggered, I just slowly moved his cat food further inside and he went in on his own while nibbling. He wasn’t agitated but was meowing wondering why he’s in there after I closed the latch. I placed a cloth over it so he’d be calm. This is where I noticed more of his injury, and it looked like a puncture wound. The person from the shelter came and took him away. Since there is a COVID-19 restriction, I am not able to see him after that. He did say that their vet will be able to look at him in a couple of days. I was worried for him though because his injury may get worse from the transportation to the shelter.

I was told that he was very shaken upon arriving and he didn’t let anyone touch him. The next day though he was calm and was inside his box.

The following day that he went to the vet, I got a voicemail saying that he has a dislocated hip, broken leg (not even sure if this was just from observation or x-ray as the rep who took him said they may not do an x-ray on him but just observe) and that he would be needing massive dose of antibiotics. Also a leg amputation which mean he will not be allowed to go back outside. He will need to be quarantined as he had a bite of unknown origin. They're guessing a bigger animal that bit his leg and dragged him around. They asked if I wanted him back but that it is going to be a rather expensive vet bills. And that he will have to be indoors all the time. Their vet recommended he’d be humanely euthanized because they deemed him un-adoptable as they can’t handle him. I’m sure he was so scared of this unfamiliar territory and new people. I wished they have given him a bit more time to get accustomed to them.

He was already sedated when they called and wanted to know what our decision were soon. If we agree to have him euthanized instead, they will not wake him up anymore and go on with it straight up. I don't know if they even did any x-rays of him. As far as I was told, they would just do some observation. I was desperate and confused, I don’t really know what to do.. so I had my husband speak to them instead. I couldn’t bear the thought of him being put down so I had him call. He asked if he was to go on surgery and live, will he still have a good quality life? They said since he’s an outdoor cat, he may not like to be indoors and also because of his condition, the infection seemed to spread to some other parts of his body. And from how bad it sounded, and a rushed decision, we’ve reluctantly agreed to euthanasia. They said we did the right thing, but i'm still second guessing.

I cried for the next few days. And felt so guilty and depressed. He came back knowing I’m his shelter, that he’s safe with me. Knowing I will be there for him and take care of him. That I’m his refuge. He jumped up the deck even though it was hard for him. He can take it. He was a survivor and a will to live. He was always happy to see me…

I should’ve been the one who gave him the chance.. I should’ve given him a few more days for him to get accustomed to the new environment. He would’ve loved to be indoors, as he always came inside a few inches from the door. I would know.. He was still ok, it would’ve been better for him.

I felt that when he was at the vet shelter, he wanted to escape because it was an unknown territory, another traumatic event for him. That's why he wasn’t calm with other people. I wonder if he struggled too much and so they deemed him un-adoptable.

It’s hard for me because my husband was not 100% on board initially. He thinks I’m humanizing the cat too much. And he doesn’t feel I should take care of him because we already have two cats. I didn’t fight for him and I regret it so much. My husband did regret it later on but was too late.

I wish Tabby could forgive me. I know I can’t turn back time anymore.. This feeling really sucks. I’m in so much grief.

I wish I had more resources and took the time to get more informed of his situation. I browsed online and found that there were similar incidents as him, if not worse, and they turned out ok after being taken care of. And there would be other shelters that would take in injured cats.

I’m regretting that I should have fought for extra testing to make sure I was doing the right thing. I feel so rushed and so confused. I really didn’t want him euthanized, I just wanted to get help for him. We should’ve just taken him back. He trusted me. We had a bond..

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I can so relate to what you're saying because years ago I befriended a stray cat that I dubbed Peek-a-boo because he always peeked at me from around the outside of the house.  We tried letting him in one time and he literally went crazy, climbing the walls!  So that didn't work.  He had badly infected eyes that had set into his system so had to be put down...this after a year of me feeding him on my patio.  It was hard.  We gave him a burial, but I, too, felt really bad for him.

I do believe in afterlife for animals so that helps some, knowing their next life will be better than this one was.  You did the kindest thing you could under the circumstances so his turning to you was not misplaced, but we just FEEL we should have been able to do more, we wish for all animals to have a great wonderful life, and since you knew him and fed him, you identified as his cat mom.  My heart goes out to you, I know what you are feeling, it's very hard.  I just hope you'll be kind and forgiving of yourself.  




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  • 5 months later...

I made an account to respond with my story after your story brought me some relief in recent days. I was put in a similar position and have been an absolute wreck since.

About a month ago I moved into a rental house with my bf and a few roommates. A few days into being here, we saw a black cat with a missing tail that was bleeding on the street. Back at home, my family has two black cats that I love more than anything. I chased her down the street shaking a bag of food I had from my cats' stay at my place. She was super skittish and ran away, but from that point forward I was determined to find her. I saw qualities of my cats in her and wanted to help her.


She came by our porch a few times, I started leaving out food and watching our cameras to keep track of when she came by. Over the course of the month, we slowly built a routine of her coming by at dawn and dusk. Her tail wasn't improving and started to look infected. After calling rescue groups in my area, COVID restrictions only left me with Animal Control as an option (which I was extremely reluctant about). I called a few days ago to borrow a live trap so I could get her the medical attention she needed without freaking her out.


The first two nights with the trap, I left it open so it couldn't trigger. I wrapped it in a warm blanket and put some newspaper at the bottom to make it a bit more comfortable with a nice can of food inside. She came by, would sleep in the trap for a while. One night, she jumped on top and cleaned herself and seemed so at peace with her little crate and blanket. She trusted the crate was for her to stay in and enjoyed the time before wandering about the neighborhood.


Two nights ago, I set up the trap to go off. By 8pm, we had her. I was so excited, I called my dad and we discussed options. We have a limit on pets back at home and the new place had a strict no pet policy my roommates weren't willing to risk. As a college student, it was probably better I didn't get a cat quite yet, especially with the vet bills she would require. 

Anyway, she was freaked out for about 20 seconds before she calmed down. She just kind of sat there and looked at me with her big, round pumpkin eyes. It's like she knew we were trying to help her.

I dropped everything I was doing and drove her 30 minutes to the intake section of the county animal control. It was dark, loud, and probably her first time in a car. Yet, she didn't freak out at all. She laid down, ate some food, and rubbed the cage a little bit.


When I got there, the lady at the office seemed very annoyed to start. She had me wait outside with her for a moment. I'm so thankful she did. I just sat there and looked at the small cat. She was so gorgeous, but I could tell the remains of her tail was still raw and she was bleeding. The lady reluctantly opened the door and took her straight back with no questions. I watched as she brought her to the back and lobbed her in a cage. She gave me the blanket and trap back to return. I filled out some paperwork and asked how I could get updates. She said that they don't have a number for her, but I could try calling the adoption side tomorrow once she is processed. I told them if they think they will need to euthanize her because she isn't worth the investment based on adoptability or amount of care, to give me a call. She just said "we don't do that here, hun". 


As I left, I could feel something was off. All I could think about on the ride home was the look in her pumpkin eyes as they brought her back. I told my boyfriend before we caught her that I was worried I was prematurely bringing her to her death. And at that moment, I was starting to feel that was true. 


The next morning, I called hoping to get an update. I set an alarm for when they opened, so I could know as soon as possible the status of her injuries. They kept insisting that a black cat with no tail didn't exist in their treatment center. I kept pushing and asking, letting them know that I had just brought her in last night and that it's not possible that she isn't there. It took them over 30 minutes to find my form. It took 2 seconds for them to tell me that they euthanized her based on her injuries and hang up.


That was yesterday. I cried. I am still crying. Sobbing actually. I really had hope that they could do something for her. I wonder what I could have done differently. She was happy and fed on the porch with her blanket. She could have been brought to an emergency vet. I could have given her a night of warmth and care in the house before taking her. I could have fed her better food or at least some fresh water. Maybe she could have lived happily despite her injuries outside, breathing the fresh air and chasing the bugs. Maybe she had little stray cat friends that she saw regularly. Maybe someone else was also trying to catch her to keep. I took her too soon. I should have know better.


I wonder, did they even try? Was she scared? Was she alone? Did they give her one more meal? 


The blanket from the crate is still sitting in my car. I can't even think to wash it right now knowing she rubbed all over it and slept joyfully on it.


It feels ridiculous to care so much for a stray cat I didn't even know for a month, but I am honestly devastated and feel so much guilt. I know it will go away, but I really do wish things were different. 


I am going to drive home this weekend to kiss my cats on the head and hold them. I will be donating to a black cat rescue in her honor. I'm sorry I failed you, friend. I hope you are safe and happy over the rainbow bridge.


Anyway, thank you for sharing your story. It really did make this all a bit easier to process. I hope things have gotten better since.


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I am so so sorry that you were lied to, mislead, and that they euthanized the cat.  They could have bobbed her tail and given her antibiotics, they should have tried!!  And they should have called you before doing anything.  It's horrible.  

I have a cat that comes to my mind too...it was extremely ferral and would not come to people.  Hungry and smelling bad.  I nicknamed him Peekaboo because he'd peek around the corner of my house at me.  I left food and water out for him, this went on for a year.  Someone let him in my house once, that was a mistake!  We found out just how wild he was, he was literally bouncing off the walls, frantic for escape!  Scary!  Got him back outside and he ran off.  One day my son got him and said his eyes were gangrenous, that's why he'd been stinking.  He "took care of him" putting him out of his misery instantly and we gave him a proper burial.  I think in order to have saved him we'd have had to have found him years before.  I always felt bad about him, I'd grown to love and care about him in our passing moments and my heart broke because he never got a chance.  I wish so much he could have had a different ending.

Your little cat doesn't sound like she was in this shape.  She had a medical problem that needed attention.  Unless infection has spread throughout the body to where it's past the point of no return, there would have been some hope...perhaps they did examine her and determined that to be the case.  One never knows.

My heart goes out to you, you are a kind and caring person, and it's a great idea, donating to a cat rescue in her honor.  It helps to know that her next life will go much better and she is no longer suffering.

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