Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Our Beauty That Liked to Fly Solo Flies Home

Winter is never easy for any cat shelter but it’s particularly hard for those which are providing life-long care for their residents and therefore have many elderly kitties, that seem to be especially vulnerable during the coldest months. In fact, the question
arises whether if any caretakers of many rescued strays out there are fully aware of their kitties’ ages – I know I am not. Time at the shelter goes by way too fast as there is always so much work to do; seasons are changing, years pass almost imperceptibly and I
simply can’t believe that most of the kitties I initially took with me when I left town are now more than 10 years old! When I look at them I can still see the abandoned, starving and sad kittens or youngsters they once were and I find it hard to reconcile myself to
the fact that the years have taken their toll on my kitties and that some of them are rapidly approaching the end of their journey. That’s exactly why I feared this winter before it even began – several of the oldest Felix kitties are well over 15 and it isn't just one of
them that has been fading away for months…

Flekica, one of the most cautious and wariest kitties in the shelter, hardly approachable but stunningly beautiful is sadly no longer with us. She’d been living with me for more
than 15 years, but her distrustful attitude towards people couldn’t be softened until the end. Although she had never expressed any desire to be touched and would never ever come close to a stranger, she used to allow me to pick her up and even cuddle
her while she was in my arms. Her background and early life shaped her, but knowing what she’d been through as a tiny kitten, it’s no wonder she simply wasn’t able to trust anyone.

She was one of four unwanted kittens born to an unwanted
mother who once had a home, but ended up on the street when she got pregnant. All of them lived in a shared neighborhood yard not far from my building, but just two short months later, the mother cat and three of her kittens were brutally killed by a pack of dogs. Flekica
was the only survivor and what saved her was, obviously, her extreme vigilance and distrustfulness. She started her life frightened, alone and on her own, shunning people, jumping at every sound, hiding and fleeing from danger in a flash. At one point, she became
aware of my cats, she learned their feeding schedule and would come around to eat at the same time each day. Nonetheless, she still trusted no one, and used to flinch whenever I made a sudden move. She hasn't changed over the next 15 years…
Although she had a chronic eye problem due to malformation of the tear duct and one of her eyes was constantly tearing, she had never had any serious health issues until last summer, when she began to lose weight and waste away. In autumn, an accident happened
and she somehow injured both of her front legs and her right back leg; she had open, infected abscesses on her paws as if she had gotten stuck somewhere and struggled to free herself. It still remains a mystery as to where it occurred – nothing
similar has ever happened to any other shelter cat, not even the careless and silly youngsters, much less a senior kitty. Nevertheless, her wounds healed nicely, but the bigger problem remained – she continued to fade away even though I was feeding her
separately and she was being given special food. Her appetite was normal but she was just getting thinner and thinner.

Flekica passed away quietly, in her sleep, gorgeous and dignified until the end. She lived a long and
peaceful life the way she wanted, solitary but not in the sense of being alone - she set her boundaries, made her choices and was happy with the life that came out of that choice. Her exhausted, broken down body just couldn’t allow her to carry on; she crossed over
peacefully, traveling across the bridge of light that led her to another world where she is free and young again.

May the angels guide and protect you, my lonely beauty. You’ll never be forgotten.

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