Yesterday I celebrated my birthday and it was a wonderful day thanks to my amazing partner, many animal companions, loving family and awesome friends. However if I am to be honest there was still a small ache that loomed over my day. You see this marked the 2nd year that my special kitty companion TC would not celebrate his birthday along side of me. We loss TC on February 1, 2012 he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and there were issues with his kidneys and liver as well. TC was only 8 years old.
I adopted TC from an amazing No Kill animal rescue in Lunenburg, MA called the Pat Brody Shelter for Cats. He had been rescued first by an awesome group in MA called Habitat for Cats. You see he was a 6 month old feral kitten from New Bedford, MA who was lucky enough to find some amazing people who were willing to help him. He went from them to the PBS to be socialized and cleaned up.
I initially went to the shelter to meet a Russian Blue kitty named Patrick. I wanted to see if he might be a fit for my female animal cat companion, Basil who really was not to keen on other cats. Patrick was wonderful (and later adopted just not by me) then this amazing woman named Priscilla, who runs that shelter saw me and brought me to a back room where she said she thought I might meet a kitty that fit my needs. As I was sitting on the floor explaining the kind of cat I was looking for an orange tiger boy crawled into my arms and nuzzled in, nibbling a little on me here and there. He chose me! I was honored. Priscilla had introduced me to my amazing TC (at that time named Trevor). TC is not named after Top Cat the cartoon, although I did love that; he is named TC for Trevor Cat. He walked himself into my carrier and road home in the front seat with his paw throw the cage and I held it in my hand as the sunshine hit his face against the cage.
Believe me TC was a handful, that feral kitty personality was there from day one. He was full of it, and I mean full of it; and I loved him with all my heart. I even had to go to the ER the day after I got him for a bite on my arm that was a bit deep because he had got so overstimulated when we were playing, not his fault more mine for not realizing how rough he could play. I did not care, we were soulmates TC and I. He was fun, silly, tough, resilient, warm, loving, and kind. It had been determined that he was born in October so of course I made it the same birthday as mine on October 8th. He was my handsome fella and I adored him with every ounce of my being.
I would later become a dedicated volunteer there for years and would also bring my students there to volunteer on a monthly basis. I continue to remain a support to this day and always will. I will forever be grateful for Priscilla, PBS and Habitat for Cats for rescuing TC from that feral colony, cleaning him up, providing medical care and believing in him. They brought this amazing cat into bringing my life and into my heart and I will always remember that.
TC was one of a kind and animal lovers understand this, he was my dance partner, snuggle bug, creative muse for Power to the Paw art work, he was my behavioral challenge, support, and right hand man. I will miss him everyday until we meet again.
I was telling a friend after he passed away how I felt a piece of me had died with him. I wanted to share with you all what she wrote me in response to this later in an email.
“you did lose a piece of you, he took a little piece of your heart and spirit with him to always be able to find you when you can be together again someday and he’s going somewhere new so he’ll need that little bit of security of having you with him to make it easier for him.”
I liked that response and the idea that TC was safe, pain free and watching over me and had a little part of me with him. I share this story with you in honor of National Feral Cat Day on October 16, 2013 and those people dedicated to helping these amazing cats and kittens. Please I ask that you support the TNR efforts of these amazing groups at your local level and larger groups like Alley Cat Allies which is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. TC was able to be in my life because of the efforts of rescue people who care for, trap, spay/neuter, feed, house, do vetting, socialization, and adoption.
I have supported many feral groups including Alley Cat Allies for many years now. I have also done TNR, worked as a volunteer in S/N clinics for feral cats, been a feral cat feeder, taught humane education to children regarding ferals cats and had them help manage a colony, build feral shelters and do educational projects on the topic. I myself have a small feral/community cat area on my own property still today which has dwindled in number over the years but they have feral houses, a heated shed, heated water bowls, food, safety and lots of love. Look into how you can help community cats. Support these groups. Adopt a semi feral or a kitten from a colony. Become a feral cat feeder. Most importantly be a feral cat advocate. I knowTC will be grateful and smiling down on you.