As much as I can tell, there is one black cat left to be spayed at the Tipsy colony. There are a couple of cats that make their way over to the Hostess bakery thrift shop a couple buildings down, but I have a hunch that they are all from this Tipsy colony. I have spoken to a woman who sets some food out over there for them - she says she has seen one black and white cat with a tipped ear, one black cat with a tipped ear, and one tabby young adult. I believe that the tabby is spayed as well (there is only one tabby in this colony, who very well happens to be around 6-8 months old...), but I will go over to make sure.
I was going to try to trap the last black cat on Tuesday, but some unknown person had already laid out a *lot* of food. The cats had no interest in me with their stomachs already full.
But I couldn't leave. Because one of the black and white cats was dead in the middle of the road. Animals killed by vehicles generally activate a grief response, no matter how many dead animals I pass by. But this cat was from this colony that I have been trying so long to finish TNRing. This cat was in my car at some point. Was spayed or neutered at our hospital. Is probably somewhere in my pictures.
Making that connection with a dead animal in the middle of a busy road just immobilized me. I think I sat in my car staring at the body for a half hour, not able to turn the car on or decide what I should do. I remember thinking to myself, "you need to put the keys back in and leave." But I couldn't move my arm to pick up the keys.
My dad ended up texting me, to see if I was coming over, which basically snapped me out of my inability to move. I drove back to the hospital to get a cadaver bag and some gloves so I could remove the cat from the road. But when I came back, the cat was gone. Someone else must have picked him/her up.
I was wondering, why do we not want to leave the bodies of people we loved or animals we cared about? Why does it feel like abandonment? Or maybe we simply don't want to accept the reality of the death?
I'm always afraid that when grief overwhelms me like that, I won't be able to find my way back to happiness.
But I'm a lot stronger than I used to be. Not that these things hurt any less. I'm just stronger.
And that helps.
I don't know if I will ever know exactly which cat it was in the road. But I do know that it was a horrible death. And I am one cat away from making sure no more babies are born to this colony in this particularly dangerous area for feral cats. Busy roads, little shelter, teenage boys, unwelcoming business owners... This is no safe place for such a large colony. I'm glad that the baby makers are almost all out of business here.