Feral Cat Fridays: And Now There Is Only One

Starsky died Wednesday night. I mentioned Starsky last week as one of the last 2 remaining feral colony cats after Dark Darryl died. I was planning to cover her in detail soon and I’ll do that next week. For now, I’m just going to wish her good passage.

A young Starsky relaxing on a nice day

She was one of a litter of 4 we referred to as the crime fighters: Batman, Robin, Starsky and Hutch. She lived a long time for a feral cat, a few months shy of 12 years, probably because she was a homebody who gradually became less feral and fearful. She liked to tour the property with Loretta and we could pet her gently during the last years of her life, but picking her up would have been a fool’s errand.

We could see her declining for the last few months and catered to her tastes so she would eat, even if she was feeling peckish and picky. She loved the special food and was probably wondering why we’d been holding out on her for all those years. Her health and energy improved, but Thursday morning I came out to feed her breakfast and found her lying peacefully on the deck. She had obviously died hours ago.

Getting our feral population down to 1 cat seems like good news. After all, humanely controlling and reducing the number of feral cats was the goal of our TNR program. But I still feel sadness at Starsky’s loss.

Don’t want to waste any energy here.

Yes, she was just a feral cat who became a little less feral over time. I’ll probably joke a little with some of my golf buddies about having one less mouth to feed and finally approaching the end of this long cat saga of ours. There’ll be some truth in what I say. But …

Starsky and I greeted the dawn together every day for nearly 12 years. By the end of her life she wanted to eat and purr while I stood over her. If she didn’t get her envelope of chicken and tuna stew with her Sheba at breakfast, she’d give me the evil eye and a raspy “meow.” She was my friend, and I’ll miss her. Farewell and rest in peace, Starsky.

The forerunner of “Where’s my stew?”

2 thoughts on “Feral Cat Fridays: And Now There Is Only One

  1. shoreacres

    “Just a feral cat” is one of those phrases that’s both true and not true at the same time: a sort of Schrödinger’s statement about cats, if you will. It must have been a shock to find her gone so suddenly, despite her previous decline. I’m always surprised how any cat’s death brings back my Dixie Rose, too. Anyone who doubts how deeply they insinuate themselves into our lives probably never has had a cat.

    Which of the colony cats remains, now? I looked at some other posts to try and figure it out, but you make them all seem so alive, I kept thinking I was reading about one still on the prowl, only to discover it’s present now only in spirit. I confess I thought a bit about the surviving cat. Was it friends with Starsky, or at least companionable? I wonder if it will be lonely, or miss her.

    You may be approaching the end of your cat saga, but on the other hand… Who knows what’s going to come wandering out of the woods? They say nature abhors a vacuum.

    1. Charles Prokop Post author

      I’m always surprised by how much I feel the loss of the cats in the colony even though population control was and is the goal of what we are doing. You get to know and like the more social cats and they become your friends.

      The remaining cat is MiniMo. I haven’t featured her in a story as yet but will probably do it soon, given the circumstances. She is the same age as Starsky, born in the final flurry of litters as we were beginning to get some control of the population explosion. When the colony got down to just MiniMo and Starsky they became good friends and frequently curled up together and groomed one another. We are concerned about MiniMo feeling lonely and are doing what we reasonably can, but MiniMo has retained more feral qualities than Starsky so we’re limited in what we can do. She is talking to us as we walk by more than usual and paying more attention to us, though.

      Our long cat saga has been both frustrating and rewarding, not to mention expensive at times. The reward outweighed the pain, though. On the other hand, we’re looking forward to not needing to deal with a yard full of cats and hope more don’t emerge from the woods. If they do, we know the system now and will move quickly to spay or neuter. Our 3 indoor cats are enough for us.

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