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She Stole My Heart... The Life Story about One Feral Cat

Updated on March 31, 2017

A Tough Life...

Sam or Patches depending on who you talk to, came into my life when I discovered feral kittens that needed a home. Because I was new at taming them: I had no opportunity to rescue any of them and they slowly disappeared.

An interesting note: the ferals in my neighborhood have no tails or just short stumps of a tail. They are descended from the American Bobtail somewhere in their ancestry....a breed of North American cat born without a tail! I can only hope, someone else found homes for those little kittens.

Connie, was the first feral kitten who became interested in me after that, along with three adult ferals...mainly because I was putting out food for them. I managed to tame Connie enough (that is her on the right) to bring her in for the winter and I had her fixed. I was unable to keep her though, because she was not used to being inside and had to give her to the shelter where she could have a chance with a family that could allow her to be outside.

The other feral in the picture is a magnificent feral that could have been a show cat. Glossy black fur and just a beautiful cat. He was only around for two seasons and never allowed a human close. Finally, he just wasn't around any more and most likely succumbed to an injury or accident... but for awhile he was part of a foursome, Princess, Sam, Connie and him (who was never named)

This story isn't about Connie or the others; it is about Sam, who we laid to rest today after having to have her put down because she came down with a paralysis of her hind quarters caused by a disease cats acquire. Don't ask me the name, I only know there was a painful and lengthy treatment that might of helped, but that was not possible or feasible since Sam is a feral used to living outside.

Sam in her  prime (middle) with the cats in the hood
Sam in her prime (middle) with the cats in the hood | Source

Sam was shy and gentle

Sam would allow us to pet her once in awhile. She was generally wary of people but she always greeted me as I came home from work and had developed an awful habit of laying down in front of cars because she associated the car with the people inside...there is many the time I had to stop the car and chase her away so I could drive into the driveway.

It is amazing that she did not end up being killed that way.

Her peer, Princess could get pretty nasty and sometimes quite nasty at Sam, but sooner or later they would be rubbing against each other; so it was apparent they were friends. Oddly, Sam never had a litter and the disease may explain why she didn't.

Last winter, both ferals spent time in my laundry room when they came down with a bug that seemed like it might take them. First, was Princess and later Sam. Luckily, they both recovered.

Sam just came and sat on my steps and looked miserable and let me go up to her. I showed her the laundry room and she settled there for a week on cushions using a litter box while I poured over the net for advice for cats with flu and managed to get her back on food and back to health. It is apparent, the cats had decided help was available at this house.

Meanwhile, the cats resumed their outside activities and life went back to normal. I had always thought to adopt these felines, but my experience with Connie made me realize that was a bigger job than I could handle.

I have had success with a kitten that I handled almost from the start. Born to Princess, who is a is the other feral cat that trusts me and my neighbors enough to let us touch her kittens. It took a long time to happen...we lost a few litters that were too wild to catch. We have had success getting homes for the others and along the way I lost my heart to one of the furballs that stayed too long with me! I usually nurture the mother and kittens and my neighbors find them homes. It is a joint project.

I haven't regretted it.


She wasn't even My Cat!

Sam wasn't always around; sometimes she would be absent for a few days and I would beging to wonder if something had happened to her. Then she would re-appear and I would happily dish her out some treats.

Besides her illness, she was damaged in cat fights. Twice she had chunks of skin torn off. She healed anyway and resumed life. One day, she was missing part of her ear. Half of it cleanly shorn off. Perhaps a near miss with a warm engine under the hood of a car. She had an eye infection. All of those she survived and still managed to pull off being the most mild mannered and gentle feral. I often wondered if she had been an abandoned pet.

Sam, she stole our hearts
Sam, she stole our hearts | Source

She belonged to no one, but she belonged in our hearts

It is funny how an animal, even a wild one will ask for assistance if it has begun to trust a human. Sam came to me when she was ill before.

Last Friday, I came home to see her sitting with her back legs splayed in an abnormal way front of my door. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure she had a serious problem. She was asking for help... once again.

This time, I knew there was to be no internet fix. I called my neighbor and asked her to come and take a look because I was panicked and ready to take her to the vet and have her put to sleep immediately. She had lost the control of her bowels and it appeared she may have been hit by a car and badly damaged.

I am squeamish and couldn't pick up the cat, but she did and the cat didn't protest. Sam hung limpy in her lap; her hind legs were ice cold in this November weather. She was purring!

The neighbor convinced me to wait overnight since Sam did not appear to be in huge discomfort. The paralysis may have even blocked the pain. She was moved into my hallway in an open carrier with bedding and the morning was the time to re-convene and determine the course of action.

Morning came and of course the cat was the same if not worse, My neighbor and her partner wanted to take Sam to the vet and off they went. They were going to put her to sleep. That was the mutual decision and being great cat lovers, they wanted to be there. I bid Sam a quiet farewell. Sad to lose a little friend. I tried not to cry.

However, they did have her looked over to be sure that there was no mistake and she see if she might recover; that is how we found out she did not have a fall or an accident. It was a relief to know she did not suffer too long. I had seen her Friday morning on all her feet before I left for work.

So today, there was a short memorial in the back yard. A memorial tree is to be planted. Three grown women sobbing for a little wild feral cat that had given us joy and affection. She lived a short and tough life, (perhaps six years), but I like to think, we made it more bearable with our care and we felt honored that she entrusted us to take care of her. While we would have liked her to live on, at least we were able to keep her from slowly starving to death in some dark alleyway because she trusted us to at least find a peaceful death....missed by her family and friends.

Please spay/neuter your cats!


Submit a Comment
  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Thanks masonjoe, Sam is buried, so it doesn't help me, but it could help someone else.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    It is so hard to move forward after losing a pet. I know that when my cat died I chose pet cremation jewelry to hold a small amount of cremated ashes in her memory. Might help.

  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Hi Storyteller, Yes, it is hard to let them be outside since they can come to so much harm. Once they get the taste of the outdoors it is practically impossible to deny them that.

    That was the problem with these cats, I couldn't afford to bring them all to the vets had they been injured...way too expensive, so they got the love and care I could least they didn't starve and Sam never did have any litters which are quite demanding on an outside cat. That fact kept her reasonably well nourished.

    Sorry for the loss of your dear cats! Thanks for commenting!

  • Storytellersrus profile image


    8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

    Scribenet, what a sweet, sweet story. I have had lots of indoor/outdoor cats and though I would have liked them to stay inside, I had to admit they loved hunting and exploring. I guess once they get a taste of roaming free, they are unhappy, stuck inside. They all came home to eat, and to get loving from my kids. Except... when they didn't. It was always heartbreaking to imagine them becoming fox or particularly owl food. Our orange cat Joey has survived eight years and is more affectionate than ever, now that we have a new puppy! They are amazing creatures. I am so glad I adopted the first kitty- I can't imagine life without a cat, now.

    Big hug. I still miss Lorelei and my kids miss Michiko, though they disappeared years ago.

  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Thank you Alicia for your kind comments!

    It is tough to see these little cats completely on their own and unloved. This neighborhood has a few more quite wild and mangy, mostly invisible ferals. What is sad, there are many "pet" male cats that are loose helping the feral population grow!

    It is so important to spay/neuter pets!

    Thank you for stopping by!

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    This is such a touching story - sad and beautiful at the same time. Feral cats have such a hard life. Your final message is so important - we need to spay or neuter our pets.

  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Nettraveller...I am so sorry for your loss as well. It is so sad to lose a pet and one you have had for 16 years! You are so right about it being an honor to have them in our lives...

    Each pet I have had has left an indelible memory in my heart. Sam, though not my pet, still managed to do that as well!

  • nettraveller profile image


    8 years ago from USA

    I feel for you. I lost one of my own cats two months ago (exactly one month before yours died). He was seventeen and had been ailing for a while. He had a seizure and became paralyzed overnight, and had many more seizures the next night before he died. Now his brother is all alone. As horrible as the experience was to see him having these uncontrollable contractions, and to have him put down, it was an honor and a delight to have had him for 16 years (he was almost a year old when I got him).

    Sam was very lucky to have had a human friend like you. What's left in the end are the great memories of the years you had each other.

  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Minnetonka Twin, Thank you much for your kind comments. I hope Sam is in heaven with a cushy beds and delicious food!

    If people would not abandon their cats and fixed the ones they have, then such pretty little cats wouldn't have to live out their lives homeless and unloved. At least, Sam had love and affection and she appreciated it so much!

    Thank you for commenting. Cheers!

  • Minnetonka Twin profile image

    Linda Rogers 

    8 years ago from Minnesota

    This love story got me very choked up. It's amazing how animals can turn us into mush. God bless you for taking such good care of Sam. She was such a beautiful cat. I have two dogs and can't imagine life without them. They bring such joy and love to our home. I hope Sam is in heaven and living it up. God Bless:)

  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Daydreamer...Thank you so much! I just wanted to commemorate this little life that touched upon mine!

  • daydreamer13 profile image


    8 years ago


  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    I thank you prairieprincess for your kind comments. Sam was special and will be missed. Those little critters have a way of stealing your heart. They ask for so little and give so much in their appreciation and presence.

    Thank you for stopping by and making a comment!

  • prairieprincess profile image

    Sharilee Swaity 

    8 years ago from Canada

    Scribenet, this is beautiful and it sounds like Sam was a very nice little cat (and gorgeous, too, I might add.) As you talked about Sam, I fell in love with him right along with you. Well-written ... this is going in my "moving pieces" bookmarked section.

  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Lucky Cats. It is heartwarming to know there are so many people that do take care to give these stragglers some comfort. In these harsh climates it is difficult for them to survive and most do not find homes, ever. Bless you for loving the little abandoned critters!

    Thank you for stopping by!

  • Lucky Cats profile image


    8 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

    So very sorry for your loss. You loved that little soul and gave her comfort and a place to rest. Bless you for helping her and the other feral cats. These are special cratures and, too often, just 'thrown away,' discarded, abandoned. So sad. I know how you feel, Scribenet. I do the same thing - saving cats, and it is very very difficult at times. I am, and I am sure the kitties are, thankful for your caring and good heart.

  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Thank you oceansunsets for your kind comments. Sam was luckier than most, so many come and go and we know they have met an unkind end because they are not tame.After a season they are never seen again...just like that beautiful black male cat. Others look a lot worse. These cats were beautiful.

  • oceansnsunsets profile image


    8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

    Scribenet, this was very touching to read. Sam was so lucky to belong to you, if just in your hearts. I think the way you cared for Sam was wonderful, and thanks for sharing the story and pictures. Very beautiful.

  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Thanks Thoughtforce, they are amazing. Sam was always in the background and sort of shy, but she made me smile by rolling on the ground in front of me when I came home... her way of showing she trusted me. Some of that was gratitude for her food, but I like to think it was more than that.It was nice to have made a difference in one little "wild" life.

  • thougtforce profile image

    Christina Lornemark 

    8 years ago from Sweden

    Lovely hub! I so admire people who take care of wild cats and give them a home to come to. It is so sad for those pets who must live wild. And it is a shame that some people simple gets tired of their cat and leave them to cope for them selves, which they can´t! I have to cats now and I have had their ancestors in three generations. they are so precious to me. It is like losing a good friend when a cats life is ended! They are so special and have their own personality. Beautiful pictures! You did the best you could for Sam! Voted Up!

  • Scribenet profile imageAUTHOR

    Maggie Griess 

    8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Yes, this Hub was written in the moment and from the heart. Sam enjoyed love and affection and she is one of the lucky ones even though she did not have an indoor home.

    There are many others out there having kittens that just never make it or else mature to increase the feral population even more, repeating a cycle of misery. Most of these cats require a lot of effort to tame...yet they will respond to a trusted person.

    Spaying and neutering our pets is one way to assure they are not contributing to the feral population. There are enough pets to go around already!

    I am glad you liked the Hub and the pictures. She was a special,pretty cat...sort of exotic with those eyes!

    I will miss not being greeted by her as I go about my routines!

    Thank you for stopping by!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    8 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Oh this is so heartwarming and sad at the same time. We had a feral cat for many years...wrote a hub about her...a Black Cat story for Halloween and the entire year. We could never even pet her because of what had been done to her! You are kind-hearted. Like you we are BIG believers in having animals spayed and neutered! Your pictures are beautiful which gets that rating from me for many reasons.


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