This post was going to be about my hero girl Gracie, but today I have to give this space to an unknown boy named Elvis.
Elvis is one among six kittens that appeared last winter at the dumpster where I daily feed the strays. Maybe you remember the stories of me rescuing two of them last December. Two of them (not related) suffered serious flu's and I knew I had to take them for them to survive. Every since it became an internal battle for me every day I went to feed the strays. I could see that the weather was taking its toll on the young ones and I can honestly say that I wanted to rescue them all. But space and the safety of the other cats has always been an issue so I have had to proceed with precaution (remember there is no cat shelter on this island). This meant that I had to make the decision to treat two of the other kittens on site at the dumpster - trying to help them through health problems. Eventually I lost them both. Later during the summertime the fifth suddenly disappeared... never to be found again.
Elvis though seemed strong. Below he is pictured with Felix (one of the cats I did rescue). At first I thought he was a girl - he looked so pretty. So I named "him" Precious. When I realized she was a he I turned to DH and asked; What shall we name him then?... something that sounds like Precious. A little amused with himself he blurted; "Presley!" Well, with a pretty little face like that I thought Presley sounded too severe so I suggested Elvis - and Elvis it was.
By the time all the other kittens had perished (by June this year) I began to feel very protective of Elvis. He was like an extended family member - I could never wait to go feed him every day. He was always strong and seemed to enjoy his free roaming life. Inside though I always felt I wanted to rescue Elvis. I somehow felt he already was a member of the family. But there was always that eternal consideration of space - and having squeezed in a few more needy ones this year.
But about 10 days ago Elvis appeared with a huge paw and he was limping. We've just had a similar case back at base that were treated with antibiotics. The symptoms were the exact same (two or three days limping and then the swelling). In consultation with the vet I decided to give him antibiotics as well and was hoping for the same positive effect as at base. The vet thought it might be a bad bite wound. It kind of made sense as Elvis suddenly appeared scared when he appeared for meals. With big male cats around (those kept by people) I think he'd reached an age where he was suddenly a threat in the territory.
Saturday night was the last time I saw Elvis. He hurriedly had the meal I'd especially prepared for him with the antibiotics. Then he set off down the road - turned around and gave me a last look and off he went. I have no idea what have happened but I don't think I will ever see Elvis again. He has always been on time for his meals this last year. On a few rare occasions he's missed one meal but then always returned for the next. I'd love to think that maybe he's gone on heat and has searched for a different territory but what unnerves me is that one of the regular adult females (spayed!) went missing at the exact same time. Two other of these particular dumpster cats went missing during the summer never to be seen or found again. We live in a rural area and there's a chance someone might have left out some rat poison. Whatever happened I have prayed and prayed that I would find him... I would just love the peace of mind. You know just like if a family member had gone missing. I've tried it many times by now but it's not easy overcoming the eternal "what ifs" and "if only I'd..."
I have searched and searched for him - and then searched some more. I keep a vague hope alive that he will appear again - but something inside tells me he won't. I can't describe the agony I feel at him having gone missing. To my heart he will be so solely missed.
This last image is one I shared last December. There's six cats in this image. Two cats are still alive. They're the ones I rescued.
On a different note, the new batch of fundraising cards have arrived. Please see last post for info. Right now all images are again available.