Obscure to the world but alight in my heart

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. 


Madame said…
Du gør et fantastisk arbejde, Joan! Stakkels lille Elvis - historien minder mig om vores Gamle Jas, der for nogle år siden pludselig ikke kom her mere. Han var en vild kat, vi fik lov til lære at kende, og som troligt kom til alle måltider i flere år.
I am so very very sorry to hear this, my heart breaks that you don't have more options.

When things like this get to me, I try to remind myself that because of what I could to, the kitty's life was better. It might not have been longer or more pampered or optimal, but it was better. You did what you could, and he didn't not get more because you failed to try..
Sandra said…
I am so so sorry Joan.... my heart aches for you and for the lost kitties.
Crafting Queen said…
I am so very sorry, it must be heartbreaking not knowing. You did what you could. What you do is amazing. Lots of hugs.ANesha
Annuk said…
((((((JOAN)))))... dearest Joan...
My heart aches and breaks too, because I sorely KNOW the agony over seeing these poor kitties, loving them and then feeling so desperately helpless...
What you do is amazing, Joan... and humanly it is sheer impossible to save them all -- as hard as it sounds and feels. I KNOW Joan... I KNOW...
I'm praying for Elvis.
And sending you all my warmest hugs and love!
Thinking of you, dearest Joan... You are in my heart and prayers. God bless you.
Oh my dear Joan, I am so sorry for that. I can imagine how you feel, not to know what happened to Elvis. I wish you that he will come back to you. Its such a pitty that the cats there have so low chances. But without you, none of that cats would still be alive. You really do whatever one could do.
Hugs and greetings, Johanna
MarkD60 said…
Poor Elvis.
I thought this would be a happy post until the very end.
We wish that there were options open,but Joan you do what you can and Elvis knows your love and care. I am so sorry and I know it tears a piece of your heart and we can only say a prayer.
((dear Elvis))
Marie said…
I wish Elvis come back soon dear Joan! I can feel your pain but i wanna hope. I wish to your next post to have very good news about Elvis! Kisses & hugs!
505whimsygirl said…
Hi Joan,

Oh, I'm so sorry Elvis has gone missing. Bless his heart (and yours). You can only do so much - and I'm always amazed at exactly how much it is that you do. Giving of both your heart and home.

I am overcome with sadness. I am praying that Elvis finds his way back to you
Deb said…
I will pray for Elvis. There is always hope. I wish I was closer to help you. Hugs, Deb
Dearest Joan,
On Monday I received the cards from your previous batch. What a LOVELY parcel and the lavender smells heavenly. Poor Elvis, what a fate... that makes your heart ache and bleed. How can human beings put out rat poisoning and harm those poor kittens?!
I've tried both of your email addresses to pass on Smokey's photos but no luck. Please advise me how to reach you.
Anna E said…
Det gør mig SÅ ondt at høre..!!! Jeg kan føle smerten og den contradiction, du må leve med. Hvad hvis...? Men hvis Elvis så dukker op igen, ville du så tage ham med hjem? Og hvis der så ikke er plads, hvad så?? Jeg synes, du har gjort ALT du kunne, elsket ham, fodret ham, givet ham medicin..du har truffet nogle bevidste valg udfra den bedste mening og udfra katteflokkens behov. Men det gør ikke smerten og bekymringen mindre ... håber Elvis dukker op, så du kan ånde lettet op. Suk... xox
E. Smith said…
You have done everything possible to help those lovely souls. What a blessing you are to them.

Annuk said…
Dear Joan,
on a different note -- I was thinking that maybe it could be useful if you updated the number of cards you now have on your previous post. I have a badge linking up to the cards post on my blog sidebar, and readers might think the cards are sold out... Just an idea :)
My warmest hugs again!!!!!!!!!!
sunshine said…
So sorry to hear about Elvis, I can imagine it's very hard to think about what could have happened to him, one of our cats BTK went missing for a few days but came back, that made me very sad and anxious.
Regardless of what happen to Elvis, your efforts are amazing and I know that wherever he is you made a difference in his life and that's what really matters.
Hang in there my friend and remember all those little souls you have cared for and made a difference on, you are amazing!
purpleleath said…
Oh, my dear Joan, tears are running down my face as I'm writing this... I'm so sorry you have to go through this again and again... I lost a kitty last year, Kannelos, who disappeared one day and never came back to the yard... I still have hope that he will find his way back to the house, that he is alive and well, and every time I talk to my parents, who are back in Chios, I ask them about him... I do hope Elvis will come back... Lots of love, Maria
Heather said…
I am so sorry to hear this sad news... I will keep positive thoughts in my heart for Elvis' safe return... you have done the best you can for Elvis and all these other babies, even though it is hard to to deal with these things over and over, you must remember that the good you have done has saved/helped those little ones who may never have survived without you, and for a short while, Elvis (and any others you have "lost), have felt the love of a caring hand. Hugs.
Joan, my heart is breaking for you. I hope Elvis returns safe and sound. Every once in a while, my "friendly" feral does that and I walk about and cry for days and days and boom, he shows back up.

You do so much for these cats. I pray Elvis is ok.
O, my dear friend, how hard this must be for you.. I am sosorry.I send you all positive wishes and thoughts for you and your missing cat.. and hope and pray you will find him well and safe.Consider yourself hugged.XOXO
Barbara said…
Elvis fit him perfectly. It has to be so hard not knowing what happened, but I pray you have peace in your heart for making his life easier and one that knew affection and kindness. Hugs!
Barbara said…
P.S. My cards arrived earlier this week and I love them! I just wrote a post about them and hope it sends some of my readers your way. http://barbarashallue.typepad.com/musing_in_long_hollow/2012/12/purr-ty-faces.html
Reena said…
Oh Joan, so sorry to hear Elvis has gone missing. It breaks my heart these kitties have such hard times. You are so special to save the few.
Suldog said…
God bless you for the work you do. My dear Cousin Dorothy, deceased this past year, spent many years caring for a feral cat colony hear her home in Franklin, Massachusetts, USA. Due to her efforts, many an otherwise unloved creature had food, shelter, and medical care. If you are anything like her (which I suspect you are) then the world is a richer place not only for cats, but for the people you know, also.
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