Little Girl Wants to Live

Sekhnet and I have been very sad to see Little Girl, one of the feral cats we care for, seemingly following the progression of her mother’s quick, sudden death a few months back. Little Girl, a skilled hunter, who with her great paw-eye coordination, loves to catch thrown cat treats midair, with both paws and, often pop the treat directly into her mouth, is closely bonded to Sekhet and has lately been much more interactive with me. Now, no longer hunting or seeking to have treats thrown to her, she seems to be dying. The other day Sekhnet put out a box with a rug in it, in the sun, and Little Girl emerged to sun herself there each of the last few days.

A few nights ago, I went out to check on her. I sat next to her insulated sleeping box and saw she was in there and breathing, I didn’t want to bother her. She generally doesn’t like to be petted in there and lets you know with a quick yowl and a flash of her long, sharp claws.

While I sat by her box, her sister Whiteback hopped the fence and wanted to be petted and get a few treats. I obliged and as Whiteback began crunching the treats I saw Little Girl’s paw emerge from the box, reaching toward me as if to tap me on the arm. Her mighty claws were, for once, not extended (see photo below of her mighty claws, when she was a kitten). I put some treats in the palm of my hand and reached inside. Little Girl ate them all, licking my palm when the treats were done. She ate a few more batches. I was glad to see her appetite seemed better. When she was done eating I petted her a few times, until, eventually, she gave me a brief taste of the claw, indicating she’d had enough affection.

Her mother was about six when she died, Little Girl is not yet three. She’s been hanging in there so far, sat on Sekhnet’s lap for a long time yesterday, eating delicacies that Sekhnet brought her. We’re hoping for the best, her recovery, thinking perhaps a younger, healthier cat might be able to fight off whatever killed her mother, unlikely though it seems. We’re encouraged that she’s still eating a bit.

Here are two photos of her with brothers Turtleback and Whitefoot, from June, 2018 (Little Girl center in each). Those two wonderful little souls were gone within a few months of their birth. Little Girl, though she has been folding up her tents for the last week or two, does not seem ready to call it a day yet. It is a hard struggle for survival out there for feral cats, the ones who survive are tough, tough, tough– and lucky.

As I type I got this update on my phone from Sekhnet in the garden, under the caption “cozy dog…”, informing me that she ate a tiny bit more:

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