Sally is gone.
It happened so quickly, we are still a bit stunned. I'm still in the stage of self-blame.
Monday night, Denny noticed Sally was limping when she came out of her hiding spot for dinner. I didn't pay him too much mind because she's had a slight limp for some time. But now she was not putting any weight on her left front leg and once we got a good look at her, it was obvious her shoulder and leg were swollen. So, thinking dislocation or abcess, I called the vet clinic Tuesday morning to get an appointment.
A bit of background. Sally (aka "Fat Sally", aka "Ms. Tabby") showed up about a year ago, eating the food we keep on the porch for strays. Because of her girth,we were afraid she was pregnant and rather than face the prospect of trying to trap her and locate kittens in below-freezing weather, we trapped her as soon as we could.
We installed her in the big cat cage downstairs with a large nest box and waited. And waited. And waited. No kittens.
So, it turns out that Sally was spayed. At some point in her life she had belonged to someone. How she came to be fending for herself in sub-freezing temperatures and be so terrified of humans is a mystery we will never solve.
As it was, she was inside and safe. Once we realized there would be no kittens, we let her out into the house, where she kept mostly in her hidey-box until we went to bed. We would catch glimspes of her from time to time, scurrying for cover when we happened upon the scene, but she showed no interest in warming up to us.
I wish that getting her to the vet hadn't been such a traumatic experience for her. I hate to think that her last hour was stressful, but she needed to be examined. Ralph eventually had to sedate her in order to examine her and it wasn't good. Rather than a dislocation, what he felt around her shoulder joint was obviously a tumor. A tumor that because of its size and location was both inoperable and fast-growing. Most likely already metasticized.
So we did what we felt most humane and let Sally go.
I had thought we had time to work with her, time to gain her trust. But now there is no more.