I have mentioned Squiggles before - here, and here, and here. He - and I can now say with some certainty that Squiggles was a he - was one of the neighborhood feral cats, and the last known surviving member of his litter. He was two or three years old. His siblings, Dot and SpookyBear, vanished earlier this year - and SpookyBear was looking very bedraggled when last I saw him, leading me to think he was sick. Squiggles, though, appeared healthy and strong right up until the last time anyone saw him.
A neighbor found his body under a
His mouth was full of mulch.
Pine needles. He looked like he had died while eating the pine needles under the tree. What would cause him to do that?*
I suspect poison. Maybe someone in the neighborhood, tired of having stray cats wandering around, has decided to deal with the problem by setting out bowls of antifreeze. Maybe Squiggles took the poison and was desperately trying to get the taste out of his mouth. I don't know.
Gretchen now has company in the yard. It took nearly two hours to dig the grave using a variety of implements, including a six foot long prybar to remove the enormous stones that make up part of the fill in our yard. I don't know if I buried his body deep enough. I covered it with the smaller stones that I pulled out of the hole, to discourage any animals from digging it up, then piled on the dirt, and put two of the largest stones on top at the head and foot.
Over all these years, this is the first dead feral cat whose body I have seen. Other ferals have disappeared and are presumed dead, but they have died in places I have never seen, or have been carried off by predators. If more bodies start turning up, I'll know something is going on.
*Some poking around suggests that the pine needles themselves may have been a lethal intoxicant. But why now, after several years of living, would he ingest pine needles until he died?