This cat is so unusual, and his story so bittersweet, that I’m posting him on his own. Besides, this isn’t really a reader’s cat, but a feral one.
Reader Robert B. sent me the picture below with the simple line: “This is Diddy, a Brooklyn feral tom cat, long term survivor.” But Diddy is gone now.
Now that is one battered tomcat. Huge “apple head,” eyes askew, ears chewed down to the nubbins, but still sweet looking. I asked Robert for more information, and got this:
Here is a picture of Diddy taken on the deck in our backyard. He was the king of our backyard colony and was, for years, way too wily to be trapped so that he could be neutered. In nearly every backyard complex in Brooklyn there are feral cats where, after first being abandoned when their owners become disenchanted with them, they reproduce unchecked and often succumb to disease, parasites and malnutrition. My wife and I got involved with the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) community and so we have a managed colony where the smells and yowls have greatly abated and the population does not increase.
His ears were chewed off and his face was puffed out with scar tissue from the many battles he fought for territory over the years.
Diddy, after living an epic feral life and displaying unparalleled feline character, eventually succumbed. His strength waned and I was able to finally trap him but it turned out he suffered from both FELV, feline Leukemia and FIV, feline AIDS. The combination of those two diseases creates an especially painful way to die. He had to be put down and was subsequently buried in our backyard. We still miss him and think of him often; his kind of character is rare.
RIP Diddy: the cat who looked like a bear.