I’ve covered a few stories about the adorable cats that have crossed the threshold of TinyKittens. The non-profit organization in British Columbia would have rescued these cats regardless of any publicity it garnered. What they hadn’t expected though, was that their most seemingly “hopeless” cat would turn out to be their most inspirational! It was a scruffy, senior feral cat they dubbed “Grandpa Mason” that changed everything for them. For more than 1,000 days he was in their care and off the streets. And during that time, the sweet feline brought them smiles daily. But he didn’t stop thanking them once he was safe and warm.
Afterwards, Grandpa Mason was happy to dedicate the rest of his life to helping them socialize other felines.
Sadly, this chapter of his life ended on Thursday, September 19th, 2019. Surrounded by his doting family and his favorite comforts, the decision was made to let him cross the rainbow bridge peacefully.
His story doesn’t end tomorrow, it simply becomes a new chapter. His impact will live on, and he will continue to change the narrative about feral, old, sick, ‘different’ cats.
Grandpa Mason’s life–or at least what’s known of it–hadn’t been easy.
Most importantly, it was through TNR efforts that Mason was given the opportunity to flourish! Here’s his story per his purrsonal Facebook page Grandpa Mason and his kittens.
We brought Mason in during a big Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) event back in October. A developer had purchased a large rural property with several derelict barns.[He] was just beginning to bulldoze them, not realizing they were home to about 60 feral cats and kittens. We got permission to set up a feeding station and start trapping the cats. [We’d] spay and neuter them and find homes for as many as we could.
We brought in about 26 cats that weekend, including Mason.
He had a massive growth on the bottom of his right paw.
His tail had been broken multiple times in multiple places, he had infections, and he needed extensive dental surgery. We took care of his paw, treated his infections and neutered him. And then [we] kept him so he could recover from that surgery before doing his dental.
Posted by Grandpa Mason and his kittens on Saturday, July 22, 2017
He was the first feral I’ve had to splint and bandage without sedation, which is tricky enough with a socialized cat! He is one of the oldest surviving ferals we have seen, and throughout his recovery, he made it clear his feral instincts were deeply ingrained. We planned to return him to his home on the farm when he was healed.
(The property owner agreed to continue feeding the cats and we’d provide food and medical care on an ongoing basis).
Then we got his blood work back and discovered [Grandpa Mason] has advanced kidney disease.
It would be cruel for us to return him, knowing he would suffer and was unlikely to survive the winter. We had two options: euthanize him, or give him a chance to adjust to life in a home and provide hospice care for as long as he had left.
So Grandpa Mason stayed with the organizations founder, Shelly Roche, and surprised everyone when he warmed up to her foster kittens immediately.
He seemed to relish in the attention they showered upon him and he was able to openly express his love to others.
They swarmed over to Mason’s lair, and started climbing all over him, just really invading his personal space. I was right there next to them, holding my breath and expecting him to hiss or growl and then slink away to hide under the couch. When Scrammy (ginger kitten) started licking Mason’s ear, and Mason leaned into it, I completely melted. The one thing missing for Mason had been contact with another living being, and while he didn’t want that from ME, he had clearly been craving it from his own kind.
Grandpa Mason gets #TrojanKittened AND face-chewed, and he loves every minute of it. Watch live 24/7 at TinyKittens.com/live
Posted by Grandpa Mason and his kittens on Sunday, July 23, 2017
We did daily “field trips” with Grandpa Mason and the kittens, so they got lots of play and snuggle time together. They chased each other around the house. He captured them and give them baths. He trilled to them to get their attention, and he flopped and rolled around on the floor like a giant kitten. It was just the most adorable thing ever!
Grandpa Mason is having a relaxing spa day on his #TinySofa by the fire, having his hair styled and getting purred all over by the Red Baron and Linus. <3Mason's story, in case you missed it: TinyKittens.com/cases/mason
Posted by Grandpa Mason and his kittens on Monday, December 3, 2018
However, Grandpa Mason’s battle with kidney disease wasn’t going to be a victorious one.
Shelly and the TinyKittens family knew every moment with him would be a blessing.
We are a no-kill organization, and believe that any life is worth saving as long as we are able to alleviate suffering. Mason’s many scars told us how hard he had fought to survive this long. And we were determined to give him a chance to experience comfort, safety and freedom from pain during his sunset months.
For almost three years, Grandpa Mason has imparted his love, wisdom and calming demeanor on the foster kittens that looked up to him.
The furry soul that seemed to bond with him most has quite a “tail” of her own.
I was lucky enough to write the story of Aura, or Auracuda, as her own social media pages refer to her. This sweetie was born to a feral mom trapped by TinyKittens in April of 2018. With a severe cleft palate (and reportedly major tortitude!), she almost didn’t survive. But her fighting spirit prevailed. She then met a role model who showed her how to share that courage and bravery.
Not that those help when a neonatal kitten refuses to sit still and latch onto the bottle!
With Grandpa Mason and Auracuda leading the way, dozens of cats were welcomed into a world of comfort and love.
And it is now during these difficult times, that we can see his teachings in his loving protege. That makes every moment–whether or not there were enough of them–worth it all.
It was all worth it if only one more person was inspired to help a senior, a feral or any otherwise deemed “unworthy” cat. Thankfully, there are likely a few in the 1.6 Million people that follow TinyKittens on Facebook!
For 1069 days, we got to love this glorious ancient “lost cause” feral cat. I’m grateful for every single day, even today as all of our hearts are shattering into a million pieces. This is the sunset I hoped I could give him; the final gift he so deserved; at home, in peace, free from pain and surrounded by love and kittens.
Thank you so much for loving him as much as we do. His story doesn’t end tonight, as we still have so much work to do in his name.
If you would like to help cats like Grandpa Mason get a chance to experience the love, comfort and joy they deserve, please support TNR efforts in your own neighborhoods.
Help others understand that underneath their tough, fierce feral exteriors, they have so much love to give and are worthy of compassion. Become advocates for spaying, neutering and most of all… compassion.
Help us turn the global compassion deficit responsible for cat overpopulation into a global compassion surplus. By telling their stories, giving them a voice, and helping change the narrative about feral cats.
Grandpa Mason was worth saving.
The heartbreak we are feeling now is nothing compared to the joy and understanding he brought to the world. And the impact he has already had. I can’t imagine what it will be like to wake up tomorrow without him here. But I have a feeling he will help us find our path forward…
REMEMBER: SPAY/NEUTER, FOSTER, VOLUNTEER, TNR & AS ALWAYS, ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!