I don't know what was in Rusty's eyes - he had a dot on his nose too - I didn't notice those until the photo was taken. Dixie did not want me to take her picture and I won't take any more until she's looking better. Believe it or not, she looks much better than she did weeks ago. As someone recently said to me, Dixie is a diamond in the rough.
Yesterday another milestone was reached. Dixie, the sad little feral cat I finally caught was spayed and Rusty, the kitten who was returned to me by his adoptive mom was neutered. That makes seven cats I've had spayed or neutered this year. It's quite enough for awhile.
Every cat in the house and every one I was able to find a permanent home for, is now altered and will never add to the feline over-population problem. For that I am very grateful. There are still many cats - tens of thousands - that need to be loved, fed, cared for, and altered if this animal crisis is to ever be solved. It's not actually a cat problem. Felines simply do what comes naturally for them. It's a human problem - like owners who are careless about letting their females out when they're in heat and people who don't alter their cats because they want to show their children the "miracle of birth". I bet those people don't take their children to animal shelters and show them the other side of that miracle.
Rusty came through his surgery with flying colors. He's playing with the other cats and eating well. I didn't actually have any worries about him. He's healthy and has re-adjusted to life with his brothers and me. He's once again that sweet loving boy I allowed to be adopted. When first returned, he was stand-offish and ready to hiss at anything that came his way. Within a few days he became less jumpy and now he follows me around and loves to be held again. All he needed was love and attention. That's the Rusty I gave up and I don't know if I will ever forgive myself for not being able to recognize the person who adopted him wasn't the right one. She nearly ruined him.
Dixie has had a very rough life. She's older than I'd imagined and now I'm wondering exactly how many litters of kittens she had before I stopped the cycle. In her seven or so years of life, this little gal lost teeth, had gum and tongue problems, became infested with parasites, had one litter of kittens in my front yard, and was wounded by someone using her for target practice. The vet removed the "bb" from her side yesterday but it turned out to be a slug from a pistol. I wept to think of what she'd endured, but she's on the road to a better life now. For however long she has left, she'll be with me. The decision has been made to never release her. She needs a home and someone who will love her unconditionally. That someone is me.