I found Tabitha on the 30th of January 2022. She had been hit by a car and was lying in the median of a busy road. There are many stray and feral cats in my area, and unfortunately many get hit while crossing the street.

I also risked crossing the street to collect her and picked her up in plastic bags in front of many passing cars. I probably freaked out a few people that day.

I brought Tabitha home and wrapped her up, concerned that she would have a difficult time decomposing because of the cold weather. Fortunately, it wouldn't be cold for too long, and it ended up being fine. I placed her above ground and left her alone for 10 months. She likely would have been done earlier than that, but I was less experienced then and when I checked on her, I decided she wasn't done because of bug activity and the amount of fur left over. Cats are very fluffy.

Mama Duck was also decomposing from May to November, so I decided to clean them at the same time. Tabitha was mostly clean apart from some soft tissue between her pelvis and femur.

Tabitha wrapped in tulle, laying on black plastic fencing. Tabitha wrapped up in black plastic fencing, bagtied closed.

Here is the technique I use to wrap all my animals. First, I wrap the body in tulle, or a very fine mesh that will trap even the smallest bones inside. I bagtie this closed, so it is a comfortable little bundle. Then I close the plastic mesh around the body, which is just a garden fencing, and bagtie it closed. I make sure there is no way for little raccoon hands to reach into the bundle and pull anything out. They will try very hard.

While collecting Tabitha's bones, I found a strange piece of metal around her hips. My friend helped me identify it as an airgun pellet. While it's possible she may have swallowed it, it's more likely that she was shot and it was lodged in her for some time. While I don't think this killed her, it is still upsetting to think about the kind of person who would shoot a cat.

This was definitely the hardest time I have ever had with an animal, because I have lived with cats all my life and love them very much. It felt more personal than any other critter I have decomposed.