I sent this in PM to a few who'd shown care to me. I feel now that this is a safe place. So here's why I asked if it is judgement-free here.
If you don't want to read this, please don't. It is sad and depressing. I warn you - you might be affected.
We are moving to California, leaving Maryland on May 11. We could only move two of our cats. We sent the ones with special needs ahead of us; my niece is caring for them. I searched five states for four months to find the others homes. Only one found a home. One became a barn cat. The others, to my intense bitterness and sadness, went to a no-kill shelter.
But because she was feral, Skittles was unadoptable - so we'd learned from several shelters, rescues, vets, and other sources. We wanted to take her, but the landlord in CA was firm: two cats only.
We took her in, from a feral mother and litter, 12 years ago, when she was 5-6 weeks old. She never lost her wildness. She came to trust us enough to pet her a little bit, as long as she was on the couch and we didn't sit down. She remained feral, yet was a housecat who never went out.
It was impossible for us to catch her. Fortunately Skittles had perfect health; we never had a need to take her to the vet. Since she never went out, and all of our other cats were kept up to date on their shots, we didn't worry too much.
When we'd tried every other way to get her into a carrier, it was time for the last resort. With my sister's help, I got poor Skittles into the small bathroom, and I went in and closed the door. I felt I could catch her with patience, but I could not. I know she was terrified. I pushed away my anguish and kept trying, but couldn't get her. My sister said through the door, "I have a suggestion, but you're not gonna like it." Call animal control.
She spent the night in the bathroom. They came the next morning. Two weeks later I got a letter from animal control: "The animal was alive at the end of the quarantine period." That's when she was euthanized.
My grief is not only for the loss of all my cats (and I do grieve, deeply, for each of them individually), and not only for Skittles's death. My grief is for Skittles - the terror she must've felt as I tried to catch her, as she spent the night alone and scared, as the man from animal control moved in to take her, on the ride to the shelter, and waiting for ten long days in a cage, only to die.
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. Do you see why I fear judgement? Every other time I've tried to talk online about having to get rid of my kids (for lack of a better phrase), I've faced judgement: "why didn't you try this?" or "you didn't try hard enough" or "b*tch!" and more. So I've internalized it all until now.