A year ago I wasn't a cat person. I didn't want one in my house, I didn't want one as a pet, and I couldn't understand why anyone would want a creature around them that didn't seem to care about them like a dog would. Then a bedraggled little cat showed up in my backyard drinking out of the bird bath under my tree. It was already hot and I made sure that the bird bath was always filled for the birds but this skinny little yellow and gold cat would stop there to drink the water too. I didn't want any bird bombs as I call them in my backyard so to keep the cat and the birds separate I started putting a water bowl out for the cat on the porch.

Months went by and little by little I started feeding that kitty a little bit of dry food and little by little he started getting used to me and would wait every afternoon at 4 to get fed. We think he belonged to a neighbor who might have died in the COVID pandemic and was just released to the wild when the person died. Pretty soon it was cooler at night so we wrapped a box in an old plastic tablecloth and put some old towels down so the kitty could have a place to sleep that was protected. Every morning before he left, Darren would feed the kitty. When the weather got really bad in January, we let him in to sleep in the back bathroom in the shower for a few weeks.

Around that time, the kitty was allowed to come in to the house for a few hours each night and he slept on the ottoman in front of the chair that I sat in after dinner. When I went to bed, he either went into the back bathroom, or now that the weather had gotten nice again, he would go to the backdoor to be let out for the night. He would let us pet him a little but if he didn't feel like it, he would bat our hands away or move to another chair. He was a great cat.

@patriciamartinez1969

We have this 75% feral ##cat who has become a nightly visitor. He’s hilarious but clearly knows how to deal with prey. ##petsoftiktok ##petsontiktok

♬ Cute - Bensound

A week ago Thursday, he showed up at the back door after having gone missing for over a day. He was stretched out along the back step in an unusual way. When I opened the door he barely lifted his head and I knew something was terribly wrong. He struggled to his feet and collapsed just inside the back door. I reached out to pet him and he didn't bat my hand away so I ran my hands all along his body looking for a visible wound thinking he had been in a fight or maybe been hit by a car. There was only one little spot of blood but he didn't make a noise when I touched it. I thought maybe he had eaten a bad bird or something.

Throughout the night, he threw up twice when offered water and on Friday, we took him to the hospital. When they x-rayed my sweet cat, they found a pellet in his abdomen. The veterinarian said that it didn't appear that there was much damage but when they went into surgery, they had to remove a quarter of his intestine.

Patricia Martinez

Over the next few days we would visit for a couple of hours at a time, petting his head and trying to make him feel better but he was clearly not responding well to the surgery. On Tuesday, he underwent a second surgery to see if there was something that was missed, but the trauma was just too much. He did not survive the surgery. We said our goodbyes to him before he went in for the second time just in case.

@patriciamartinez1969

My sweet ##kittycat has died. Someone shot him with a pellet gun. He underwent surgery but the trauma was too much. I’m devastated. ##ElPaso

♬ How Did I Get Here - ODESZA

In the past I have used a BB gun to scare cats out of my yard but I have never shot a cat. I would never do that to any living creature, and I can count on one hand the times that I did shoot at a wall to scare a cat.

Knowing how skittish and how long it took my cat to warm up to us I can't imagine that he was causing anyone any trouble. There was no reason for someone to shoot him. In a million years I could never have guessed that a cat would steal my heart and my heart would be broken because he was gone. There is no reason for this to have happened. Please, if you don't want a cat in your backyard, sprinkle ground pepper where they hang out. Clap your hands really loudly or tell them to get out. They're feral, they don't want to mess with you. They'll leave. Losing my sweet cat in such a horrible way is one of the saddest things I've ever experienced. Please don't let it happen to another cat.

I couldn't save my cat but I just hope that no one else has to go through this kind of sadness. I want to be mad. I want to curse the person who did this, but I'm too sad to wish any ill on someone. I just want my cat back.

@patriciamartinez1969

Goofy ##cat. I’m not a cat person so what does this jumping on my lap and getting in my face mean? ##catsoftiktok ##fridaynight ##springday

♬ original sound - Patricia Martinez