MISTAKES I HAVE MADE

I don’t like myself very much right now. This weekend has been miserable and Helen & I wound up making a decision we hate, but the reasoning behind it is sound.

Friday night we were at Petco when we saw Tigger in one of the cages put there by the SPCA to snag unsuspecting shoppers.

This is Tigger. I don’t know what it was about her, but something just tugged at me. Maybe the fact that she was 6 years old and in amongst cages filled with really cute kittens. I wasn’t planning on getting a cat – we’ve got 4 already and we don’t need more. But she stayed with me after we left so I called Petco to see if anyone could let me hold her and talk to me about her. They said we had to get in touch with the SPCA, who in turn said we could come in the next day and talk to an adoption counselor, fill out paperwork, etc. and see her.

Saturday we went to the SPCA and answered all their questions. I told them we had 4 cats at home who were very happy and healthy and pampered beyond belief. But, the most important question to them was whether the cats were up-to-date on their shots. Which they’re not. Our cats NEVER go outside. They are never in contact with other cats outside of family pets who have all been tested and been with us for years. If we go away, family members take care of them for us so they have NEVER been to a kennel or anyone else’s house. Dud’s the youngest at 1, then Andrew who is 6, and George & Gretel who are around 11. None of them have been sick, ever. So I believe they are a healthy bunch and am comfortable not toting them back and forth to the vet every year. I see no reason to put them through that misery when it is unnecessary. I realize not everyone is going to agree with my view point and that is fine – I support your right to disagree. However, these are my cats and this is the way I choose to raise them.

That being said, I understand the SPCA’s decision not to let me take Tigger home. God, of course I understand – it’s the first question we’re asking them because are desperately careful not to bring in anything that might harm our cats. But they don’t know our cats and how happy they are. They don’t know us and that we treat the cats better than some people we know. And understanding didn’t make hearing the decision any easier – I was a mess when we left. Helen drove us to the Humane Society where we decided to be less than honest about whether there were any other cats in the household. And because we decided to lie, fate proceeded to bite us in the a$$.

When we went into the open room where they let some of the cats roam free, we were met at the door by Ed. He was a love – all black except for a few (5 or 6) white hairs on his chest. He rubbed up against our legs and purred.
This is Ed. Then Helen came up to me holding another all black cat who had only three legs. At first I thought he was the one that met us at the door, but no – this was Ralph.

He’s Ed’s brother. Both of them are 10 years old and were surrendered by their owner. We don’t know why but they had both been in the shelter since March of this year. They were both neutered and up-to-date on shots and healthy, as far as the Humane Society knew. Those cats read us for suckers the minute we walked into the room. They walked beside us and just looked generally pitiful. So we did what we had to do and walked out with both of them, because you know – you can’t split up the pair.

When we got them home, they were a little timid at first but they soon started exploring the house. George and Andrew were a little stand-offish and Gretel played her usual role of DIVA. Dudley, however, hated them. Last night was the first time we’ve ever heard him growl and hiss. But there were no fights and they all ate together and things seemed to be okay. Both Ed and Ralph, after getting over the shock of getting treats, came upstairs at bedtime and found places to bed down for the night.

This morning, as I was getting ready to take a shower, Ed came in and sprayed the shower curtain. This is a problem. We can deal with cats scratching the furniture – we don’t have new and expensive furniture for that reason. We can even deal with fur balls and occasional vomiting. And we’ve worked with George to get him to stop peeing outside the cat box the summer the feral cat kept coming around the yard. But all our cats were fixed early so we could catch them before they could start spraying because once they start, it’s almost impossible to stop them. And the smell is ungodly. By allowing Ed to spray around the house might start the other males, and then we might as well just dynamite the house.

Helen researched it and the main reason behind a cat spraying is marking their territory because of other cats. There is no way Ed was going to be the dominant male in this house – the other three have been here longer. So we had to make the decision to take Ed and Ralph back this morning. We went back and forth because we’d already fallen for them but we don’t own the house and we couldn’t do that to our landlords. And besides, I don’t want to live in a house that smells of cat spray. We may not be the best housekeepers, but our house is not filthy. We do have some standards, however low they may be. And spraying crosses the line.

I just hate myself for even bringing Ed and Ralph home. For allowing them to think, even for a day, that they had found a better place to be.
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5 Responses to “MISTAKES I HAVE MADE”

  1. Monica Says:

    Long time listener…first time caller, I just wanted to comment and tell you this – don't be too hard on yourself. You, above all, need to take care of the family you've made. Sometimes things just aren't a good fit. You tried, that's more then most people would do. You tried and you'll probably try again, and that's a good thing.

  2. painted maypole Says:

    oh, i totally get this.

    with our previous cats we did the same thing as you did with the shots.

    this time around we have a vet that comes to the house.

  3. Mary Beth Says:

    Monica – Thanks for the comment. You're right – there will be more cats in my life. This I know for sure:)

    PM – Having a vet that comes to your house? That … is awesome!

  4. Ms. Huis Herself Says:

    Oh, how hard! For all of you. But you did what you had to, not that that probably makes you feel any better…

  5. Jeanne Says:

    It's so hard to have multiple cats. Ours are all from the shelter, and this is the second time we've managed to have four that get along…barely. Three seems to be a safer number when they're all unrelated adult cats.

    But boy, do I understand the urge to add more cats to your household!

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