I took one of my cats to the shelter this morning.
I'm not one of those people who take cat-companionship lightly. I consider a pet to be a lifelong companion and committment. In fact, I've lived with 2 of them longer than I was married, and they came into my life well before I had my Little Boy.
So it breaks my heart to have to give up a pet, no matter how long or short it was in my life.
Sinatra came into our lives early this spring. My massage therapist (and Mom's friend) was distaught that her daughter was moving and nonchalantly giving up her cats to a shelter, with no remorse, as if she were giving away a no-longer-useful chair. She was particularly distraught (though her daughter wasn't) about Sinatra, a three-year-old female. Playful, loving, purring, omega-personality Sinatra.
She even helped me warp a table loom for Samurai Knitter.
Sinatra came with a small problem, though.
She wouldn't use a dirty litterbox.
OK...I can deal with that. I have three boxes now for the three cats, all of which get cleaned twice a day.
And it wasn't enough. Turns out she doesn't like a litterbox that has been used by another cat. Period. So she would check them out, sniff around, then poop on the floor in front of one of them. Or find a box or bag in the basement and go there.
My basement is long-term storage and pseudo-living space. I sew down there, wind warps, all my son's toys are down there, as is laundry, wool, and pantry. This is not just some dim and dank basement. It's heated, air-conditioned, partly finished, well-lit, and has rooms in it.
And now it stinks. As in P-U. As in rotten, odorous, fermented kitty urine. And I can't find the source. I threw out 2 boxes of childhood memoribilia on Wednesday that she had soaked in urine, scrubbed floors, washed and refilled litterboxes, and cleaned up in general. We worked about 2 hours, as we seem to be doing every week now, cleaning up feces and urine from one particular cat.
Within an hour she had pooped on the floor in front of a clean, unused, freshly filled litterbox.
She's a beautiful cat. She purrs instantly when you pick her up, snuggles into your neck when you hold her, sleeps with my son...
And rips the hair out of the other cats. In clumps.
They return the favor.
Apparently the "omega" laid-back kitty thinks she should be alpha in my house. They are all three missing patches of fur from the fighting, all have bloody scratches, and the yowling is constant.
She is not happy in my house. Isis and Chaka are not happy with her there. Little Boy and I are not happy cleaning three litterboxes as well as random poop. I am not happy with the forced decluttering, though it is a quick way to give up sentimental objects...soak them in cat urine and you'll not think twice about pitching them!!)
I feel absolutely rotten giving her up. I went into the house, and she came running to greet me. I picked her up and she was instantly purring. I plopped her into a carrier and took her to the shelter. And went back to work.
My son said good-bye this morning before he went to daycare. I cried the whole way to the shelter, when I called her prior owners to let them know that I'd done it, and am about to again.
I know it's for the best, but we really got attached to her in that couple of months. I've never surrendered an animal to a shelter before, and had no intention of ever doing it. Shelters have provided me with many a loving pet I have kept through to the end of their lives...Isis was a shelter-kitty, too.
It's a no-kill shelter. They'll find her a home. With no other cats.
So why do I feel like I sent her to her death?