I did something today that I could never have imagined doing.
I am a keeper of strays – always have been. Love the underdog.
I’ve had cats and dogs from shelters, the Walmart parking lot, a burlap bag in the river, under my trailer/office, the Farmers’ Market, and the reservation.
I’ve even taken in a stray child or two and can never turn down a stray plant.
Given my history, I completely went against every thread of my being and did an abominable thing…
…I took a cat to the shelter.
And left him.
And lied and said he was a stray because I was too ashamed to admit that I was actually just giving up one of my pets to whom I’d committed a lifetime of love and protection.
It was the Walmart parking lot kitty – the one who has slowly gone a little bit nutty, ultimately pushing me way over the edge last night.
It’s been building. He suffers from anxiety and it has been impacting the quality of his (and our) daily life.
He has become skittish, unpredictable, and a yowler.
Where other cats Meow, this one wails; long, mournful, agonizing, howls of angst that no amount of screaming or ignoring can stop.
Not all the time – I’ll give him that. He has moments where is is actually kind of cute. Those moments are what have made it impossible to do what I did.
He spent half the night outside our bedroom door singing his mournful tune. I finally got up at 3:00 am to see what was wrong.
Then, when I let another cat inside, he ran out. We have a cardinal rule in our house; the misfit does not get to go outside at night because he can’t handle it. He’s okay for about 30 minutes and then he positions himself below our bedroom window, which is also below our neighbors’, and the yowling begins. It is incessant – he doesn’t even stop to breathe – until I let him back in.
Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed to open the door.
Once, I tried to ignore him. A neighbor threw a rock at my house.
So, he’s outside, the wailing is fingernails on the chalkboard, and MCB snores away.
Later that morning (5:00 am) I’m crabby ass and bitchy from my shit night and next thing I know, MCB and I are having an uncomfortable conversation about screaming cats, getting a dog, pet responsibility, etc.
I got in the shower and thought, “I am miserable, I have no affection for this cat, the last thing any of the children said to him was ‘go away’, and he is now impacting my relationship.”
MCB and I talked, we both felt cruel, irresponsible and cold-hearted. MCB is a little bit attached to this one and not at all to the others (go figure). But we finally came to the conclusion that this really isn’t working.
I had to do it immediately, without thought or feeling. If I hesitated for even a split second, I would be spending another 100 nights bitching in the middle of the night.
I left work, went home and the second I walked in the door, he hid. Found him, got the bejesus clawed out of my arms and right leg, but finally got him into the favored form of transport: the pillowcase.
I put him in the way-back of the truck and listened to him yowl all the way to the shelter. I could hear it over the sound of the motor, the wind, and the radio.
After I got to the shelter and lied about the “stray” in the back of my truck, the gal and I went out to get him. He had shredded the pillowcase. My brain said, “Good riddance,” my heart said, “Oh, poor baby.”
Brain won out over heart.
I drove away, did a bit of retail therapy (got a fabulous purple dress) and went for a run.
“I’m fine” I thought.
I am actually not fine, but trying hard to get there.
When I got home, I knew the kids wouldn’t notice that he wasn’t around, probably wouldn’t for another week. So I thought that it would be better for me to just tell them.
“Are you kidding, Mom? That’s so mean.”
“Really? I actually liked him – he was part of the family.”
“Why did you only get rid of one?”
That was Bobby – he wants a husky.
So now, of course, I am second guessing myself. I am wondering how much this event will cost in therapy for my children later in life, and thinking that everyone in the household is afraid of being the next victim of my sociopathic cruelty.