Cats Leave Footprints… On Your Heart

Today, after work, I went with my mom to a local No-Kill animal shelter with my Indy and my Chloe (cats 3 and 4).  We had been looking for weeks to find spots open in no-kill shelters, to no avail because of the high number of unwanted animals…  Now that grandpa’s house is in foreclosure and we are looking to rent, its become increasingly difficult to find a person willing to rent a house to someone with a cat, let alone 7 cats.  We’ve lied on the applications as to the number of cats, and still no luck.  We knew that eventually we would have to lessen our feline numbers.  This past Sunday my mom received a call from one such place stating they had room, and were willing to take 2.

My cousin is (finally) agreeing to take his cat back.  That’s one less, but lets see how long it takes for him to actually take him back.  My ex-boyfriend Andy recently had to put one of the cats I gave him down and was looking to adopt.  He told me he will take one of my male cats.  Okay, 5 more to go…. Until today.

At the shelter, we filled out paperwork on each cat, describing their personality and their backgrounds.  I listened to my Chloe cry quietly in the crate, Indy not meowing a single meow.  We stayed with the girls all the way up to the “Confinement Room”.  They will stay there a week while they adjust, alone in their own small “cell”, then the two girls will be put in a different “Cell”, together for another week.  After that, they are put into what I call “General Population” with the rest of the adoptable cats.  The girl at the shelter said if they stick together they will label them as a “pair” and will only be adopted together, and if they don’t stick together, they will be eligible to be adopted separately.  THEY ARE MOM AND BABY!  For my own heart, I hope they stick together and can only be adopted as a set.

I shed a few tears walking out, but I broke down a few hours later when I was alone in my car on the way to a firehouse meeting…  I want my cats back.

I know they are “just” cats, and not people… but they were MY cats.  All I can see when I close, or even just blink my eyes… is their green eyes peering at me through the glass of their individual “cells” as they stand on their hind legs sticking their noses through the bars at the top, meowing in confusion and fear.

I feel like I abandoned them, let them down…  They will never see me or my family, or any of the other cats they have lived with for what has been their whole lives…  They are in a new place, filled with unfamiliar people, animals, and smells, locked up for the first time.  They are scared, lonely, confused, and no doubt sad.  I’m sick to my stomach and I want to run back there and pound on the doors in the morning and demand they give me my cats back!  But I can’t…  I’m scared they will sit there for weeks, months, or even longer.  I’m trying not to think about it, but its to fresh a wound to ignore.

Now you might think I’m acting like a baby, or that “they are just cats”, or that it’s not a big deal and to quit whining.  I don’t care.  I miss my cats, I love my cats… I want them back.  I have always cared for my animals, loved them, and had them their entire lives… I’ve never had to give up an animal before.  I’ve put them down when they got sick and it was the humane thing to do, but I’ve never been in a situation where I had to give one up.  Totally different feelings.  Completely different kind of hurt, sadness, and loss…  I hate it.  And it’s not over yet either.

I’ve had pets ever since I can remember.  When I was a little kid, I had a number of mice, hamsters, all kinds of fish, and I even had a pet chicken for a short period of time (kept in a 10 gallon fish tank… while living in an apartment).  When I was 8, I got my first “real” pet, a Beagle that I named ‘Annie’.

I had Annie until I was 15.  We had to put her down after she developed Hemangiosarcoma, a fast-growing cancer in her mouth.  We noticed it after we thought she ate a piece of hot meat that fell off the stove while my mom was cooking.  After a week of thinking she burned herself, and still wasn’t eating, we knew something was wrong.  They attempted to remove the tumor from her upper jaw, but a week later the tumor was back and twice its original size.  We left the office that day without my Annie.

Almost two years went by before we had the heart to get another dog.  I came home from a day at school during my Junior and mom told me to get in the car.  We drove two towns over and when we pulled into some random driveway, mom told me we came there to get a new Beagle puppy.  That day we left with a little girl who we named Jacy-Blue.  A few months later, we also got a German-Shepherd/Rottweiler mix puppy (who is now almost 11).  Jace stayed with us for 9 years, when suddenly she developed Autoimmune hemolytic anemia.  It occurs when antibodies directed against an animal/humans own red blood cells cause them to burst, leading to insufficient plasma concentration.  Basically, your own blood starts attacking itself.  Within 4 days, Jace was gone.

I acquired 2 cats from a cousin of mine when after I graduated Hell School and was living with my high-school boyfriend.  I brought them home with me when I broke up with him and moved home.  We had the two cats for a few years when mom and I ended up with a third cat, coming from a cousin’s girlfriend who never asked her parents permission to adopt a cat.  Well, that cat wasn’t spayed, and within months we had a pregnant cat.  Mom fell in love with one of the kittens, and we then had 4 cats.  Well, due to funds we never got the females spayed, and within 2 years between the 2 girls, had a total of 7 litters, and in the end… 3 more cats.  Said cousin ended up moving in with us during that time and brought his cat with, and when he moved out, he left his cat with us.  Bam…  And that’s how you end up the crazy cat people with 7 cats.  (If you’ve done that math, you should have actually come up with 8… however one of them ran away over a year ago… my guess is she couldn’t handle the number of animals in the house)

I come from a family of animal lovers…  My grandpa, my mom…  This is all new to me, and painful.  The only people that can understand my feelings are people who love their pets as much as I.  Some of you will call me a baby, call me a whiner, think to yourselves “whats the big deal?”   All that tells me is that I did right by my pets the best I could, for as long as I could.  To me, when you make the decision to get a pet, its not for a week, month, or a year or two… Its for the duration of the animal (or your) life.  I feel like I failed my girls…   I hope for good homes for them, whether together or apart.  I hope for a short stay at the shelter for them, and mostly I hope that they will be okay no matter which way it goes.

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Indy and Chloe
(L to R)

2 Responses to Cats Leave Footprints… On Your Heart

  1. allisynuna says:

    kisses, miss ya, alli

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