Thursday, 16 January 2014
THE SELFISH CAT RESCUER
That's me, I'm afraid.
(Don't worry, by the end of this post I'll have revealed myself as the wonderful and saintly altruistic person you all know me to be. Well, we'll see.)
Two days ago I transferred Tiny and Todd, two young black cats about 8 months old that I've had since they were born, to the re-homing centre. While nice friendly things, they've only really known me and so finding themselves together in somewhere they've never known has left them almost catatonic (pun not intended). They've hidden themselves as best they could, huddling together for comfort, cowering away when Dawn brought food and cleaned our their litter tray. I saw them this morning when I went to pick up Wendy, a young cat who needed spaying and a hernia treated. They were tightly curled up together in a drum-like piece of cat furniture. When I made a fuss of them, they responded and one even came out to see me.
The reason I put them there is because, although litter trained, they also had a habit of urinating and crapping on my bedroom carpet. I put spare laminate flooring on top of a section of carpet. I had four litter trays in close proximity. I put down newspaper on sections they used. Neither carpet cleaner or deodoriser was enough. Nothing was enough and they've been doing this for months. They had to go.
It broke my heart but I had to it. Have a look at photos of them while I take a breath and prepare to tell you the full story.
I'm 65 and if I'm lucky I've got about another ten years of active cat rescuing and re-homing at more, but probably less, than my current rate. But, let's face it, there are no guarantees in life. Seven years ago I was hospitalised for a month with pneumonia exacerbated by chronic diarrhoea and other more minor stuff. I lost nearly two stone and it weakened my system in that I was never quite the same afterwards either in terms of physical or mental resources. I'm overweight because I'm a greedy pig, though I do go swimming about three times a week, more once the winter's over -I suffer a little from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and don't laugh because that's what my doctor said after I'd jokingly suggested it.
I've also been on Citalopram (a relative of Prozac) because I get stressed out relatively easily. Also, Perindopril to keep my blood pressure under control, and Simasvastin (statins) to control cholesterol. I do get tired easily and a need a nap once a day, usually, but not always, in the afternoon.
Now I don't think I'm suddenly going to drop dead in the next five minutes. Although my father died at 69 of angina and his brother less than a decade later of heart disease, my heart is okay -my aorta was checked recently and pronounced absolutely normal. My great grandmother, who I grew up with, lasted till a hundred and two and a half, my grandmother and her sister till their mid-nineties, and my mother till she was eighty-nine. If I take after them I'm good for a while yet. But, as I just said, there are no guarantees.
Which is why if I want to keep doing what I'm doing for as long as I can then I have to put myself first. Because Tiny and Todd were just stressing me out too much. In the two days since they've gone the difference is noticeable, not just in the reduced smell and the reduced litter emptying/cleaning workload and improved hygiene, but there are simply fewer cats flying around which means the house feels calmer. I'm now down to six cats (plus poor little Lucy with the amputated tail in the conservatory) and would prefer to just have four (not counting Lucy).
I always wanted to re-home Tiny and Todd but from my house. However I now think they stand a better chance at the re-homing centre. They'll get used to different people and the chance to break their toileting habits so they'll end up as the lovable cats with other people that they are with me.
Of course if I was really that altruistic I'd go on a diet until I'd lost at least forty pounds and cut down my alcohol intake from three large glasses of wine and evening to one -or less.
I'll be honest, I didn't like writing all that, which is an attempt to justify my actions to myself. But when I set out to write this blog it was always intended to be a subjective account of cat rescuing from my point of view. Sometimes whether I like it or not.