This summer, I witnessed the happy adoption of adorable kittens into families living in my neighborhood — a couple of brown tabby siblings born to a feral mother, and another few adopted from a local animal shelter.
Nothing is quite as fun as a bundle of kittens. The idea certainly tempts me in certain ways — but I quickly realize that adding any new four-legged members to our established family is likely an idea relished only by me. My three middle-aged cats are happy right now. The status quo is just fine by them, and our article this month on rehoming cats was a perfect reminder.
I was in that position once, many years ago, and bringing a cat into one’s home — only to realize a month or two later that the “fit” was a very, very bad one — is a painful experience. There’s a lot of guilt swirling around, upset for all cats involved, and it basically taught me that there has to be an emergency plan in place if things prove to be impossible. Because it’s not really helping to save the life of one cat if it makes the lives of you and your other cats completely miserable. Which it truly did.
So if you ever find yourself in that position, please realize that you’re not alone. Sometimes, we make decisions that come from a very good place without being able to anticipate the ultimate outcome. Luckily, there are increasingly more ways for us to stay connected and branch out via social media when we need help with our animal crises (just remember, though: It’s very important to check out future homes, and giving away animals for “free” is never a good idea unless you know and trust the people well).
And while it’s good to be a person that your animal-loving friends quickly turn to in times of trouble, don’t be the one who can’t say “no.” Taking in an endless stream of needy animals isn’t doing your household any favors, either. The article on page 11 of this issue is a great resource if you — or a person you know — is experiencing the emotional strain of needing to rehome a pet.
Another topic to share that may not apply to your life as a pet owner right now — but may be exactly the type of advice a friend needs — is the growing popularity of hospice care for pets. When you reach a point where there is no cure for a serious disease or illness, yet your beloved pet is not quite ready for euthanasia, there is now an in-between time where you can focus on gentle care, comfort and quality of life.
It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of providing such care for our pets would be considered implausible. Let’s be thankful that we are living in a more understanding and kind world as far as animals are concerned. Yes, we have a long, long way to go! But we are making strides, nevertheless. I am sure that the readership of Catnip represents the very best of the animal lovers out there who are trying to make a difference.