We almost had a new kitten in our family this week.
I know, I know, I know. Everyone that has been following my Twitter feed for the last year must be completely exasperated right now. Even if you only checked in once or twice, you probably know that I almost brought home a kitten approximately 8,760 times in the last twelve months. Every time I came close, something held me back.
It’s kind of silly. In January I wrote a post outlining some of the reasons I was even considering bringing a new animal into our home. January. It is now November and I am no where further along in my decision-making process. Or at least I wasn’t until recently.
I cannot deny that guilt was one of the largest factors pressuring me into bringing another cat home. Our shelters are inundated with stray and abandoned cats every year. Due to breeding, the spring and summer are the worst. Every single shelter and rescue in the province is full to capacity for most of the year, leaving many cats to fend for themselves outside. If I could help alleviate the burden, even by taking in just one little kitten, I would feel like I was doing my part. It would feel like I was helping in a truly meaningful way.
So I thought about it. Then I talked about it. Then I thought about it some more. The thing is, my PH was not able to offer any constructive advice. If it were up to him, we would have at least four dogs and eight cats by now – whether we had the space or not. The decision was my own to make. I kept putting it off.
Maybe next month, I’d think. When we’re not so busy. The next month would come and I’d hesitate because things would be just as crazy. Maybe when we finally get some holiday time, I’d say. Perhaps in the fall. It’s practically winter now and still no cat.
This past week things finally came to a head. The opportunity was right in front of me to adopt a six-month old grey-and-white darling. Fully grown at four pounds, she is wee but she is also fiesty. The exact personality I would desire in a feline. Accepting of other cats and dogs, this young cat is extremely playful and smart. She appeared to be food motivated as well, which means she could be clicker-trained. Within a few months I’d probably have her walking on a leash. This cat is perfect for me and my goals in every single way. And yet something still held me back.
I’ve learned over the years to trust my instincts. When I don’t feel completely right about something, I try to figure out why. There was a little gremlin making weird noises in the back of my brain every time I thought about taking this kitten home. Even when I said it would just be for one night, just to see if she got along with our other pets. It still felt wrong.
The answer is now clear. When I decided I wanted to adopt a dog, the decision wasn’t an easy one but it felt natural. I was excited about the prospect. Though a little nervous, I knew I was up for the challenge. We had the time and the money and the determination. I was as ready as anyone could ever be. It is obvious, I am still not ready to adopt a second cat.
There are several reasons:
1. We can’t really afford it. It will be hard enough now if one of our pets has unexpected medical problems. Taking on a third is a financial burden we’re probably not ready for.
2. Our current living situation will be changing in the spring. It’s hard enough finding a place to rent with two animals. It might be best to wait until things have stabilized.
3. Time. I constantly feel guilty for not spending enough of my energy playing with Shiva and The Cat. Is it really fair to bring in another pet I won’t be able to devote myself to?
So for now, I am going to put off all thoughts of adopting a second cat and focus on doing more with the one we already have. I’ll still feel bad for not doing more to help the massive over-population issue, but sometimes NOT adopting is the right thing to do. Sometimes thinking twice about bringing an animal home is actually more beneficial in the end. Cats are abandoned in large numbers across my region every single day. If their previous owners had just said no to bringing home a new pet, they would be a lot better off.
Which of course means my cat is going to have to put up with my training attempts. I will get him to wear that leash. Oh yes. Mwahahahahaha!
ETA: Don’t worry about the fate of the spunky little kitten. Right after I decided not to adopt her, someone else did. If that isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is.