“How’d you get so many cats? Aren’t you afraid of turning into one of those crazy cat people?”
We’ve never actually sought out a feline child. But, if a kitten in need has shown up on our door step and there was ‘room at the inn’, we’ve done what we could to give them a hand.
Our past is filled with animal antidotes … the emaciated campground cat we canceled our vacation for…in order to get to the veterinary urgent care; the two feral cats who welcomed our food and make-shift shelters during their twilight years, but never allowed us to touch them; and the many cats we fostered (often during brutal winter weather) until a permanent home could be found for them. Although no longer with us, I miss every one of those feline friends. But, we’ve never taken in more than we could care for … so, no … not crazy. Well … not crazy in that manner.
Our current furry kids all came to us while we were farming in Port Townsend. Desmond and Harlee were siblings we took in as part of a deal with our neighbors. If they would spay and neuter their farm cats, then we would take in their last litter. Gus, on the other hand, was already a young adult when he began appearing around our farmland. We assumed he was a ‘boarder’ at one of the neighbor’s homes. Whenever we saw him from afar, we’d talk to him and he would meow in response, but he kept his distance until one day when he showed up wounded on our door step, all skin and bones and unable to walk on one foot.
We asked around the neighborhood searching for his human family, but no one claimed the little guy, so we took him to the pet doctor for treatment and a ‘microchip check’(none found). In the weeks following, as we nursed him to health, Gus quickly let us know he was a domesticated cat, who expected to be allowed an indoor sleeping room at night. He has been with us since.
“Maybe you shouldn’t be leaving the country, if you have feline responsibilities.”
Well…ouch…that one hurt. But, we totally get it. And we do see them as our responsibility. They are important to us. We love them. And please trust me when I say we are struggling with the thought of leaving our small companions in the care of others for over two years….especially when we know there is no way to explain to them that we are coming back for them. We are not ‘dumping’ or ‘abandoning’ them. We are trying to find another responsible person to care for them while we are out of the country.
Both Stew and I let intuition guide us. When we do so, things work out right and blocked paths become cleared. I have no explanation for it….but, it happens. The decision to go into Peace Corps came from nowhere and hit both of us at the same time. It was actually a little shocking to bring the subject up and find our partner having the same thoughts. Since that decision, we have been propelled quickly down a path that should have held multiple ‘stoppers’ and taken longer…..but didn’t. It is happening so fast, we can only feel it is the right direction for us to take. We are both extremely anxiety ridden about how we can make sure our babies will remain safe, while we are out of the country. But, I can’t help but believe someone out there is going to shelter our children. I know we have adjusted our lives to make room for furry kids in the past….and will most likely do it in the future. We are certainly nothing special….so, it stands to reason there are others out there willing to help us out for a couple years.