Sunday, 16 October 2011

Why I do not have a cat

This is such an uncomfortable post to write. Yesterday started off as a thrilling day - one when my dream of a decade or more was finally becoming reality. I was going to a cat sanctuary to meet a cat who I was then going to bring home with me. I was so excited. I had assembled all the equipment you might need for an indoor cat. It was all set up.

I went off to the sanctuary and the cat they had for me hated me. It was nothing personal - she hated everyone. I spent a few minutes sitting with her and stroking the other cat in with her and then I held my hand out to her so she could have a sniff. She gouged a chunk out of my finger and drew blood. Then whenever I got closer than a metre to her she hissed and growled. Evina, the sanctuary owner, agreed that she probably wasn't quite ready to be rehoused at the moment. So she took me upstairs and I met a beautiful 3 year old called Cookie. We got on very well. It seemed we were good to go.
freeform suitcase
She came home with me. She was understandably nervous. I left her to explore and did some knitting and every half an hour or so would make some sort of friendly overture. She responded when I did this and then went back to her 'safe' spot. After a couple of hours she was settled enough to have some food and water and then she got straight on my lap. She was very affectionate and it suddenly struck me that I had taken on responsibility for this little cat. She was now completely dependant on me. I was the one who would be taking care of her and ensuring she came to no harm for the next 10+ years. And that absolutely terrified me.

Somehow I had been thinking about this for years and been planning this adoption for months without this fact becoming clear to me. I had been so utterly stupid. How could I have done this? I didn't feel like I was 100% responsible for myself and I'd taken on another 'person' as well? I tried to calm down. I tried rationalising. I called my Mum. She tried to calm me down and she rationalised. She offered to come up, to take the cat to their house til I was calmer but I knew very definitely that this was not something that would have a short term fix.
Evina had been very clear that the sanctuary never lost touch with any of their cats and that if there was a problem I should call day or night. It was about 5pm so I didn't feel too bad calling her and she was lovely. She was so calm and understanding. She said this had happened before and that it was a situation where it was hard to know how you would feel until it actually happened. She came over and took Cookie away while I tried to hold back my tears.

I'm trying to hold on to the fact that that this isn't "it". Flash is out of the country for work til the end of the month but has said some lovely things by email and text, as have Mum and Evina. Flash said that this wasn't the end of my getting a cat - it just meant that "Cookie wasn't Smackdown". Evina said that Cookie had had a lot of cuddles and affection and a new room to explore and would be going back to the friend she had been sharing a room with at the sanctuary and so would be quite happy. Mum said...lots of Mum type stuff. And I have been telling myself that I couldn't have predicted this, that it is a temporary setback, that it doesn't mean I'm ill or getting worse again.
But...the little voice. Not, you know, a voice, in my head, kind of thing, but the almost sub-concious murmurings we all have that undermine our confidence. At least I assume we all have them. Mine is a kind of town crier. The experience leaves me somewhat humiliated - since I have been going on about getting a cat this weekend to anyone who would listen - but with a little more self-knowledge.

To be honest I feel utterly shit. I wanted a cat so much but it's the wrong time for me. I need to be completely confident in myself before I can take on responsibility for anyone else. Still, I wish I could have discovered that a different way. And now I've got to spend the next few days explaining to everyone what happened.


Heather said...


Don't be too hard on yourself. You've had so much to cope with in the last couple of years. When it's right, it will happen xxx

suse-the-slow-knitta said...

don't beat yourself up about this. keeping a pet is a big commitment and you're not quite ready just yet.
but you will be.

Ynot said...

You are being honest with yourself and that is a VERY good thing! Most people don't manage it, yet it's the only way to make meaningful changes in your life.

There's no way to feel completely good about not being able to have a cat right now. That's a sad thing. But try to keep in the front of your mind that when you realized having Cookie was a mistake you quickly faced up to it and took action. Be proud of that.

KnittyLynn said...

I have a very dear friend who had the exact same thing happen when she bought a dog, and she has two sons. If it's not right it's not right. Also you do not owe any explanation to anyone regarding the cat. Just simply say it didn't work out and leave it at that.
Hang in there and take care of you.

Daisy said...

But you realised so quickly and did something about it - loads of people wouldn't have acted responsibly like that!

Probably Jane said...

Good for you for being so honest with yourself and taking action to make things right - it takes real courage to do that.

knittingsal said...

Don't be hard on yourself, at least you thought about it, and realised that now is not the right time. Try not to worry about what people think, as once you walk away, they don't give a second thought to you. Hugs (from a strange stranger!!)

Anonymous said...

That strikes me as an extremely responsible thing to have done - how many people would have realised the enormity of the situation and then ploughed on, kept the kitty and had to give her back later? Earlier is better for you both.
Equally, many other people don't ever seem to realise the enormity of the responsibility of a pet, which is even worse.
You could perhaps visit her for strokes?
The right time will come.
{{{{{Sending anonymous, albeit heartfelt, interweb hugs.}}}}}

Sarah said...

You are definitely not alone. I waited years and years before I finally lived somewhere that would let me have a cat. The first three days I had him, I cried non stop about all of the things you probably thought of. While he was sitting in my lap purring. (I was unmedicated at the time, which didn't help!)


Aw. Don't feel bad Lixie. If it's not the right time it's not the right time. Time's change too.

Karen M said...

Now that it is the new year, it might be time rethink a cat. I have been through some hard times and my cat has been my therapy pillow and someone to think about besides myself. My life is better with her than without her. She's a little hard on the furniture but I have plans to buy a new set at IKEA with covers I can replace.

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