Bye, Kitty

In 1999, like everyone else, I moved to San Francisco and got a job at a “dot-com” company. I was paid generously in stock options and would surely be a tens-of-thousands-aire in no time. My company was Petopia.com, the internet pet paradise. (Notice you’ve never heard of it.)

Unlike stuffy non-dot-com organizations, we had a dogs welcome policy and even had an impressive astroturf dog park in the office. One morning I was sent on an errand to the local SPCA to pick up a turtle habitat for the office. (Totally normal, right?)

This SPCA is unlike anything I had ever seen. Each cat and dog had his or her own apartment. What? You, mean cage. No, apartment. Large rooms furnished variably with bedroom, living room, even dining room furniture. The apartments were so nice, that during one particularly harsh winter storm the city housed the homeless there. (I don’t know what they did with the cats and dogs during this time. Or how they kicked the homeless people back out onto the streets in order to give the apartments back to homeless cats and dogs.)

While walking down the cat wing, I saw an apartment door was ajar. As I went to close it so the little kitty didn’t get lost, I saw the cat inside and decided I could spare a few minutes to go into her house and hang out. She was amazing. Orange long fur, demure, affectionate. I was smitten. Without thinking, or talking to my roommate or boyfriend (now husband) I adopted the cat.

I returned to work not with a turtle habitat, but with a cat. Again, totally normal. I was given an empty conference room to set the cat up for the rest of the day, and later brought her home to a surprised roommate and a reluctant boyfriend.

Fast forward a few plane rides, several apartments and houses, a couple of babies and countless tons of cat fur, and it brings us to today, when I put the cat to sleep. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made and I’m not sure it was the right one, but it’s done. I held her in my arms as she drifted away. It’s only been a couple of hours, but my house already feels emptier.

No Superwoman Here

Generally I feel confident in my abilities to do just about anything. I figure if someone else can do it, then I probably can too. This is the attitude I had at 9-years-old when I decided the bar in my closet needed to be raised from little-kid height to normal-person height. I got my dad’s tools, removed the brackets from the wall, repositioned them, re-screwed them in, and replaced the bar. (Sorry, Mom.) I actually did a fine job and the bar is still holding strong today, level and everything. It’s the attitude I had when I decided to try galloping and jumping a horse for the first time, when I traveled alone through Kenya, and when we moved to the middle of nowhere and I decided I could just take Luke everywhere by bike.

Lately though, I just want someone else to deal with it. Like yesterday when I was driving through the freezing rain with a very cranky teething Sally and I got a flat tire. Sure I could have jacked the car up, struggled with the bolts, and put the spare on. As I imagined myself out in the freezing rain, I thought: “If I look sad and helpless enough, some guy will surely pull over to help me, right?” That’s right, I wanted to pull the helpless female card. Instead, I decided to go ahead and ruin the tire by driving it to my mechanic, so he could change it.

It wasn’t long before I was a damsel in distress again. Just before 3:00 this morning the cat started going nuts. She was chasing some living thing all around the bedroom.

“Tim, do you want to get up and see what that is and take care of it?”

“Nope.”

He rolled over and went back to sleep and I stayed in bed listening to the hunt. Sure, I could have gotten up and taken care of it, but mice make me scream and stand up on furniture – something I’m not proud of, but accept about myself.

After the sleepless night I got my favorite cords down from the shelf. As I began putting them on, a squirrel fell out of them and ran under the bed. A squirrel was in my pants!! Naturally I screamed and jumped up on the bed. Luke came in at the sound of my scream, and when I screamed again as the squirrel darted across the room he began to scream too. We huddled together on the bed while I (unsuccessfully) explained that the squirrel is more scared of us, that it won’t hurt us, etc. My continued periodic screaming did not effectively underline my point.

Finally Tim came out of the shower to find me and Luke screaming on the bed. He informed me that the bed is not the safe haven I was taking it for. Apparently the whole ordeal started when he felt an animal (non-cat) on the bed in the middle of the night and kicked it off. That’s right, folks. The squirrel was on our bed and Tim just went back to sleep. I scooped up Luke and ran from the room shutting Tim, the cat, and the squirrel in there together. They deserved each other.

Tim eventually caught the squirrel and released it. Had he not been home, the squirrel and cat would still be locked together in the bedroom and I’d stay out of the house until he came home tonight to deal with it.

I know that I’m not presenting the best example of female strength and ability for my kids. I try to be the mom who can do it all: I unclog toilets, release toys from their Fort-Knox packaging and then put them together, mow the lawn, cook (fabulous) meals with a baby on my hip, and bravely receive flu shots. But a squirrel in my pants? Changing a tire with snow on the ground and sleet coming down? No, thanks. I’ll outsource those. After all, the ability to delegate needs to be modeled too, right?

 

Cat Killer?

I know that this blog is supposed to be all about motherhood and parenting and my kids, and this entry isn’t at all about any of that. But it’s my blog and I can do what I want to. Right now, my big problem is my cat.

I’ve written about her before. My sad, anxiety ridden cat. My cat who has ruined our carpeting, several throw blankets, baby blankets and playmats and recently 2 pieces of my sectional couch. My cat who for the last year, has been peeing (and sometimes pooping) all over my house. It’s been a year, a year, of this and I’ve had enough.

Prozac was meant to be the last chance. Now even that has failed and I’m faced with a really hard choice: put her to sleep or keep her, knowing that she will continue to pee on things until at some point in the future things get so bad that I’ll be faced with this choice again. Adoption isn’t an option. She’s a 15-year-old, indoor cat who pees inappropriately. Taking her to a no-kill shelter isn’t a good option either as I feel like it’s not a kindness to her. She’d be so unhappy, and unhappiness is her big problem. Sequestering her isn’t an option either. We’ve done that and it only made things worse.

Am I really capable of packing my cat into her carrier, bringing her to the vet and having them kill her? Because she pees?? I wish this was more black and white. I wish she was sick, in pain, suffering. I wish I wasn’t the grown up here and that this problem could just go over my head to the person who is really in charge.

Right now she’s on my lap. This sucks. I thought I was going to be putting her down today, but I can’t. If I’m going to do it at all, it will have to wait for Friday when I have some time with no kids so I can take care of it. Am I a very bad person to consider this? Am I going to be wracked with guilt for the rest of my life if I do it?