Yesterday was National Love Your Pet Day. Since I was busy posting my menu for the week yesterday, I thought I’d talk about our family’s love of pets today. We recently lost our kitten, GoGo. He got hit by a car, which seems to be the way things go around here lately. We can’t seem to keep a kitten till their first birthday. Heaven knows we have plenty of older cats. That seems to be the “litmus test” for a family pet: survive a year and you’ll be ours F-O-R-E-V-E-R. But no matter what we do lately we can’t seem to keep that curiosity of the kitten from killing the cat.
Perhaps we are a bit too lax in our protection of them at such a young and curious age, perhaps it’s just “bad luck”, or maybe it’s just the nature of cats. We have a cat/dog door and a fenced back yard and 7 (make that 6) pets. So we let them come and go as they please.
With so many pets it’s nearly impossible to make sure they’re all in for the night and then there is the problem of litter boxes. We have 2 OLD (16+ years) cats that once belonged to my aunt and now live in my bedroom/bathroom. They have their own litter box, feeding area, and beds. We have 2 Siamese cats that adopted us and mainly come in only to eat or nap on an especially cold or hot day. They make it especially difficult to have a policy of locking the pets inside at night since they can’t even be counted on to come in at dinnertime.
We also have a female orange tabby that is about 6 years old and has developed a kidney problem in the past year. She has moved herself upstairs into our oldest daughter’s bedroom and expects her meals (a special diet for her kidneys, of course) to be served to her there. She also let it be known that she expected bathroom facilities to be provided. So that’s litter box and separate “catabitat” (cat + habitat, get it?) number two. I guess it could be “catabitat” number 3 if you count the 2 Siamese who live primarily outdoors (at least they don’t require a litter box). And don’t forget the dog, the 60lb dog, for whom the doggie door is a complete necessity or he’d drive us all crazy barking to be let in and out all day (just so he could go out and bark at a passing car, or a neighbor, or a bird, or a cat, or a…).
GoGo managed to live contentedly within the bounds of all of these separate “catabitats” Or so we thought. Apparently there wasn’t enough excitement around here for him, although that’s hard to imagine with our “zoo”. Or perhaps there wasn’t enough hunting for a young mouser, even though our yard was overrun by moles last year and the cats still haven’t managed to kill half of them (but they do try). Or perhaps it was just that feline curiosity to see the world beyond his fence. We’ll never know.
What we do know is that we miss him terribly and although several friends have offered to “replace” him, we know that is an impossible task. We may be ready for a new kitten someday, but not until we figure out how to be responsible kitten owners on the street where we live. We have to figure out how to give him his freedom to be a cat but still protect him. And, most importantly, we have to finish grieving over GoGo before we can be ready to love a new cat.