As some of you know I have two cats – Petie and Kip – and a rotating foster. Truth be told, my foster has been more static than rotating of late. Little Haddie girl has been with me for quite some. I can’t lie, I’ve toyed with the idea of adopting her (even the rescue group I work with asks how long I intended to keep up the ruse). But for me the question of whether or not to adopt her is complicated.
Haddie was under one pound when she was both found flea-ridden and with a raging herpes infection (in both eyes). The vet feared she would lose her eyes, but thankfully both were saved after several surgeries and lots of healing time. By the time she got to me she was 4 months old requiring eye drops every few hours and ointment twice a day (I literally had to rub it into her eye-ball!). She was a trooper and withstood the poking and prodding without putting up a fight.
When I first got her she was also batting a cold and since her eyesight was compromised she relied heavily on her sense of smell. I could hear her sniffling loudly through her congested nose from the next room as she gingerly navigated the apartment.
I’ll never forget the day I walked back into the apartment after having been out running errands to find her curled up and sleeping in the exact same spot I’d left her an hour earlier. Upon closer examination it became clear that she wasn’t sleeping at all. Her little eyelids were glued shut and she was quietly waiting for someone to release her from her forced respite.
What followed were multiple daily sessions in the bathroom with the hot water running at full blast. I sat on the tiles surrounded in fog with little Hattie on my lap trying to open up her sinuses (do cats have those?) so she could breathe, and gently pressing warm cotton balls to her eyelids to free her from darkness.
Haddie was adopted but returned a few weeks later, something about not getting along with the resident cat (they kept her in the bathroom all that time !). She’s back with me now at about 10 months old. She hates going to PETCO on the weekends and seems to have a sixth sense because Saturday morning find her under my bed even before I’ve taken out her carrier.
So why don’t I adopt her? Here are a few of my struggles:
- The tipping point. The cat tipping point that is. One cat is acceptable. Two cats can be justified because the first cat needs a friend. Three cats = cat lady. Now this isn’t just a personal theory. The cat tipping point has been validated by highly non-scientific primary research (conducted by me) and it’s interesting to note it also applies to single women with dogs. An equal opportunity tipping point. Even my catless coworker (whom I suspect is a closet cat lover) recounts his friend’s 70-year-old father warning him to “Beware the Third Cat” when it comes to single women.
- I’d like to continue fostering and three full-time cats + foster = four cats. Regardless of what people would think, that’s a lot of cats to clean up after in a NYC one-bedroom. I can barely keep the apartment livable and provide enough loving with three two cats and a foster.
- I’ve had other fosters who’ve been much more affectionate. Jasper (aka Jaspy), for example used to literally hug me by putting his paws around my neck, and my dad is convinced he unbuttoned his shirt once. I have two less-than-affectionate boys as it is, don’t I deserve a lap-cat?
- While she had a rough start she isn’t a desperate case (missing limb, eye etc). If someone else will take her and love her that’s all that matters right? One of the women who does rescue with City Critters ended up getting her fourth cat because this cat was completely evil with anyone but her (talk about a sign!). If I get a third it should be a less adoptable, specially-abled cat.
But I’ve found myself keeping her home from PETCO some weekends, and was secretly relieved to learn renovations mean an end to adoption weekends for a while.
This past Saturday I received a call confirming I was bringing Haddie to the adoption van procured for that weekend in lieu of the space at PETCO. I hadn’t remembered committing to bringing her but felt guilty since they’d gone through the trouble of getting the van.
I went upstairs to look for Haddie who was, of course, hiding under the bed in the corner furthermost from me. I grabbed her rather unceremoniously and with her in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other (I knew I couldn’t leave it upstairs as Kip would have gotten to it in a nano-second and knocked it over) teetered down the stairs on my platform espadrilles (I was en route to brunch when I had received the call).
One step from the landing I tripped over my platforms and the next thing I knew both Haddie and the coffee flew out of my hands. My dress ended up over my head and I landed squarely into the tray of cat wet food with both cheeks. It was like some elaborate booby trap from “Home Alone.”
Running super late for brunch I had to rinse off and change my outfit. Haddie 1, Tamar 0.
Of course I have to wonder if that was a sign from an higher power that Haddie is meant to stay…