As an example (no more), how irritated do you become if your cat is sick on the floor or on your bed and you have to clean it up?
- You smile and totally accept it as part of the possibilities of day to day living with a domestic cat or
- You are mildly irritated or
- You shout at your cat and fling him on the floor from your bed so half the sick is on the bed and half is in your shoes on the floor or on the carpet.
If you’re in category 3, can you honestly say that you are suited and should you consider finding a good caretaker? That does not mean dumping your cat at the nearest animal “shelter”. Please, no. That is tantamount to killing your cat, almost, which is not the way to go on ethical grounds.
I wonder how many people have ended up with a cat that they now secretly regret adopting or keeping. Things change.
Perhaps five years ago, you had a girlfriend and she wanted a cat. You agreed, to please her. She cleared off two years later and left you the cat. Or, more usually, your daughter asks for a kitten and you reluctantly relent after she has pestered you for an eternity. You regretted the decision thereafter because you ended looking after the cat and you don’t really like cats enough to be committed to the task.
It is not fair on the cat (or you, really) to keep a cat that you don’t really, honestly want to keep. Cats know when things aren’t working out. The always find the right home eventually if they have the chance to search.
Cats find homes like water finds the lowest point. It is just a question of time. How many cats have been adopted from an unknown source because they came to a person who was clearly (to the cat) a decent cat caretaker. Cats can tell.
A person who is less than committed to cat caretaking – and it is a responsibility on many levels – can make their task more onerous because the cat can become stressed. The relationship can deteriorate and when that happens the person is liable to relinquish his cat. The relationship is managed by the caretaker.
There has to be a wide spectrum in respect of cat caretaking quality and it all happens behind closed doors so we don’t know what the quality is.
The key to avoiding the situation where you have become ambivalent about continuing to care for your cat is to ask some searching questions before adopting a cat for whatever reason and to answer the questions honestly. The questions should be based on a clear knowledge of what it takes to successfully care for a cat over the lifetime of the cat.