Having read the story of a 30 year old lady writing on the website metafilter.com I have to say that the answer to the question in the title is Yes. It sounds strange to say yes; it is all right to fall out of love with a cat that you loved and raised. This woman has owned her cat for the last eight years since she was a rescue kitten.
She takes excellent care of her cat. She provides the best cat food and does the best she can. The cat is a beautiful cat. There are no behavioural issues. Everything is stable in this good human-to-cat relationship. But is it stable? Everything changes gradually.
The woman says that she is just TIRED of owning a cat. She has gradually changed her feelings. People do change their feelings in relationships. This has to be accepted even though the commitment is and should be that cat ownership is for the life of the cat.
On MetaFilter.com the woman is asking permission of other people on the website for their approval that she can give up her cat to another cat owner. I think that she is asking permission of herself. She is seeking to reconcile her emotions to find a way to allow herself to give up her cat.
She said that she will make sure the new adopter is a good cat owner. She will make sure that her cat will be well looked after in the future.
The response from other visitors is overwhelmingly that they approve of her thoughts about giving up her cat. This is from good people, quite obviously, who understand what she is going through.
What is she going through? There have been changes to her life. She began to live alone two years ago and she lives in an apartment which is quite small. Circumstances mean that she can’t give her cat as much attention as she did in the past. She is dating a new boyfriend and that takes her away from the home.
Her job has a one-hour commute which also means that she spends less time at home. Then there are the little nuisances which have become trying for her. The cat litter smells. In a small apartment this can be a problem. It’s a problem even though she diligently cleans the cat litter tray as a good cat owner should.
She is tired of the wet cat food stinking after about two hours. We know how wet cat food goes off so quickly in the warm weather. She is tired of the fur and hair lying around the flat and the night-time struggles. What she means is that she is woken up intermittently by her cat. Her cat scratches at the door. Perhaps she locks her cat out of the bedroom. I don’t know. She says that she does not like her cat sleeping on her pillow because of the fur that she leaves behind. Therefore she closes the door to the bedroom while she’s at work. This leaves her cat with a much smaller space to live in. This concerns her.
She says she’s tired of forever cleaning after her cat. She is concerned about her cat because she feels that her home is too small and too boring for her. Essentially, her life has changed and her attitudes have changed and she is moving away from the time when she was in a situation where cat ownership was just fine.
“I just feel like I’ve slowly moved to a place in my life that isn’t ideal for a cat, and I just feel an obligation in doing this for another decade of my life, even though I would do it because it’s the right thing to do…
I would never put her in a situation where she would be hurt, abandoned, or at risk of euthanasia – I’m just thinking of asking my cat sitter friends if they want to adopt her.”
Clearly, she is an excellent, thoughtful cat caretaker/guardian. Her life has changed and she feels guilty about giving up her cat. The point of this short post is that although all cat owners should prepare to look after their cat for the life of the cat, things change. They should be fully cognizant of how much it will cost to look after their cat over his/her lifetime and budget for it. They should resist giving up their cat unless under certain limited circumstances. But there are circumstances when even the most committed animal advocates would have to agree that it is all right for a person to surrender their cat even if the reasons, on the face of it, look rather frivolous. Even if the arguments are not that great. Even if the only reason really is that the cat owner has fallen out of love with her cat. Or was she never really suited to looking after a cat?