Here is an example of how things can go wrong when you own a domestic cat. It can go wrong to the point where you want to give up your cat. And it can also go wrong when you are a confirmed cat person. If you feel compelled to give up your cat when you love cats it creates a lot of emotional friction and unhappiness.
It gradually dawned on this woman that she should probably rehome her cat. She adopted her cat four years ago when she was a kitten. They formed a bond because her kitten helped her adjust to living on her own in a new city.
Then she met a man who is allergic to cats and who is not a cat person. As a four-year-old cat she is rambunctious and gets into everything. The woman says that her cat “tests authority”. I have to say that I disagree with her comment. Owning a cat is not about having authority over your cat and your authority being tested. It is about getting on together and accommodating each other’s preferences and desires (yes, cats do adapt). You can see how she might fall out with her cat because her attitude is not quite correct in my opinion.
Also, she met a man who doesn’t like cats. In an ideal world when a woman meets a man I think she should ask whether he at least accepts the presence of a cat in the home. That might be an impossible objective but I think it is a fair one because your cat was there first and you love your cat. You promised you would look after your cat for the length of her life. You are asking for trouble if you jeopardize that objective when you love cats.
The lady also says that her cat had to recover from surgery and has become anxious and difficult to manage. Her cat becomes upset even when she leaves the room. I wonder whether her cat is becoming anxious because she is living in a home with a man who doesn’t like cats?
To compound the problem, the woman is away for 12 hours a day. This obviously makes the relationship almost untenable. I always think that there is a misconception about cats being independent and accepting being alone all day. People choose domestic cat over dogs because they think that cats fit in better with their busy lives. I don’t really accept that argument. Yes, you can leave a cat alone for a long time and he/she will cause less problems but that does not mean the cat accepts it. There will be unhappiness and perhaps cat separation anxiety or at least your cat might become stressed with accompanying health issues. I don’t think it is possible to own a domestic cat if you are away from home 12 hours a day every day. Once again, this may be too stringent a criterion but it’s my opinion.
To return to the story. After several months living with her fiance he said that she would have to find a new home for her cat because it wasn’t working out for everyone. She did not admit it to her fiance but she had already considered rehoming. In short, she had made up her mind to relinquish her cat. She agreed to her fiance’s request to relinquish but wanted to attach conditions to it. She said that if they ever got pets again she wanted to have the final say. And that her fiance had to get rid of the salt water fish! I don’t think that helped either.
Finally, she says that the guilt of giving up her cat is crushing her. Saying goodbye to her will “rip me into pieces”. She asked advice from an agony aunt: “How do I navigate this?” Incidentally, in case you wondered,
the agony agrees that the cat should be rehomed.
I think that it is a good example of how cat ownership can go wrong even when you’re a cat lover and a decent person. And by going wrong I mean that you admit failure by giving away your cat. This really must be the very last resort because you have to live with the failure. This won’t concern a lot of people but if you love cats it will concern you, it will hurt you emotionally and it will put your cat through stress at best.
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