Most of my friends know how anti-glurge I am. You know those massive e-mails folks send out, discussing how a seemingly insignificant act of kindness saved some one's life. (I'm sure most of you got the one about the kid who picked up some books a nerdy student dropped. He walks the nerd home and they become friends. When the kids graduate high school, the nerd thanks the kid for picking up his books because the nerd planned to off himself that day and the kid helped him appreciate the joy of living. Whatever. It is an incredibly fake story. It didn't happen. But I digress.) I'm about to spread some glurge of my own.
I completed a visit tonight with one of my foster families, and I was outside, chatting with the foster parent. I spied a cat--quite a frequent visitor at this home--sitting just outside the door, cuddled by the house to absorb the heat.
The parent commented about how a neighborhood cat wouldn't leave the property since I made the mistake of petting it this fall. The foster parent then talked about how she believed it was a neighbor's cat, but the cat seemed to go through the trash and didn't really leave the property. She said she wondered if the owners abandoned the kitty, or if they were just negligent.
During the foster parent's monologue, I was scratching the kitty behind the ears, between the eyes, at the base of its tail. The cat responded in kind and purred and kneaded the fence he was laying on. The cat looked at me longingly. I picked it up, and the cat cuddled under my coat, purring even louder and rubbing its forehead under my chin.
"How sad," I sighed, "no one loves this kitty."
"Oh, I think someone does," the foster parent corrected and lifted her eyebrows.
"Hun would kill me." The cat snuggled closer and the purr grew louder. I am so dead.
I walked to my car, rationalizing that it would be only for a night or two. I could plaster the pic of the adorable creature and someone would snag it in a moment. Who cares if Hun is deathly allergic and I would have to take him in to the emergency room tonight because he stops breathing.
. . . That is, if I survived the car trip home. (Cats are notoriously bad for having major nervous freakdowns when confronted with a car ride. Most cat "owners" transport their feline companions in kennels if they need to take them anywhere.) I carried the cat to the car, and opened the door. I sat down with the cat in my lap and the door still open, to give the creature a chance to escape if it would be too much. The kitty stretched off my lap and explored the back seat. I turn the ignition. The cat looks at me, asking me with its eyes what the hell am I waiting for. I shrug my shoulders and assume it is fate. I close the door and head down the road.
The cat sits down and gets comfortable in the back seat. Doesn't make a sound, doesn't try to claw out my eyes. It just sits there, enjoying the ride. I can't believe it.
I drive along the road, and the cat pads over and takes its throne on the front passenger seat and snuggles next to my bag. I realize Hun and I are traveling on Saturday and won't be home for over a week. Who will take care of kitty, when the furry creature is moved to unfamiliar surroundings? We don't have any friends who can feed and love it while we're in Colorado for Decemberween. I scratch behind its ears as I ponder the moral dilemma.
Do I take a creature and bring it to a place it's unfamiliar to--knowing full well that I couldn't permanently keep it? A shelter wouldn't be open now. My boss might have a better idea of who could take the cat in. The cat didn't look like it was starving, and it seemed to be savvy enough to keep warm. It would be wrong to take it to our house with no one to care for it over the week. I really wanted it, though.
I turned the car around and drove it back to its trolling grounds. I stopped the car and opened the door. The cat looked at me again, asking me what the hell I was doing. I paused, wondering if there were any loopholes I missed in this dilemma. Unable to think of any, I picked up the cat and brought it outside. The cat leisurely scampered away into the night.
If anyone knows of a good cat-loving home in the Albany area or the Upper Hudson Valley, I would greatly appreciate it. I know of a good cat that enjoys random car rides with strangers. (I would also love to know the names and numbers of any area shelters--but I can google that.) I'm sure I will see the creature again. I will be making a plan in my head in case I face the same moral dilemma.
If you are the owner of a car-loving cat in the Upper Hudson Valley, then shame on you for keeping it out in the cold! I almost catnapped you pet! What if I were someone with malicious intent, hmmm?!
I feel guilty and heartbroken for leaving that kitty. I feel like Scrooge by doing nothing. But next time . . . well, I don't know what I'll do yet. I just need to figure that one out. Would it be better to leave the cat there, or to take it to a shelter or give it to someone else?