Thursday, October 19, 2006

Un-Adopted

Edited to add: I would like to thank everyone for the kind and supportive comments you left on this post. I would also like to apologize to anyone who may have attempted suicide after reading it because it was so damn depressing. On a lighter note, guess who came back last night? Cinco! Not sure if he's here to stay or not, but he came in around midnight to check in with us. I even got a few licks. Time will tell as to whether or not he's back for good.


Our cat has run away.

I can't tell you how sad I am. In the past, he's left for a couple days here and there, but he's never been gone this long. It's been four weeks.

The most horrible part about it is that I know why he left and that we are to blame, which makes it that much worse.

We got our cat about four years ago from the pound. Husband named him Cinco because we adopted him on our 5-year anniversary of having met. Cinco was scared of everything when we brought him home. He spent the first few hours in our house hiding in the window drapes. It was clear that although he was only a few months old, he had already been traumatized by people in some way because he was such a skittish and timid kitten.

Over time, we gained his trust until eventually he was part of our new family. When we left for work, he would stand at the window and watch us leave, his little, furry head peeking out from the drapes. I remember being teary-eyed on more than one occasion, thinking of him being home alone all day waiting for us to return. When we arrived home, he always greeted us at the door and when we scooped him up, he would give us wet kisses by licking us on the face. His favorite napping spot was Husband's chest.

You know, they say that people can't really "adopt" cats; that cats adopt people. And he had adopted us.

About three years later, we got a puppy. Husband had been begging me for one ever since we had gotten married and I had resisted for a long time, but when he brought me to see some Chow/Golden Retriever puppies, I caved. The cuteness was too much for me to resist. (I know, Mrs. Chicky, I know. This is not the reason to buy a dog. Lessons learned, my friend. Lessons learned.)

So we brought home our chowlet and named her Luna. Luna is a wonderful dog, but what we didn't bet on is that Cinco would not find her so wonderful. Luna and Cinco did not get along from the beginning. At all. Cinco was terrified of Luna. He hid under our bed for days to avoid her. But we were determined to make them friends. With the help of a dog behaviorist, we tried techniques to bring them together. But somehow everything we tried just seemed to further traumatize poor Cinco. Then, one day, Cinco literally lost control of his bowels when I tried to bring them close to each other. I decided I couldn't do that to him anymore.

So we developed a routine that worked for both of them. We kept them both, but they each developed their own territories in the house. Basically, Luna dominated the entire house and Cinco remained on our bed all day. It was hard to look at him and not feel that he was a prisoner in his own house. At night, Luna would sleep in the garage (which she loved to do by the way) and Cinco would come and go from the house as he pleased. It all worked out OK for the most part, but during the day, Cinco was like a captive. I felt bad, but there didn't seem to be any other way.

They lived together like this for three years. And then we had Little Guy. And moved. All within the same year. And along with this upheaval, I also decided to stop allowing Cinco in the house at night because I read that cats can suffocate babies in their cribs. (Note: even though the rational part of me said the whole suffocation thing was probably a wives' tale, the easily-freaked-out, irrational-new-mama side of me said better to be "safe than sorry.")

So that's where we found ourselves when, four weeks ago, he went missing.

After he'd been gone for a couple weeks, I began to fear that he may have been hurt - perhaps, run over by a car. There had to be some reason why he hadn't come back yet. We went to a couple of our neighbors to ask if they had seen him. No one had.

Then finally, last week, an elderly neighbor two doors down said he had seen him in his yard. At that point, three weeks had gone by and I wasn't convinced that it was Cinco at all. I mean, surely Cinco would have come home by now if he were well and only two doors down. I gave him some food to put out for the cat. Just in case it was Cinco, I at least wanted him to have access to some food in case he was starving.

Then finally, two nights ago, I saw him. Sure enough, he was hanging around our neighbor's yard. I carefully crept up to him, and though it took some coaxing, he came over to me. I petted him for about 10 minutes and examined his coat. I expected him to look frail and haggard, but he looked great. His coat was shiny and he looked like he had been eating. In fact, he looked better than before he left us.

And that's when it hit me. He looked better than before he left us. Not only had someone obviously been taking care of him, but they had been taking better care of him then we had.

I scooped him up and carried him home. He resisted the whole way, and when I got him inside he jumped from my arms, scampered into our bedroom, and immediately hid under our bed. I felt like I had brought him back to a prison. It felt horrible.

That night after Luna had been "put to bed" in the garage, I put out Cinco's food and water on our back porch and let him outside. As soon as I let him out, he dashed right past his food bowl, ran across the yard, and leapt over the fence, headed in the direction of our neighbor's yard.

He was gone. Again. But this time, I knew he had left because he wanted to. He left because he couldn't stand living with us anymore. Because we had let him down. Because we are bad parents and haven't been able to figure out how to give him a good life in our home.

And that's also when I realized that we've been un-adopted.

I can't blame him, but I have no idea what to do about it. Or if I should do anything about it. But I can tell you one thing, being un-adopted feels like shit. Complete and total shit.

49 Comments:

Blogger Red Rollerskate said...

Oh, MoTR, I am so sorry. I totally understand. I came to a difficult decision a few months ago when I realized our cat is SO not happy here. He spends the entire day in our bedroom hiding from all the daycare kids, and when I am finally alone (kid free) he sits on my lap and purrs desperately, starved for attention. So I listed him on Craigslist as being "free to a good home." I felt that he could have a better home elsewhere. (No one is claiming him because he is old.)

That said, I think you loved your Cinco more than I love our Kramer. That sounds mean of me to say. I've never felt super attached to this cat, but I still want him to have a better life.

You are grieving in a way because he was like your baby. I'm sorry. Try to be assured and remember that he probably has another mommy (or "aunt," if that makes it easier) who does not have children, and maybe has no real life at all. Perfect.

Does that help at all?

12:02 AM  
Blogger Red Rollerskate said...

>>Try to be assured and remember that he probably has another mommy (or "aunt," if that makes it easier) who does not have children, and maybe has no real life at all.

I meant that the "aunt" probably has no real life at all, so she has plenty of time for the cat. Thought I should clarify.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

I'm sorry. I hope he is happy though. He didn't seem very happy before. Too many 'threats' to him. I hope he found a nice solo person with a quiet home to take care of him...

I know how you feel...unadopted. So sorry.

4:03 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

You're making me cry, dammit. There are times when I secretly wish that one of my cats would un-adopt us but I know I would feel a horrible loss if that happened.

Sorry, hon, I know it feels awful. I know it sounds cliche but maybe it's for the best. Gak. I choked on that as I wrote it. This situation sucks. Big hugs to you.

4:58 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I'am so sorry you fel this way it must suck in a major way. I cant imagine if my dog did this to me....after Madison my 9 yr old was born....my dog hid from me and stayed away...he would sleep in his pet taxi at night...when normally he laid right between hubby and I...it broke my heart..one night I laid outside the taxi and cried.....something happended though that night and Lucky....came back to sleep with us. He is our oldest..of course.....we have had him for 12 years.....so of course I took it very personal.....when I brought baby home last year he just looked at me like Not again?????? But he adjusted better....I'm sorry this is happening to you....in time it will be okay....think of it this way at least he is happy.

5:07 AM  
Blogger theotherbear said...

Aww how horrible. I have a cat that is a little 'special' and I think she would have similar issues if I locked her out. She has always had some issues, so we got a second cat for company. Big mistake, years later they still hate each other and our vet tells us the reason why the first cat is so odd is because she is so stressed, and she either hates us or something/someone in the home. I hope it's just the other cat, not us as well. Sometimes I feel bad for her then she tries to scratch my eye out as I cuddle her and I don't feel so bad for her any more. Yeah I know that is mean.

5:23 AM  
Blogger Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

It is hard to accept that someone you love so much could be so much better off with someone else. I had to give up my little dog for adoption because he was so overly protective of me that he became aggressive towards my boys and began snapping at them when they were playing with me. I had to realize that he needed someone that could devote their attention to him without any distractions. I gave him to a no-kill SPCA shelter that said he would be adopted very quickly because he is affectionate and small. Even though I know it was what was best, it was almost unbearably difficult to let him go.

I'm so sorry to hear about your situation with Cinco.

5:35 AM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

I would be sad also...
my in lawys had a cat for 14 years... and he would go off for days and sometimes weeks at a time... then they had a neighborhood party (after 13 1/2 years--- introverts!) and met a ton of neighborhood families and the cat came out.. and they met his adopted 2nd family... it ended up for the last like 10 years he had been double dipping with another family in their neighborhood...
so, after writing this little story.. I have to say I know you are hurt and sad, but your sweet kitty is probably double dipping and will more then likey show its face again in the future...
HUGS TO YOU!

5:43 AM  
Blogger Guinevere Meadow said...

Wow, that's gotta hurt like heck. I'm so sorry!

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Momish said...

I can hear how completely heartbroken you are, as I would be. I wish there was a cinderella ending, but at least you know he is safe and he seems happy. But, yeah, that sucks! We too had to give away one of our cats due to the miserable existance she had at our home. It tore me apart, but I kept telling myself it was for the better. It really was the best thing for her, but to this day I hate myself for it.

6:18 AM  
Blogger bubandpie said...

Oh, that is awful. But I'm glad - really glad - that Cinco is okay.

6:52 AM  
Anonymous chelle said...

awww I totally know how you feel! We got a dog after having our cat for years, the dog and cat got along ok, but the cat remained hiding a lot. We had to give the dog to my cousin when we moved to the US, (broke my heart) and that is when I realized how much the cat had suffered. He was so happy all the time and he is so good to our toddler!

At least Cinco is happy and healthy.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

I'm sooooo sorry. I feel that way about our daughter, Hadley sometimes. There's a family down the street that she ADORES and every time she sees them, she ditches us without a second thought. Painful when it happens to a pet but worse when it happens to your kid. Fortunately, she doesn't have a choice!

7:49 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

You can't blame yourself. You can't control cats. You can walk a dog, but a cat walks you. You gave Cinco a great and wonderful home. He learned to trust humans because of you.

7:59 AM  
Blogger something blue said...

Take some comfort in the fact that Cinco is happy, healthy and you may get to see him from time to time. It would be nice to know who else is caring for him.

(Big Hugs)

8:05 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

AWWW, that's a sad sad story MOTR. I hope the cat is happy in his new home. Maybe he's just sitting on some old man's lap all day watching Price is Right, sans any dogs. Who wouldn't love that? :)

8:21 AM  
Blogger Chantal said...

(((MOTR)))) That sucks, eh?

Does the neighbour have any interest in adopting Cinco?

8:25 AM  
Blogger Piece of Work said...

Oh. That is terrible. I can't imagine how you feel, but at least Cinco seems happy where he is now.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Pattie said...

Ouch. I am sorry about Cinco leaving you. It must be painful, but at least he is happy. I hope that is some consolation for you.

Many years ago, and long before kids, we lived in a duplex house. We had neighbors upstairs that had a cat. We loved their cat. In fact, their cat would come over and we would feed him and pet him. He never wanted to leave. Our neighbors couldn't figure out why their cat didn't want to come home anymore....then....the secret came out. They fed him dry cat food and we gave him "Fancy Feast".....it was all about the food, and nothing more. Once we cut him off, he wanted nothing to do with us. *LOL*

9:31 AM  
Blogger Gingers Mom said...

That is terribly sad. I am very sorry. More or less the same thing happened to us. Our cat was mad when we got a dog and then we had a baby. She started peeing all over the carpet in revenge though. When she left I was not so traumatized.
It is especially sad because you obviously love him and want the best for him.

9:46 AM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

MOTR, I am SOOO sorry. Before he went to the big litter box in the sky, I had Jesse the Cat for 18 years. Nothwithstanding his occasional, random peeing away from the litter box, I would have been heartbroken if he had left. But,if Cinco is alive and happy and he's still living in the neighborhood, maybe that can be some solace.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Waya said...

Oh, that is just horrible. Poor you and Cinco too. I hope Cinco will be ok. I think that's why we only have gold fish.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Moobs said...

My mother in law, despite express instructions to the contrary looked her benign but energetic and mental spaniel in a room with our timid cat so that they could "get to know each other". We were cleaning trhe room for weeks.

One of my former girlfriends had two cats that fought non-stop and each member of her family took a side. Each cat would only give the time of day to a human they felt was in their camp.

1:53 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

You are right. Being "un-adopted" feels horrible.

If it is any consolation, our 2 dogs took off a week after we moved to Alaska for the summer (in a pretty remote area mind you), and returned after 6 weeks in the wilderness, in an unfamiliar area, and a little grungy, but otherwise healthy.

Bug Hug.

Carrie

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

I'm so sorry, Sweetie. So sorry. It sucks when a part of your family isn't the fit you thought it would be, and it hurts when a pet runs away. I'm so sorry that through circumstances, you found out it was by Cinco's choice. But maybe there's comfort in knowing he's being taken care of and that someone else loves him too, and he's happy. And you don't have to feel bad that he's pent up in a small space, that he has some freedom and doesn't have to be scared of a dog anymore.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Virtualsprite said...

Oh, sweetie! I am so sorry. It just blows when you get un-adopted. One of my barn cats did that and it hurt like hell. Hopefully Cinco is happier and you will get through this.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

Thanks a lot. What a totally effing (can I swear on here?) depressing story.

I'm going to go have a drink, or two or three and pet my cat, whom I can't stand.

Man, you're a downer MOTR.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Leilouta said...

LOL to "I'm going to go have a drink, or two or three and pet my cat, whom I can't stand."

I feel the same about my cat :P

6:34 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Oh Sweetie, my heart goes out to you and your family. I can only imagine how that hurts. On the other hand, I'm sure it's a bittersweet relief that he seems to be okay.

In other words... what everyone else said. And a big hug, too.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Wow. Cats are like teenagers -- only cats can actually do what they want and un-adopt their family. I never knew that.

Sorry to hear about it though.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Catch said...

well if Cinco is happier with the neighbors and the neighbors want him, at least you know he is taken care of. I dont think Cinco rejected you..I think he rejected the dog. And I do think
that is an old wives tale about cats. They dont smother babies. and if Cinco has found a kid-free and dog-free home...he gets all the attention! Try not to be sad about it, try to be glad Cinco is happy now!

9:32 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I'm so sorry! I'm not a cat girl, but I would be sad if our new puppy ran away. I'm sorry!!!!

9:35 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Thanks for all the supportive words. It seems funny to be so emotional over a cat, but I can't help it.

RR: I didn't know you had to give up your cat!! Sorry to hear that. It would help to know that Cinco was with someone who could really care for him. I would be happy if that were the case. I just have to find out who is taking care of him. If they really wanted to keep him and he was happier there, I would let him go.

Jen: "one night I laid outside the taxi and cried" You do understand. Thanks for sharing your story.

theotherbear: I know what you mean. When Cinco gets a little aggressive it is harder to feel that unconditional love! He usually doesn't scratch, but he's had his moments.

celebrate woo-woo: thanks for sharing your story. I can imagine that must have been really difficult for you. we have thought about giving up our dog, Luna, because of all of this but haven't gone there yet. I didn't know there were no-kill SPCAs. That's good to know.

Lindsay: Maybe he IS double dipping as you said. That's a great way to put it and doesn't sound so awful.

Momish: I have been torn about whether to give up Cinco too. If I think I can find him a better home, I would do it. But I know I would always feel bad at the same time - like I had abandoned him.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Chelle: it helps to hear from others who have gone through this same thing. I'm glad it all worked out for you and you found a good home for your dog.

Amber: you're cracking me up. thanks for the comic relief.

Jodi: love the thought of him sitting in an old man's lap watching the Price is Right. That is exactly what I want for him. No joke.

Pattie: that is SO funny about the food AND interesting because our neighbor just went out and bought some canned food for Cinco and we only give him dry food. Maybe he's been spoiled and he'll never come home now!

Jessica: sorry to depress you with this. Might I point you to the recent ROFL awards a few posts down? Or maybe the Trick or Treat post with the whorish costumes right below. I'll try not to be too depressing in my next IP post. But no promises!

10:20 PM  
Blogger Granny said...

I'm sorry. We always have cats around (right now there are 3) and they've sometimes voted with their feet. We've never been sure why.

Our alpha kitty stays but she is not fond of interlopers. So far she's the boss so she's tolerant but that's as far as she will go.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Farm Girl said...

Great, I don't think I needed to read about un-adopted with what I'm going through. Kitty was adorable.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

Aw, don't be too hard on yourself. You had no idea how Luna, Little Guy and the move would affect your kitty. A different cat may have taken it all in stride, so it's not you.

Maybe the neighbor will give you visiting rights.

9:37 AM  
Blogger EC said...

sory if I repeat this, but I didn't read all the comments :)

That was a sad story, but I know how you feel. The best thing you can do is to talk to your neighbor to find out if he/she has been feeding Cinco and then explain the story. Ask your neighbor if he/she is going to take full time care, offer to buy the food, anything to keep the cat there and happy. You don't want Cinco running around without having a place to come home to. I'm so sorry about your cat, they are so much like family, it is very hard to lose one when it is their choice to leave :(

1:17 PM  
Blogger Beck's Mommy said...

I'm so sorry. It is a miserable feeling to know that you did not make everything right for someone you loved. I wish I had some good advice. But it sounds like he has made his decision and all you can do is (unhappily) accept it. and maybe go to visit him sometimes with treats and scratches.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

I'm so sorry. We've had cats do the same to us. Usually, it's when we've been cruel and heartless enough to take another stray into our home. I hope Cinco comes back.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

There is really nothing I can say. I just want to give you a hug (and I'm not a big hugger).

Except this: He's okay. That's the important part. You didn't abandon him; he chose to find a new home.

5:32 PM  
Blogger radioactive girl said...

That's such a sad story! Is it wrong that I actually have tears running down my face as I read this? I'm so sorry for you, but I suppose I'm happy that your cat seems happy. How sad!

6:41 PM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

So sorry to hear about Cinco.

(We just lost our cat around a month ago, although ours had a more - uh, final ending. Either way, it's hard to lose a member of the family.)

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

Awww...he's a cute little guy! We have two black and white males, too.

If you want my 2¢, you might want to explain the situation to said neighbor and ask if they would like to keep him. Be sure to offer them some cash for upcoming shots and tags etc. to sweeten the deal. I know that sounds kind of harsh but I truly believe knowing he is happy will make it hurt a little less if he does end up staying over there.

{{hugs}}

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Much More Than A Mom said...

Oh dear, that is so sad. I'm so sorry. That would crush me.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Nicola said...

Aww, I'm sorry :( Both my cats ran away (maybe it was me!? lol), I always really hoped that they found someone nice to adopt them though, I'm pretty sure neither of them got run over or anything. I always heard that cats choose their owners, not the other way round, so I'm not sure if you can do much about Cinco :( even though it's not what you really want at least you know he is ok, hopefully you will see him round from time to time, other people's suggestions of checking in with the neighbours is a good idea too

4:42 AM  
Blogger monica said...

Oh you sweet girl. I am so sorry this happened. I wish I could hug you tight and have some coffee together. Or a drink ;).

I have no idea what to say except sorry for your loss.

Hugs,
Karen

9:15 AM  
Blogger sunshine scribe said...

You made me cry. I am so sorry. Really, really sorry.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Ugggh I have a pit in my stoache for you MoTR. That sucks. I have a feeling that if I let my cat outside that he might have un-adopted me too when the little one came along. *sigh*

12:43 PM  

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