Monday, January 31, 2011

Dead Cat Walking: Part II

I wrote this post a little over a year ago. It appears it is time for an update:

Boyfriend: "Move to Minneapolis with me. You can get a cat"

October 1997:
Trip to the Golden Valley Humane Society. We select a lovable orange cat and Dave names him "Wiggum", after Ralph Wiggum of the Simpons. (Think "teacher, my cat's breath smells like cat food".)

Me: "Wiggum needs a friend-please, pretty please with whipped cream and a cherry on top". Boyfriend: "alright".

Thanksgiving Weekend, 1998:
We find an animal shelter in the middle of rural Minnesota. We pick out a small orange kitten, born to it's feral mother. We name him Flanders (think "Hidely Ho neighbors! How diddly do you do?")

Newly Weds return from honeymoon to find cat pooh all over the carpeted floor of a no-pets allowed apartment complex. Us: opps-time for Science Diet Sensitive Stomach.

December 2002:
Our "family" Christmas Cards are homemade-by yours truly, and feature a photograph of Wiggum & Flanders side by side in the living room window. I carefully pasted santa hat stickers on their furry heads.

We pack up our family (Husband, Wife, Wiggum & Flanders) and drive out to our new home in Sunnyside, Denver.2003: Me: How about a Dog? Husband: Are you totally sure?

We trek to the Dumb Friends League and find a little black lab puppy Bascom. She rides home on my lap.Upon arriving at home with dog:Flanders: Howls, runs and hides in the box spring of our bed. We hardly see him again until we have to pack up and move to our new home a year later.

September 2005-
The arrival of our first son Zachary. Our pride and joy. Flanders now appears only after midnight, and remains hidden among the boxes and ruins of our attic.

Summer, 2006:
We start to notice the strong stench of cat urine coming from the attic. We know who is to blame.

June 2008: The arrival of Evan. Flanders joins me in the moonlit nursery for midnight feedings when Bascom is snoozing downstairs. We bond.

September 2009:
We make the decision to pack up the family and head to Berkeley California. We will now be renters in a much smaller home. We know there will be fewer kitty hiding spots, and that we can't take the risk of soiling someone else's home with cat odor. We make the decision that Flanders will not join us for the next phase. Since he will be all but impossible to find adoptive "parents" for (anyone want a scardy cat, don't touch me, I pee on everything orange tabby?), and the no-kill shelters are not accepting new cats, he will need to go to the Table Mountain Animal Shelter, where there are no guarantees. I feel like I am feeding a lamb to the wolves, sending an innocent convict down death row. He doesn't deserve this.

I'm a bad cat mommy.

And now the update.......

Later September 2009:
I can't do it. I can't send Flanders to the shelter. We pack him up and drive him to Berkeley and hope for the best. How bad could it be?

December 2009:
Flanders seems to adjust well. Although he spends a lot of time hiding we notice no funny smells anywhere in the home. We assume that everything is find and dandy. (Foreshadowing wasn't.)

July 2010:
Our beloved alpha-cat Wiggum passes away unexpectedly, leaving me devastated Flanders on the other hand seems to be elated. All of the sudden he emerges from his shell, and comes around for more frequent human interaction. A changed cat....right? (More foreshadowing...wrong.)

January 2011:
Because our family is expanding we decide to move yet again to a home in Oakland with more space. As we are cleaning our home in Berkeley we discover that Flanders has been up to more than we thought while spending time in the attic. It turns out that he had been using the attic insulation as a litter box. The insulation must have absorbed the smell, for we were clueless. The urine soaked through the floor making it soft, and creating the perfect conditions for David's foot to go right through the floor, resulting in a hole in the kitchen ceiling. One small Flanders has now cost us a lot of money.

January 31, 2011:
Flanders is locked in a closet in our new home with a litter box. I have posted an ad on Craigslist, hoping that someone will want to adopt the pathetic animal. My heart breaks each time I visit him. He rubs against me and purrs hello. But what am I to do? No shelter will take him. Our options are so limited. One thing is certain, Flanders can no longer stay with us.

My heart aches. On so many levels I just feel like a bad person.


  1. Honey - you are not a bad person. You are prioritizing correctly.

    You have two children, one on the way, and a loving husband. If you were to prioritize your (admittedly, long-time) pet above the needs of your husband and children, you would be crazy. Spending additional funds from an already strapped family budget on a cat who has already cost you thousands would simply be irresponsible.

    You are thinking like a pragmatic adult, and for that I am proud of you!

  2. Oh my gosh, what a terrible situation for you guys to be in!! I am not getting a good feeling about 2011. There have already been more things gone horribly wrong in this first month than I can count on both hands- for almost everyone I know. I hope everything works out for your family (and Flanders).

  3. I totally understand the guilt of wanting to get rid of a pet. I go through this all the time with our dogs that get fleas, pee on rugs and leave fur everywhere. lol