Sunday Coffee – Cat-shuffling

Last Sunday, I talked about surrendering Shai and Hulud to the animal rescue for surgery and adoption. The absolute hardest thing in surrendering these kittens is that I had no control over the situation once they left my hands. I had no way of knowing how their surgeries went, who got to adopt them, if they were adopted together or at least with another kitten, etc. Once I turn them in, it’s over. The most I could do is watch the website and hope for the best.

So that’s what I did. I watched. The shelter had named the two babies Tater and Tot, so that’s what I looked for, and it didn’t take long before both girls were on the website. Their stock photos were horrible. Shai looks miserable and I wouldn’t have even recognized Hulud if I hadn’t know what name to search for! And that made my heart ache. A lot. So much so that I did something I’d promised myself not to do. I went in to the shelter to visit them.

I’ve been to this shelter many times. In fact, Ash and Christabel were adopted from this specific shelter in 2009. One of the best things about it is that the cats have free-roaming rooms, rather than sitting in blocks of cages. I had this idea that I would walk into the kitten room, say something aloud, and my girls would recognize me and run up to me. That’s…not what happened. Because I’d actually never been in the kitten room before. And the kitten room isn’t free-roaming. It’s two to a crate, small spaces with small litter pans, food, and water. Shai and Hulud were together in a corner crate, and their eyes were heartbreaking.

Visitors are limited to handling two kittens, but I was only there to visit two. I explained that I’d been their foster mom and was visiting them post-surgery. They brought Shai out first for me. She was so scared of all the noises and smells, but she clearly recognized me and snuggled into my neck immediately. While she did, Hulud sat at the crate door screaming at me to get my attention, reaching toward me as far as her arms could go through the bars. She also clearly recognized my voice/smell, but she had to wait her turn. I spent 15-20 mins holding Shai, then swapped the two kitties. Hulud was purring before she even got into my hands. She tried to climb onto my shoulder, potentially to go down my back so she could run free (she loves running free!), and when I didn’t let her do that, she settled into the crook of my arm and began to suck on her paw to put herself to sleep, just like she used to do at home. Meanwhile, Shai was now calling out to me, begging me to pick her up again. Neither kitten had made a sound before I came close and they heard/smelled me.

I should not have gone. The whole experience tore my heart apart, and I knew that I could not come back. If I came back, I’d bring the girls home. I was so upset that they were in cages, that they were scared, that they couldn’t run free…but they told me at the shelter that kittens go quickly, especially the fluffy ones, and they weren’t wrong. On Wednesday, Hulud was adopted. I cried, because I missed her so much, and because she and Shai didn’t get to go together, and I didn’t know if she would have any kitty friends with her at her new home. Then Shai was adopted the next day, and again, I didn’t know any of those things, but this time I cried happy tears because both of my little girls were out of that cage and hopefully in wonderful homes that will spoil them rotten.

So. Lesson learned. Do not go visit the kittens, under any circumstances. And it’s a lesson I’ll need to remember, because Tillie and Penny are going to the shelter this upcoming Thursday. Thankfully, with the current clear-out of kittens (the shelter is running a fees-waived special), they now have room for these sweet girls. So by the end of the week, there will be no more kittens in our home, and hopefully by the end of the next, Tillie and Penny will be adopted, too. Tipsy, the last of the litter, will go back to our neighbor, who has fallen in love with him completely.

I do hope this gets easier in time. Because when I dropped them off, I thought I was going to be okay, but after they showed up on the website, with everything that followed, it was absolutely gut-wrenching.

Also, I think I might volunteer to take better photos of the animals for the website, if I can improve my photography and editing skills enough!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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