Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why Can't You Just Pee In The Damn Box?

For the past week, I've been trying to convince myself to be unemotional about this. To detach myself from the emotional aspect of this issue and just do it.

When I was a little girl, I had lots of cats. Since my dad was allergic, they were outdoor cats. For the most part, I just had two at a time. Sometimes, after a birth, as many as five. Since they were outside, inevitably cats would get run over. And my mother, being Wonder Mom, would get the shovel and scrape up the kitty remains and get a shoe box for me to bury.

I could never figure out how she could do it. My little heart was broken, and there she was, all stalwart and matter-of-fact, peeling kitty parts off the street. Of course now I realize she had never developed an attachment to my cats. Any pain she was feeling was for me and the pain I was going through. They weren't really her pets, though.

Now as an adult, I have two cats. Adira, an orange tabby from the shelter, came to me when I was seventeen. She's been my best friend ever since. Very affectionate, very possessive. When she was five, I adopted a companion for her, a little white kitten with one blue eye and one yellow eye. Maisie. They tolerate each other, and seem to enjoy harassing each other. They fight, and they lick each other's wounds.

When Chester moved in with me, Adira developed an issue. She started to pee on the floor a foot away from her litter box. At first she would only do this when her box was overdue for a change, but then she'd start doing it randomly. So we did what the experts recommend. We tried changing her litter to a different brand. We added another box so she wouldn't have to compete with Maisie for box time. We experimented with box privacy, like having one with a hood, without, etc. We religiously cleaned the floor where she'd pee with enzyme cleaners. Many different brands just in case one was better than the other.

Nothing worked. For a while, she'd only do it about once a month. When I was pregnant with Ben, it made me nervous, and figured we'd have to deal with it more drastically when he was toddling around. I would have to train him about being around litter boxes without playing in them, but it would be hard to train him to spot the puddle and to stay away.

Adira knows that life is going to be changing again. She glares at me every time I pack another box. And she's peeing on the floor at least once a day now.

To be honest, we can't afford the vet bills necessary to diagnose any possible health problems. And the vet doesn't think it's a physical problem anyway (personally, I don't either). We can barely afford vaccinations, let alone lab work. It's not like we can get public assistance for vet bills. The state just doesn't care.

So where does that leave us? We're moving this weekend into a house with hardwood floors. Cleaning pee off of linoleum is one thing, but trying to get all of it out of hardwood floors would be next to impossible.

I emailed our local humane society this morning to ask about surrender fees. I know Adira's not a good candidate for adoption, and that she would be put to sleep. It's intensely sad and upsetting. I feel like such a cold, heartless bitch for considering it. I love her dearly, but I can't have her live with me anymore.

I will miss her fat, warm little body curled up against my belly every night when I'm trying to get to sleep. I toss and turn at least three times before I'm comfortable, and she's never gotten the hint to wait about fifteen minutes before cuddling with Mommy. It's a dance of kicking her off of my body pillow every five minutes and then welcoming her back. Maisie is a nice cat, but Adira is something special. We've always had a very emotional, psychic connection. She's been through all my dramas of my early twenties, all my roommates, all my moods.

So. What Would Mommy Do? That Wonder Mom who could scrape dead kitty bodies off of the street and help her daughter bury the remains? That Wonder Mom who hasn't had a pet of her own for years? Well, the secret about Wonder Mom is her incredibly tender heart but steely will and courage. She would weep and mourn the loss of a pet, but she would do what's best for her family.