Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Cat and I

I don't know why I couldn't stay in bed. Around 2:30, my mind started spinning, my emotions churning. I switched from libidinous passion to delirious happiness to shoe-on-your-head silliness. All while lying perfectly still.

So it was time to get out of bed.

The subject of the cats is on the table again. No, Adira hasn't made another mistake. She gets her dose of prozac at least every three days, and she seems to be functioning properly. Right now, she's curled up at my feet on the ottoman.

I've been a cat person all my life. When I was in fourth grade, we moved into a rented farmhouse, and I was allowed outdoor kitties. I had several over the next few years. Eventually, the number tapered down to two when we moved to the northwoods. Then one. Then none. Adira came into my life when I was seventeen, an olive branch from my parents.

I had a dream that I found a little marmalade kitten with a red bow around her neck. My mom and I searched through many humane society shelters until I found that kitty of my dream. And Adira, then Mandy, became mine.

While I was in my first year of college, she was cared for by my mother and was relegated mostly to the basement. My dad has awful allergies, but he had promised, and so Adira stayed.

My sophomore year, my sister started university at the same place as me, and we were allowed to get an apartment together instead of living in the dorms. Adira and her cat moved in with us. Then when I lived by myself, it was just me and Adira. A few years later, I got her a funny little white kitty named Maisie.

As a single girl, I loved being a cat owner. They were my constant companions. Adira and I share a special connection, perhaps imagined, but often sensed. She's content to sit by my shoulder for hours, keeping watch. Such loyalty.

So what changed? Well. I got married. Adira started feeling that it wasn't that necessary to actually pee in the litter box, content with the floor adjacent. I had a baby. Now I'm having another. And having pets is no longer a priority for me.

Being a dutiful cat mother, I spent hundreds to have Adira diagnosed with something. Turns out she's only sick in the head. She has an anxiety problem, one that is treatable with generic prozac. Even a generic medicine costs money when you can't add a cat to your health insurance.

Did I mention she bites Ben? She hates children. She gets upset and hissy whenever a child approaches her, even if they aren't targeting her. Living in a 900 square foot house with two rug rats isn't going to be pleasant for her.

I love her dearly, I'm just not sure I love her enough to fight to keep her, though nobody is asking me to get rid of her. Nobody except that little voice in my head. She'd be put to sleep almost immediately because she isn't able to be re-adopted due to her anxiety issues and her problem with children.

I can totally imagine life without her. My mom has offered to subsidize her surrender fees. My husband has offered to bring her to the shelter himself while I'm away. We'd be able to get rid of the litter box in our bedroom because the other cat is perfectly willing to use the one in the basement.

So what's holding me back? What the hell is all this wet stuff dripping down my cheeks? Even though my heart is starting to say, "It's time," my head reminds me that I have about a month of generic prozac left. Unless she makes another mistake while on the happy blue pill, she gets to stay. I feel a bit like a monster.