I have a confession to make. For the last few months, we have been a single-cat household. My husband is disabled, and for a time we have been forced to accept free housing arrangements with an in-law.
Charlie and Sherpa did not adapt. They BOTH started peeing around the house, on soft surfaces and in the sink. I ran urine and blood tests, I got them on urinary tract health food, I played with them relentlessly to keep them tired and entertained, I set up cat trees and shelves all over the house, I put out extra litterboxes, switched to cat attract litter, kept the boxes VERY clean, put them on anti-anxiety medication, I have spent the last year trying EVERYTHING I could think of.
Sherpa was harassing Charlie constantly, mounting and chasing her. He would corner her and pin her down repeatedly, bite on her neck and pull out her fur.
Charlie HATED Kyubey. She would snarl and hiss if he ever came into her line of sight, and if he walked around a corner and into her she would attack - claws out, serious business.
My mother in law was understandably upset about the ruined couches, pillows, and carpets, and she was more patient than I had any right to ask her to be while I did my very best to sort the situation out.
Finally, my husband told me that all of the pandemonium was stressing him out to the point of making him ill.
I spent two months trying to find them a home myself. I talked to my customers. I contacted every rescue I've worked with. Not only would none of them help, I faced some horrible commentary on my ability to care for my animals, since I was "dumping" Charlie and Sherpa.
Finally, I filled out a surrender application at our local no-kill shelter. Even though I was 100% honest about the inappropriate urination, they were willing to take them in. It was, hands-down, the hardest thing I've ever done...leaving them there. Happily, they were both adopted into single-cat households, and I get periodic updates. Neither of them has had any inappropriate urination problems. Charlie has some out of her shell and become a lap cat(which she never was at our house). Sherpa is as cuddly as ever with his new people, and they ADORE him.
The problem now is that Kyubey is despondent as an only cat. He cries any time he's not with someone, whether we're sleeping or just in the other room. He's spent the last few months prowling around seeming to look for his friends. (or friend anyways, since Sherpa was the only one who would tolerate him) He's not eating much. And....he LOVES mama cat. And she loves him.
I feel like a horrible person for even thinking about adding another cat right now. I failed my last two miserably. I don't know what I could have done better, but I failed them. I LOVE Charlie and Sherpa. We were together through four interstate moves. We went through massive health problems with Charlie and I never batted an eye. I would have done anything for them, and I let them down.
Then again, I'm worried about what Mama's departure would do to Kyubey. He's so smitten with her, and he has calmed considerably since she came out of quarantine.
I'm also afraid of chaos developing again. If they love each other now, is that likely to change? If I work hard to build good, stress-free foundations NOW with lots of playtime and lots of litterboxes....I just don't know. Would it be easier to manage with two cats than with three who hated each other?
I guess I still hate myself a little. I am NOT the kind of person who just gives up on my animals when they become inconvenient, or I never have been before. I hate seeing that in myself, especially after all of the fostering and rescue work I've done.
Anyways, today is my birthday, and I'm taking Celeste for an exam and vaccines. I was thinking of filling out an application for her while I was there... but I guess I feel like I don't deserve her after what happened. She is SUCH a wonderful girl, and she deserves only the best. There was a time when I thought that was me...with my shiny vet tech degree, all my knowledge and experience, and the fact that I would not hesitate over most any challenge or vet bill presented. Now I know better.
Here she is learning to enjoy a cat tree. She is so beautiful. Right before this was taken, I brushed about half a kitten worth of fur out of her and trimmed her nails. She was calm and collected for the entire process, like a perfect lady. I also noticed that her teeth are gross. Whether I keep her or not, she will have a dental prophy as soon as those kittens are weaned. Yech!