Sometimes you go into a situation thinking that it is going to be great for a while, but secretly knowing that it will eventually break your heart. Some people do it with relationships. Others do it with cars, homes, holidays, alcohol, or a host of other things. For Kristen and I, it’s fostering two cats. We thought that it would allow us to reap all of the benefits of cat ownership whilst minimizing long-term commitments of doing so. Tonight, we came to the point where hearts start to break. Tonight we decided that we will not be keeping them after all.
From our first night with them, we have grown to love Kichu and Catsby. They became more than temporary squatters in our living quarters – we became a little misfit family. Because of this, we discussed the possibility of adopting them with the lady that we are fostering them for, and this option was left open for the past few months, while she got settled in her new job in Africa. Tonight, she sent us a message gently asking us what our intentions for the two feline boys are, and we were forced to think carefully about it.
We weighed up the two options: keep them forever, or begin to look for other homes for them. We had to consider both their interests and our own. First, what is in their best interests. They need a secure, stable environment where they will be happy. While we may love them deeply and care for them well, we are likely to move regularly. Kichu is incredibly averse to travel, so the less that he would have to do so, the better. We can make sure that they go to a home where they will be loved in one place for the rest of their lives.
Then, we thought about our future. As cruel as it may sound, having the cats with us would be additional responsibility. Every time we travel, every time we start a new contract, we would have to be sure that the cats could come with us. Caring for them is not an issue, but having to turn down potential future avenues is. We have to try keep as many options open as possible, so that we can make the best move for us.
So, with these considerations in mind and with heavy hearts, we decided that they should leave us. It is the best for everyone. It hasn’t been easy. Simply acknowledging that they will be leaving us, even if this is not for months yet, has brought out tears and sadness. We don’t want to hand them over. We love them like children. But, like parents who know that the time has come, we must let them go to a better place for them. The goodbyes lie ahead, but they are not upon us yet. For now, we will love them. We will treasure every moment. We will play with them at every available moment. We will even forgive the occasional accident or shredded item. They deserve nothing less.