General chatter - Need help making decision to keep stray cat

01-11-2014, 05:16 PM
Sorry this is long - so I need advice. Obviously only I can make this decision and I probably need to follow my heart - but anyone who can help me think this through or any advice would be appreciated.

So back in mid december, on the coldest day of the year in AZ (near freezing actually), my sister-in-law and I heard a cat calling in distress. We looked and couldn't find her - I had to leave with my niece and my sister-in-law eventually found a sweet cat who just crawled into her arms. My brother and SIL had two older cats, so couldn't take her in, but they started feeding her, provided her a box with blankets for warmth, and started letting her sleep in the garage. This kitty was clearly very special and very sweet. We posted signs to find the owner, to no avail. All the no kill shelters were full. Finally, I felt so bad I took her in, provisionally - with the idea that I wasn't sure that I wanted to be her forever home, but my house was better than the alternative (the street/my brother's backyard). So I kept posting signs and ads looking for owners, and also posted ads to get her adopted. I took her to the vet, who said she was well cared for and a year old and already spayed. I had her treated for a respiratory infection and tested for diseases (she tested healthy).

Well I found someone who would like her - she would make an excellent home. She lives in a big house, she is home all day, and has another one year old cat. I am somewhat in love with Sadie, so now can't decide if I want to keep this cat forever or give her to this wonderful home. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros to keeping her: I've grown attached (and maybe a bit in love) with this cat. Her company is nice. She is sweet. She really is a special cat. I didn't want a cat but she won be over. Also, if I keep this cat, this other girl will probably get another cat - so one more cat will have a home.

Cons to keeping the cat: I am finishing up a PhD program. I know cats are cheap but food and litter aren't free. I had to borrow money to take her to the vet and get her infection treated. Money is a stressful situation for me - so a cat adds to that (and I already have a stressful life). I also will probably move within the year and to who knows where (wherever I get a job). I may be moving a few times in the next few years- potentially all over the country. I know I can move the cat- but she will limit my ability to find apartments, get roommates etc. I always thought I would wait to get a cat til I was more settled.

I live in a small apartment now, I hate the litter box - I hate cleaning it and have no where to put it but next to the dining room table (or in the living room). I also like being able to come and go as I please - and she is too social to be left home alone for hours on end. I know some people do it - but I don't feel comfortable being out for a 15 hour day now that I have a cat. Its not fair to her. I think her new home would be a better home for a cat.

Anyway, advice on making this tough decision? Please know if I do decide to keep her, I will be very committed with no going back. But it is this reason that I'm not sure I want to commit.

If I had found a home a few weeks ago, I wouldn't have thought twice - but like I said, I've grown attached.

ReNew Me
01-11-2014, 05:37 PM
Give her to the other woman who already has a young cat. It's not the time out of the house, seriously, cats sleep way more than 15 hours a day, they get bored, they curl up and go to sleep. It's the financial issues in general and the moves (cats find moves traumatic and it doesn't get better as they get older). You could very well need to lay out a doubled security deposit for some places. Litter for one cat isn't that much (although your hating it seems a bit extreme) but food still has to be purchased and vet bills can really be a hit, even just regular yearly exams and shots.

Better to give her away now, while she and the other cat are young and have half a chance of making friends.

01-11-2014, 05:39 PM
I think you have good points in your pros and cons lists. And I'm glad the cat found you so that she wouldn't be out in the cold for too long. I've had two cats in my life (one as a child) and both were rescues, so I'm always happy to hear that other cats have been rescued too. :)

I think the cat will be cared for and fed and sheltered no matter where she goes, but one thing you said stands out to me: "I think her new home would be a better home for a cat." I can see that you care about her and that if you do keep her you'll be a good owner, but I think that with the other things you have going on (a small apartment, busy professional life, busy social life, etc.) that the new home may be a good option. The cat will have more company and social interaction on a regular basis, which is important.

I don't think there's a wrong decision here, but from what you've said I do think that for you and the cat, right now the new home might be the better option.

I'm glad you're taking this decision seriously to make sure the cat gets the proper care she needs. Whichever you decide, she was lucky you guys found her! :)

01-11-2014, 05:40 PM
Yeah, I'm leaning towards giving her away - it is a better home. "Hating " the litter is a bit extreme, but I'm not fond of cleaning it (but who is), plus I do not enjoy that I don't really have a place for it out of the way and not near where I prepare and eat food. Thanks for your input - I appreciate it!

01-11-2014, 06:39 PM
First off, thank you for caring for the kitty when you found her in distress. Many people just walk on by or ignore them.

Sounds like you've found the right home for this cat with the other woman, and if the cats get along well, that's key. Ensure that it's a "forever" home for the cat and that it will be indoors hopefully (life spans are drastically shorter and often a painful death for those outdoor cats - yes we ALL know of the outdoor cats who lived 15 years, but clearly not the norm :)) ... And when the time is right, another one will find its way to you. As the owner of four pets, three rescues, you often don't choose your pet; it chooses you.

The financial side can add up - unplanned surgeries, regular health checkup, etc., so it's smart to realize that.

01-11-2014, 06:41 PM
I think she should go to the other family due to the upcoming moves and the financial impact of having a pet

it sounds like you were an amazing foster kitty momma :)

01-11-2014, 07:55 PM
I think you all make great points - thank you all for the advice. It makes it easier to give away. My friends all vote to keep - but I don't think they are being rational. You guys are making me feel less guilty about giving her away.

I should add, that regarding the financial side - I will have more money when I graduate and be pretty set financially - so that is only a very short term issue fortunately.

01-11-2014, 10:51 PM
I am glad your financial situation will be taking an upswing in the near future. But you still have a very unknown future. COULD you do it? most likely... SHOULD you? IDK but sometimes the best way to show your love is to let the animal go to a better or more stable home.

01-11-2014, 11:28 PM
I may be the only one here, but keeping the kitty doesn't seem like an irrational thing. The respiratory infection was probably due to being outside and being uncared for, and my vet bills aren't bad if you care for your pets regularly (I don't have many vet visits for my cat and dog, but I may just be lucky.) If the situation is temporary, and you are confident you will get a decent job I don't see why keeping her for the interim is a bad idea. While you can never predict what happens with animals (sometimes they just need to go to the vet), when you find a special bond with an animal I think that's always something to remember. It's good you recognize the importance of making sure she has a good home, and FYI no one likes cleaning a litter box, though there are things you can do to make it easier. You just have to ask yourself, do you like the cat more than you hate the litter? And if you plan on getting a cat in the future, the only thing that seems to be the big factor is the timing. I would see how the other cat that it would potentially be living with reacts around her also, just to make sure they get along - if that's the route you go with. Either way the kitty will have a loving home.

01-12-2014, 01:44 AM
Yeah, I'm leaning towards giving her away - it is a better home. "Hating " the litter is a bit extreme, but I'm not fond of cleaning it (but who is), plus I do not enjoy that I don't really have a place for it out of the way and not near where I prepare and eat food. Thanks for your input - I appreciate it!

No this is not extreme. My daughter moved from a house to a nice condo. The only issue with downsizing is there is no convenient place for the litter box. Everyplace is too close to eating or sleeping areas.

Thank you for taking in the kitty,I think if the two cats can adjust to each other
the other home might work with possible moves in your future. But the fact that you are out long hours is not a problem. Cats don't mind being alone as long as there is food and water.

ReNew Me
01-12-2014, 09:51 AM
Mandy, you have to remember, the people here are absolutely objective, we don't know you, we've never met your cat or seen your home. Clearly from your post you care very much for the cat and about doing the right thing and your friends may see that and the joy it brings you and out of their caring for you they think keeping the cat may be the best thing for you, emotionally.

I've owned cats literally for 40 years. I've had as many as 8 adults and a litter running around my apartment (more than once). I was responsible for maintaining my MIL's pedigreed Persian cattery and I've rescued -- and buried -- more cats than I can count. My advice came purely from the objective perspective, i.e., your current and immediate future finances, school, anticipation of multiple moves, etc.

Get your life settled out, then get your cat (actually, get two or three littermates simultaneously, that way they like each other, introducing cats as even very young adults is a crapshoot). Remember, unlike dogs, cats can easily live to be 15 or 20+ but expect a few whopper vet bills in even the healthiest of cats (tooth cleaning is mandatory a few times in all cats lives, that usually starts at $250).

In a way, pets are children that will be eternal toddlers. That's how everyone should look at acquiring a companion animal. You have to figure out what to do with them when you go on vacation, have people over, or when you yourself are sick. The only difference is you can't dump your kid off at a shelter when you lose your job and can't afford to feed it ...

Quiet Ballerina
01-12-2014, 04:27 PM
I think giving her to the woman is the better move. Mostly because of your potential move and money. Many apartments charge a pet deposit and a monthly pet fee (at least around me). And yes, pets could limit your roommate possibilities.

I feel your pain though! There are so many times that I want a pet. Have to keep reminding myself that my long days out of the house just aren't fair, among other reasons.
Maybe I need to get a beta fish. ;)

01-12-2014, 05:23 PM
I work for a vet and from what I see at work, sometimes the hardest thing for owners to do is what is best for the pet.

If the new home is a good one, at this point in your life, it would probably be more fair to kitty.

When you get settled, a great option would be to adopt a shelter cat. This way your current kitty and another kitty will both have good homes.:D

01-12-2014, 08:21 PM
Thank you for all the advice. I committed this morning to giving her to the other home. I'm supposed to bring her tonight - and now that this is schedule, I can't stop bawling like a baby. I'm not sure I can do it. I'm a mess - a friend is coming over to help me.

01-12-2014, 09:08 PM
I currently have 9 cats - all of which are adopted strays. They are all indoor cats and DH cleans our 5 litter boxes 2x per day!!

I think you made a courageous decision and when you are ready you'll find another sweet loveable baby who is desperately in need of a home which you'll provide!

01-12-2014, 09:26 PM
Thank you for all the advice. I committed this morning to giving her to the other home. I'm supposed to bring her tonight - and now that this is schedule, I can't stop bawling like a baby. I'm not sure I can do it. I'm a mess - a friend is coming over to help me.

I think that cat is really lucky to have found you.

One thing you could do is ask for the right of first refusal should the woman ever decide she wants o part with the cat.

You have a hood heart. It is not always easy to do the right thing. Courage.

01-13-2014, 02:03 AM
I went through with it. I was a mess so a friend came over to help me. I brought Sadie to her new home. I had met the new owner but hadn't been to her place (and was prepared to take the cat and run if everything wasn't as described). I felt good about the house - clearly a home of an animal lover and everything as described. I hung out for a bit while Sadie explored. The other cat was sleeping (actually with another kitten who is only temporarily there). I forgot some of Sadie's things - so I went back home to get them. When I came back, the woman was snuggling with my cat, but had her in a little blanket tent thing so she would feel safe and secure. My cat was clearly a bit frightened of her cat. To see her taking care of Sadie so well made me feel better. I've been crying all night though- I am heartbroken - I didn't think I'd be this heartbroken. If the cats can't get along, I'll take her back. This woman knows that too.

01-13-2014, 02:05 AM
:hug: You did a good thing.

01-13-2014, 02:09 AM
Thank you everyone for your support! And Berkshire Girl! I'm originally from western mass too - grew up outside of springfield. Don't often encounter other people from western mass! :)

01-13-2014, 10:17 AM
I think you did a wondeful thing. As others pointed out maybe you can adopt another cat/kitten when you get settled.

I don't know if I could have done it. My heart broke for you as I was reading this thread.

01-13-2014, 11:47 AM
You did the right thing.

I only wish there were more people out there like you.

01-13-2014, 12:44 PM
Honestly, if I had realized how terrible this was going to feel - I'm not sure I would have gone through with it . I just would have committed and sacrificed to provide a good home.

This is awful. I am devastated and heartbroken. I cried all night. I didn't think I was that attached.

01-13-2014, 02:34 PM
It's so nice that you cared so much about Sadie and took such great care of her. That's great that she has a good home, I always believe in listening to your heart. My family and I took in a stray once, I miss him. Maybe you'll get another furry friend when the time is right. God bless. It's a small world, I have family who used to live in Pittsfield.

01-14-2014, 01:33 PM

There will always be cats that need good homes. You are clearly a wonderful caring person and what you did for this cat was incredible.

But you made the right decision. I think Sadie would have had a wonderful life with you but the fact that you had so many questions and concerns made it clear that the timing wasn't right for you and that's ok.

Once you earn your PhD, many doors will open to you, and some of those opportunities could be hard on a pet. It's better to wait until you have a strong sense of where you will be for the next fifteen years.

I do know how you feel though: once while moving apartments I was forced to let my cats live temporarily with my parents. The little girl who lived next door made it her mission to steal one of my cat's affections and it worked! If the girl saw me, she would grab the cat and hide it because her parents told her it was my cat. Her parents offered her a kitten and she wailed that she only wanted my Shasta. So I gave the cat to her. I had had Shasta for over seven years and it broke my heart to let her go, but darn it, that little girl loved my cat so much and Shasta loved her. Shasta had a great life with those people and after the agonizing first few days I never regretted my decision.

When you are ready, the right cat will come along.

01-15-2014, 12:42 PM
And Berkshire Girl! I'm originally from western mass too - grew up outside of springfield. Don't often encounter other people from western mass! :)

Mandy, hi from a "neighbor"! :wave: I live in Pittsfield, but Springfield is only about an hour away! I've been to the DMV there, ha! They took an excellent photo of me when I was in my 'sporty' phase...

It's a small world, I have family who used to live in Pittsfield.

Seabiscuit, :high: Pittsfield high-five! :D