My family adopted 2 cats when I was 7. They were (we think) about 3 years old when we got them, but no one knows for sure (you know, misplaced birth certificates). They were ‘twins’, with pure white fur and green eyes. We lost the hyper, skinny one last year to an undiagnosed thyroid issue. The chubby one is still alive though, and since I’m 22, she must be at least 18 years old.
This isn’t exactly a flattering picture of them, but oddly enough- it’s the only digital one I have. Their beauty shots were done all on film.
Now, our family basically had these cats our whole lives. We were all very sad to lose Sisie last year. Poor Rosie, she had a mirror image of herself (minus the weight issue) all her life, and suddenly she was alone. My parents told me that she cried for months after Sisie was gone. And if you’ve never heard a cat cry, it’s heartbreaking (see article about how a cat cry is much like a babies cry in order to demand attention).
When my parents went on vacation a few months ago, they dropped Rosie off with my oldest sister. It was supposed to be a temporary stay, but my sister quickly realized that the cat loved being at her apartment, and was ready to fully adopt her. Which she did. Until Rosie started boycotting her litter box (except for tinkling) and developed a flea issue. So, when my parents came back into town, the cat was returned.
You have to understand that you can’t judge my mother for what I’m about to tell. Everytime I say ‘parents’, what I really mean is my mother. She’s the one who cleaned the litterbox every day, fed them, bathed them, combed them (relentlessly) and worked hard to keep our house cat-hair free since well, turns out my brother and I are allergic to cats.
So, when I say she decided to give Rosie away, you shouldn’t judge.
But don’t worry- it never happened.
She tried. Our neighbors daughter recently lost a cat, and was discussing her loss. My mother overheard and shared her burden of getting Rosie back. The women offered to take Rosie, gladly- but asked how old she was. My mother (fibbed, maybe) and said 16. The woman wisely explained that 16 was a bit old and that she wasn’t ready to lose another cat so soon.
My older sister immediately learned of this incident since she visited that same weekend. While my mother and older sister were in the grocery store, my little sister called my mom. Something you have to know is that my little sister LOVES all animals. Her dream job is to be a dolphin trainer and she once balled her eyes out when (peeking out her window one morning) she watched out neighbor shoot a squirrel with a bbgun. She was particularly close to our cats, so my mother wasn’t about to tell her how she tried to give away Rosie. She went a different route, and discussed how my older sister should have kept the cat, how she was happier there. My older sister wasn’t about to take any sort of blame.
“Tell her the truth! Go ahead.”
My mom pushed the grocery cart at her and punched her in the arm, for dramatic effect of course.
She reluctantly explained to Tasha her reasoning for getting rid of the cat, how it would be happier with someone who really wanted it, etc- but my sister just cried and cried in between begging her not to give the cat away. Soon, the news was all over the family grapevine.
I reasoned with my Mom using this route: “How would you like it if we gave you away when you’re 90.”
My brother used a more sophisticated approach: “You see, if you give her away now, after all those years, it will be like she’s dead to us, so therefore she will just ‘die’ that much sooner. So you can’t give her away.” (I only heard the drastically paraphrased version from my mother, and she did note that his point took a half hour to make, so I most likely greatly insulted his argument but that’s okay- you get the point.)
In the end, the deal was that my ‘parents’ will keep Rosie (hopefully alive, too) until my little sister graduates from college in two years. Rosie may be a little overweight, mean as all heck (when living with my older sister and her 90lb dog, Rosie made it a habit to slap both sister and dog ), but she’s still part of our family, and you don’t get rid of family, not even if they’re 18 yrs old.