Monday, March 30, 2009

Kitten-shaped hole in my heart.

In March of 2006, my roommate and I took in a family of unwanted cats -- a mother cat and her litter of 5-week old kittens.

My roommate's sister, a veterinary assistant, told us that the momma cat's previous owner dropped them off at the vet's office, saying that she didn't want them anymore; that they had "lost their charm," and that she wanted them euthanized.

Horrified by this story, my roommate & I decided that we could make room for these cats temporarily, until the kittens were old enough to be adopted.

The hardest part was confining a space for them. We already had four cats of our own, and wanted to make sure to give the mother a safe, quiet place to care for her babies, without our cats interfering. My roommate decided to convert her bedroom into the nursery. She bought secondhand blankets and spread them out over the carpet, bought a new litterbox, etc.

Adopted Cat Family - 9

And to make a long story short, we helped to raise & care for the 5 kittens over the next couple of months.

Although we already had cats of our own, we decided almost immediately that we would keep at least one.

Though we adored them all, we had our favorites.

My roommate had instantly fallen in love with this one, whom she eventually named Puzzle:
Adopted Cat Family - 14

I was drawn to 2 of the kittens equally -- the grey & white tabby (whom we nicknamed Little Grey), and the other tortoiseshell kitten (who I eventually named Oatmeal):
Adopted Cat Family - 2 Adopted Cat Family - 20

As the kittens grew, we knew that we had to look into getting most of them adopted (including the momma cat); my roommate was having an increasingly tough time sharing her bedroom with them. However, we had gotten so attached to the kitties that we decided that we could keep two, and that each of us could choose one. For my roommate, the choice was rather easy -- although she loved the black & white kitten a lot too, Puzzle was obviously her little soul-mate.

For me, the decision was really, really difficult. I had bonded a lot with Oatmeal and Little Grey and was quite attached to them both. In the end, I decided to keep Oatmeal, but saying goodbye to Grey really broke my heart. I wish we could have kept them both, but two new kittens was already too much; no way could we afford, or handle, three. It killed me to have to choose.

Hopefully, Grey is happy with her new family. I suppose I will never know.

After she was adopted, in May of that year, it took me a little while to get over her, and for the most part I have moved on...

However, last night, out of the blue, I dreamed about her -- perhaps it was just old memories resurfacing. In my dream, I very vividly remember how it felt to hold her, her soft little body cradled against my chest, her tiny paw curled around my fingertip, her ear against my nose.

I love Oatmeal, and I would not give her up for anything, but how I wish I had been able to keep Grey, too. I miss her -- god, I miss her. I've been crying about her for hours and I can't stop and I don't know why. I am haunted by her; I feel I have lost a part of myself.

Adopted Cat Family - 7

Adopted Cat Family - 32

Adopted Cat Family - 40

Adopted Cat Family - 42

I miss you, Little Grey, wherever you are; I'm sorry I gave you up.

More pictures:

(If you are unable to view the embedded slideshow, click here)

1 comment:

kumi kuhr said...

I have kept mice, guinea pigs, cats, horses... all of them, from the smallest to the largest, have engaged me as a human and to adopt/find homes hurts so much because the 'not knowing' is always there. Good on ya two!