Last Friday we got home from my son's wrestling practice to find a lost or abandoned kitten. We got out of our van and the little thing ran across the street (there are woods behind the houses across from us - I suspect that's where he was), mewing loudly. He attacked us with kitty love as soon as he got to our driveway - twisting and turning around our legs and purring like a motor. The kids thought it was hilarious, especially when he followed us into our garage and clearly expected to be admitted inside. When I opened the door to let the kids in, he bolted into my house like he owned the place.
We have a cat, an adult male, and he was not particularly interested in this little upstart taking over his territory. So I grabbed the kitten and put him in the garage. My husband happened to call, so I told him about the kitten and he said something to the effect of, "We can't leave him outside," which I took to mean, "Let him in and take care of him."
Have I mentioned my husband does not like cats?
He tolerates my cat. In fact, he gave me my cat, but it was back in our infertility days and I think he brought home the kitty to make me feel better since we were having trouble getting pregnant. Since then, he hasn't exactly regretted that decision, but he has made it clear that he would strongly prefer not to have another cat once our current kitty passes on. I'm ok with that; I appreciate his gesture and his willingness to live with a cat this long (we've had him almost 10 years now), and even clean out the litter box each time I've been pregnant.
But a new kitten? Oh no, that was not in the plan.
This little kitten is quite honestly the sweetest, best behaved cat I have ever seen. My current cat rocks - he has a cool personality, he doesn't do many things that annoy my husband (other than sometimes scratching our carpet, which I admit isn't a good thing), he likes to be around us but rarely demands a lot of attention. But this kitten - oh goodness. So sweet! He clearly had never been around a toddler, because he didn't even know to be scared of my daughter. The kids adored him instantly, but I made it clear from the beginning that we either needed to find out if he was lost or find him a new home.
We kept him over the weekend and now we have out of town friends here, so life has been a bit crazy. So a couple more days passed and the kitten was still here. I briefly thought maybe my husband would decide it wasn't so bad to have two and let us keep him. But alas, it was stressing him out to have another cat in the house; just the idea that we'd be starting over with a new kitten and could expect another 15-20 years of cat ownership was too much for him. He thought about ways he might be ok with keeping the kitten and he was generous enough to talk it over with me (rather than simply saying no).
Ultimately he left the decision in my hands.
I didn't really want to be the one to make the call. It was easier when he said "No way," and I didn't have to take responsibility for the decision. But he said he'd be willing to keep the cat if I let him get a new XBox (LOL), and for a moment, I thought about it. My kids loved the cat and although I hadn't been planning on getting another cat (like, ever), I would have kept this one in a heartbeat. But I realized, that wouldn't be the right call. My husband might be willing, out of emotion (mostly at seeing our son's sad eyes every time we told him we couldn't keep him), to keep the kitten. But he'd resent it later. About the time our other cat died, I'm sure it would rankle him to no end that we still were cat people. And I just couldn't do it.
Today I took the cat to a no-kill shelter where he'll be available for adoption (after asking around and finding no one I knew who wanted a kitten). I have no doubt he'll be adopted quickly. He's not a brand new kitten, but he's still little, adorable and ridiculously sweet. It was heartbreaking to leave him there - he was scared and mewing at me the whole time. He had adopted us the moment I let him in the house - from the first 10 minutes he acted as if he belonged with us. It was hard to let that go.
But I realized that my emotion over this cat, and my perception of the cat's emotions towards me, was far less important than the feelings of my husband. I had to honor him in this.
I cried as I left the shelter this morning, and my heart is still a little sad. My kids have mostly gotten over it already, although my oldest son wants to print out the picture we took of the kitten and put it up in his room. But I know even the sadness in his sensitive little soul will pass. I made sure to talk with them about how it was good that we rescued him and now he can go to his forever family and be a happy little kitten.
I am trying to be content with knowing I did the right thing for our family. It hurts and truthfully, my husband doesn't understand my emotions over this situation at all. He probably doesn't appreciate how much it feels like a sacrifice to me. But that isn't the point, I guess. As much as I'd kind of like to be dramatic about it and tell my husband that I cried and make him feel bad for making me get rid of the kitty (just being honest here), I know that isn't the right thing to do.
I'll go hug my cat and move on. (And then wash my hands, because the other truth is that I'm mildly allergic to cats anyway. Sigh.)