Having to let a beloved pet go is never easy. Whether your reasons are for putting it down or finding a new home, there is no comparison to the pain that comes from the loss of your companion. But today I’m actually talking to those who have, or are considering having, to find a new home for their animal. I understand the pain of having to entertain the notion, it was difficult for me to write this post. It feels like you’ve given up on them, that you let them down, and that you broke that silent promise of being best friends for life. If this is you, I encourage you to keep reading.
The summer before I met Sam, I had been praying and searching for the right cat to come along at the right time. I was on the search but continued to hit one dead end after another. It got frustrating and so I gave up. Then, someone in my church told me of a lady who was looking for a new home for two 7-week-old kittens because her son was allergic. The opportunity just presented itself. When I first met them, I knewit was meant to be. I know this may sound crazy, but they quickly became my best friends. They were just what I needed at that time. I watched them grow and develop their own personalities along with their quirks. I felt like I was “momma cat”! They followed me everywhere I went. They were there when I sad, when I was lonely, when I walked through the door, and when it was cold and storming out. I could always count on them to snuggle when I needed. It’s hard to say which one was my favorite because I loved them for their personalities. That’s probably what it feels like to be a parent.
When I first saw Mocha, I instantly knew that was her name. She was a shy cat, but not too shy. She was skiddish for sure and the moment you point the water bottle at her, she bolts to the other room and hides. She was super clumsy and almost always missed her target. She was the funniest cat with long dark fur and big eyes. Attention was always on her terms, but of course there was alwaystime for mom! She loved with all her heart and was as sweet as could be. There is not another cat like her and I hope she found a really good home.
Latte is completely different. She was a momma’s girl all the way. She’s the cat that doesn’t mind if you pick her up to snuggle. She’s the first kitten I know who could play fetch. She also was very adventurous and curious with a lot of sass. She was the one who would try it first with Mocha following her lead. Latte and I had a special bond and sometimes she got on my nerves. She had this horrible habit of jumping on my shoulders as I got ready for the day or when I cooked dinner. I hope she doesn’t do this to her new family!
If you do not know, we lived in Montana for a few months. When we knew we would move back to Minnesota, we searched for places to rent that was pet friendly. It’s really hard to find a place that is affordable and allows pets. I found one place that allowed small dogs and I inquired if I could have my two cats. I had a reluctant “ok” but we were warned that it was very small. We had no idea how small it really was, but in reality, it was our only option. We viewed it and it was indeed verytiny. Once we moved the mattress in, we realized that this was not realistic for us. The best way to describe this unit is that it is a glorified dorm room. It would be great for a single person or two college roommates, but not a married couple with two cats.
We were invited to stay with his family as a last case scenario but they were allergic to cats, so we had a temporary home set up for them. The timing was just not right, though. We had two days to figure out where to have them as our friend was out of town. We asked people we knew if anyone was willing and able to have them for a couple days. Doors continued to close on us. This is in no way anyone’s fault and I’m not pointing blame, it’s just unfortunate timing. As time went by with no solution, this ultimately led me to my decision to bring them to the shelter. We tried in every possible way to keep them but it was not financially realistic. Sam tried his hardest and told me “I promisewe are going to keep your cats.” He knew how important they were to me and I hung on to his vow. But in the back of my mind, I also had the looming fear that it may very well be reality to find a new home for them.
The longer time went, the more obvious it became to me that it wasn’t fair for them or for us. I told Sam that it was my decision and I recognized that we couldn’t find a place affordable to have them with us. They were essentially becoming a hinderance and limiting our options. I appreciated every effort he put in to keeping the cats. I love him even more for that. When I finally made that decision, we brought them to the shelter. They reassured me that they do background checks and they don’t just give them to anyone. I was very comforted by those words as this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had uncontrollable tears as I said my goodbyes and that I was sorry.
I walked away crying and I felt like a hot mess. I felt like I let them down. I felt like I failed them. I felt ashamed. I wish I could have explained why I had to leave them. I wish they could understand. But I had to remind myself that this was the best decision. They were in my life for a reason and they blessed me in so many ways. It was time for them to bless the next family. I checked the adoption website every day and it pained me to see their photos. I called often to see how they were doing and if anyone was interested.
We found an apartment that happened to be pet friendly. Sam told me that he considered adopting them back as a surprise. He told me he called and that’s when he found out that Mocha was already adopted. She went to good home. In the coming weeks, it was difficult to see Latte’s photo still there, but she soon found a home too. It has been a few months and I still miss them dearly. I miss waking up to Latte curled in my arms. I miss hearing their little “meows.” It gets easier as each day passes but I still feel guilt.
Maybe you are going through the same thing. Maybe you are not financially able to keep your companion. Maybe you developed an allergy or someone you live with is allergic. Whatever your situation, know this: there is no shame in finding a good home for your pet. Although they don’t understand what is going on, this last action is a form of true love toward your animal. I hope this brought encouragement if you are on the fence about rehoming your pet.