Monday, October 13, 2008

End of the Line

I have had pets for as long as I can remember. As a parent myself, now I can't imagine why my own parents were so indulgent with me in this arena. The first pet I remember is Maggie, a parti-colored Cocker Spaniel that I'm pretty sure my mom fell in love with from a shop window. We kept her for a little while until my mom said that we were allergic to her, although I suspect she just realized it was a bad decision and the excuse of allergies was the easiest way to break it to the kids. I'm not sure if Simon came before of after Maggie, but he was an all- white medium- hair cat that we got from some kids giving away kittens on Halloween. We had him for about 7 years until he got Leukemia and we had to put him to sleep, much to the trauma of my brother and I. Besides these pets I had many others, a total of: 4 lizards, a mouse named Spencer, countless 'feeder' goldfish, 3 rabbits, several kittens, my calico cat named Molly, a Lab named Maddie, my Weimeraner named Sadie, a horse I leased named Astro, and an almost-sheep named Lambie. After I moved out the pet-collection got even worse. Since then I have also owned many rats, a freshwater aquarium, 2 snakes, a pink-toe tarantula, and several more cats including the 2 hairless ones we have now.
I worked as a vet tech for 5 years, starting at the age of 16. I loved this job, but it required very many tasks that were at times revolting, and I never minded any of it. It was fascinating and fulfilling. Later I was a manager at Petco which also had it's fair share of less-than glamorous aspects, but I still loved it.
I have always been an animal-lover. As an intense teenager I was a vegetarian and animal-rights activist, and even a vegan for a short time. I always marveled at how this trait was settled upon me since no one in my family shared my affinity for all living things. I have always unflinchingly accepted this as a basic part of my makeup and personality.
Until now.
Things are changing.
Before I had Lola I remember actually being afraid that having a child would make me love my pets less. Ha.
Well it did.
Ever since having children, there has been a slow decline in my devotion and dedication to animals- my pets more specifically. As time goes by I have less and less tolerance for the additional workload my pets place on me. Now that we have Fiona, it is almost intolerable. They are just 2 more creatures that I have to care for- cleaning up their bodily fluids, feeding, watering, bathing... without the same incentives or rewards you sometimes get for caring for your children.
For example- since the cats are hairless, they are actually quite high-maintenance. They still excrete the oils a normal cat would, but lack the hair to absorb it, thus attracting all dirt and grime to it like a filthy, greasy magnet. This requires once-a-week bathing at which I am negligent at best, as well as regular ear, eye, and nose cleaning. Also nail trimming. This oily dirt-attraction leaves brown spots wherever they congregate. Since they are hairless, they also seek cozy warm places. Hence, the places they congregate are many and leave the aforementioned brown patches on our sheets, covers, furniture, walls that they lean against, windowsills, blankets, pillows, clothes...
I know, disgusting.
Up until now it has been a mere nuisance that I was willing to overlook for the affection and pleasure of my kitties.
I still love these cats, but it is not really worth it to me anymore. The more complicated my life becomes as my family grows, the less I am willing to expend my limited energy cleaning up after these guys. It seems lately they are so much work!
For instance, a few days ago I came out into the living room to find 2 piles of cat vomit. Lovely.
Yesterday I discovered that one of them crapped in our bathtub, the very same bathroom that houses their currently immaculately clean litter box, leaving them no excuse for such behavior. Before I could clean that up, they did it again. What the?! I am washing my bedding constantly, trying to remove stains that are hopeless. I walk around the house with a bottle of Lysol and try to remove the stains I see from room to room. I clean the litter box frequently to avoid having a characteristically cat-smelly house. Bathing them is always at the top of my to-do list, and seems to resurface as soon as I get around to doing it.
They are also incredibly needy, a trait I found endearing until recently. Hence, the picture of Smegel laying on top of Timm's arm as he feeds Fiona a bottle. He frequently lays flush against her while I nurse her. They sleep under our covers every night, nestled as close to us as possible. When I spend my whole day in close physical contact with a preschooler, an infant, and at time a husband, 2 sweaty cats are the last things I want to share my affection with, especially if they are vying for it while I am presently sharing it with other members of my actual family.
I never thought this would happen. I can't believe that I am saying it, but I don't know how much of an animal-lover I am anymore. Or- I still love them and are fascinated by them, but I don't know how well they fit into my life anymore. I am as shocked as anyone and now find myself in a predicament since my cat's predicted lifespan gives us another 10 years together. Unless that long-term cough of Smegel's develops into something more...
Forgive me Erin!


Anonymous said...

I can't say I ever saw this coming! Oh my. While I could have written this post (the annoyance of it all- not the animal loving part) I feel sad that it is you writing it because I am sure these are feeling that you hate to have. I hope you figure something out- finding them a good home seems like the best option. Your sanity must come first!

rmt said...

I didn't think I would ever see this day! You know that I just don't share your love of pets, but I would say maybe give it another month or two...just to make sure that it's what you really want.

Good luck!

michelle said...

I never saw this coming, either. But I don't blame you in the least. After seeing firsthand the mess the cats make, I know I'd be wanting to find them a new home as well! (Yet another reason cats were meant to have hair!)

I hope you can come to a satisfactory resolution to this growing problem.

p.s. Did you know that we had three dogs in my childhood before you were born? 1. Tiffany, a white poodle, 2. Heidi, an Irish Setter, and 3. Harley, cocker spaniel. So funny that I didn't live with any of your pets except for Simon. Mom & Dad were seriously indulgent on the pets.

Rin said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Not the Smegeles. :( Wait, what about Moosey? How is she doing?

charlotte said...

My surprise follows everyone else's! Who knew this day would ever come? And after those accounts of cat vomit, I'd be all over finding your cats a new home.

And Erin, my family has Moosey now! And I will assure you that she is more than well loved. :)

Susan said...

All I can say is "HOT DOG!!!"

To me, any time a pet interferes with the beauty and cleanliness of my home, they're no fun anymore! I too, have grown less and less fond of these two creatures that abide in your home. (It might also have something to do with the litterbox intensity during a shower and hair drying when I am a guest......)

I'm sure that they will be wanted somewhere.....but where??! And, I'm not too sad either! And just think, Dad has some dandy photos for remembering them!

Ta ta little ones! (that's cold, I know.....)

michelle said...

I just about died when I read Erin's comment. She didn't know about Moose either??

Rin said...

No, I had no idea about Moosey...I did think it odd that she wasn't showing up in any of the pictures though. :(

So, I am adopting a kitten tonight, but if worse comes to worse I could always come get the Smeegles in a few months.

Melissa said...

Wow, so much work for a pet! Yikes! You have me convinced to give it up to someone else. What does your hubby say about it though?

Denise said...

Take comfort in knowing that Moosey is the recipient of so much love and affection at our house! We love her intensely here, and can't imagine our lives without her. Perhaps someone is out there who will feel the same about your cats. Well, maybe.

I've been meaning to post about our adoration of Moosey--now I will for sure!

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