411: To Adopt, or Not to Adopt?


I am a sucker for a mewling kitten. I know this from bitter experience. By the time I got a job in Panama, and we were packing up to move from Morocco, I needed to find homes for ELEVEN cats. I managed all but three by the time it was time to go, so at least I only had to book flights for three pets to Panama, and let’s not discuss how much that cost.

The trouble is, once I got to Panama, it took less than a year (only ONE kitten season), to acquire two more. The fact that two of my beloved fur children went to heaven during that time, so that the total number of fur babies remained constant at three, is neither here nor there. The question remains, should I adopt, knowing I will not be able to resist anyway, and also knowing that I will not be staying in this country for another 15 years or so, which is usually how long a cat lives, on average?

It is enough that they get several good years with me and then get another home, as good as I can provide for them? That is certainly better than life on the street would have treated them, because I take them to the vet, and neuter them, and care for them. Still, I know that changing families can be stressful for both people and pets, so am I being fair or unfair to them, loving them for a time, and sharing them with some other good family when I have to go?


335: The Green Monster

Fluff-man is insanely jealous.

My neighbor across the lawn rescued three calico female kittens from a dumpster, and I took photos, made up a flyer and posted it at our 400+ student school, hoping to help get them adopted out. No such luck. Not a single nibble. So, I took one.

kitties 002

She is a cute little seven-week old, frisky and loving little lady, who attacks my hand in play fights while I am reading on the couch, and then licks the places she play bites in apology. She’s such a sweetie I named her Dulce – the Spanish word for sweet. She and I are getting along just fine. Caruso, my man-kitty buddy, a chunky, handsome tiger-striped brown boy, is fascinated with her and wants to play – but he’s a little big and she is scared of him still. So, he contents himself with lying nearby and watching her antics. Fez, my champagne and white regal lady kitty, is disdainful, but she contents herself with growling under her breath, and occasionally hissing as she strolls majestically past the little interloper.

The problem is Fluff-man. He is INSANELY jealous. Whenever he spots her, he distorts his handsome kitty face with the evilest-looking hiss (issued repeatedly), and he growls so furiously and loudly at little Dulce that it is almost howling. You can hear his mental wheels turning loud and clear – that little s*&$ is getting pets from MY MAMA, and I HATE HER GUTS. I came home from work yesterday to find Dulce mewing piteously, sitting forlornly on top of the drapery rod, just beneath the ceiling, where she had obviously climbed to escape Fluff-man’s furious swats.  Fluff outweighs her 10 to 1, so this is a real issue for the little girl.

Today, I set her up with food and water bowls and a private kitty potty in the unused second bedroom, and I shut the door. Her ”I am abandoned” wails were difficult to hear, but I’d rather she be a little lonely than hurt. My unrepentant, furious Morocco boy kitty is acting like a Muslim meeting a Jew for the first time. It’s not pretty.

I am hoping that time will temper the fury and I can convince Fluff that this new little furry face does not mean I love him any less.

292: Losing a Pet

Pets are members of the family. I know this because of the grieving process that occurs when you lose one. Even when you adopt one out to another family, you grieve and miss them, even when you kn0w they are settling in and are happy with their new family – you still miss your babies.

Some people will argue with you until they are blue in the face that animals are animals, and don’t have any feelings, and that you as their “owner” are nothing more than a source of food to them. Yeah, they do like treats, but not have feelings? They are animals just like we are animals, and nobody is stupid enough to suggest that humans don’t have feelings (except for the small minority of the population known as psychopaths, and I am not sure they are human, anyway). People who think animals don’t have feelings simply have not been around any.

We’ve adopted out four babies. It’s tough. It was tougher choosing which four we would adopt out, and which three we would scrape together the funds to transport to our new country (Panama) from Morocco, where they were born. Sport Model needed a home here in Morocco, because he’s gregarious and friendly, and he likes people. He never settled on one of us as “his” special human – he likes everybody. We were fairly certain he would be happy with a new family, and that has proven to be the case, according to the glowing reports we have gotten. I still miss his morning kisses, though.

Sugar Daddy had made it plain that he wanted to be an “only” cat – or at most, to have only one kitty sibling. He really let us know he was not happy when we’d (I’d) bring a new rescue kitten home. There were too many brothers and sisters in the family, and he did not like it. We were fairly certain he’d be happy in a home as the only cat – and we were right there, too – he took to being the one and only like a duck to water. It did not hurt that there was a nice, big garden for him to explore, either.

Timinia was a big, gawky, adolescent boy with a huge appetite that kept getting him in trouble. He had also not chosen anyone as his special human, and he was willing to accept cuddles from anybody who was willing to dispense them. His new mama is very pleased that he likes sleeping next to her, climbs in her lap looking for cuddles, and begs for tidbits, and we are very pleased we don’t have to be so viligent in the kitchen anymore when there is food preparation going on. He’s a shameless beggar.

Honey Bunny was my husband’s kitty girl. She picked him.  It was hardest giving her to a family, knowing she adored my husband. We have not yet heard if she’s adopted anyone in her new family as her new special person. We just did not have the funds to ship four cats. We really don’t have the funds to ship three, but I can borrow a little on the nickel and dime plan to get the last three to Panama.

Humsa succumbed to his automobile injuries, and I still get a pang when I think of his happy orange-striped face. He was such a sweetie: if there are pets in Heaven, he’s there, enjoying lots of petting. Medina left, preferring the great outdoors to being a house pet. If you love your children, you let them go when they want to go. We hope she’s happy in the life she chose. She did come home once for a few days, but she decided it was too limiting for her free spirit, so she took off again. Souk did not like being around other cats, was constantly squabbling with her house siblings.We regretfully took her to the medina near the meat markets, where she could be assured free handouts, and let her go free where she could be by herself, like she wanted. She was a daddy’s girl, and she despised me as competition in the worst way. Now she does not have to put up with other cats or other people.

The three we are taking? Fez is mama’s girl, and nobody else’s. She does not even like to be petted much, especially in public. Fez is a very private girl. She like her kitty loving under cover – literally. She gets on my tummy under the covers, with my knees raised so she has a nice, warm, private space, and she makes bread, and rubs her head on my leg, and licks my leg with her sandpaper-rough tongue while I pet her.  She will do that until she falls asleep.

Fluff-man loves women. He will climb in your lap, put both arms around your neck and kiss you. Hard to resist that come-on. He is a easy-going, be-bopping hippy.

Caruso is the talker. He answers when you speak to him. And he talks to you even when you’d rather he didn’t. I found him half-frozen, too young to leave mama, but if I had not taken him, he would have died. He still will energetically and enthusiastically “nurse” on our fuzzy bed blanket. They are all our fur children, and we love all seven of them!!

Caruso and Fluff

Caruso and Fluff


85: Weak willpower

I am weak. I admit this freely. I cannot, absolutely cannot, leave a mewling kitten. I have even walked on by, gotten down the road a piece, and turned around to go back and rescue the crying baby. This is a real problem. I now am responsible for eight cats, and I cannot keep eight cats. No human should have eight cats, except temporarily, when a mom has a litter of kittens. And all of ours (except for the brand-new three kittens I could not help myself from rescuing) are fixed, so – no kittens.

They are all charming fur children. Cats live for 15-25 years. It is like adopting a human child. Except that the cats are grateful.

73: New Kitty Person


There is a new foster fur child in our home. Some friends rescued a five-week old kitten during some nasty, rainy, freezing cold, sleeting weather. They could not keep her. They both live in a Residence building that does not permit pets, and one is even allergic to cat fur dander, so even though we already have five fur children, I agreed to foster her. Remember, those of you who read this blog, that is exactly how we got Humsa, number five, who is now firmly a member of the family.

I have discovered how Miss Little Bit got lost from mommy. She is a fearless adventurer. “No Fear” was coined for her alone. When she was introduced to Humsa – a husky seven-month old orange tabby male of considerable size (and still growing), she marched up to him and swatted him. A little bit like me dancing up and swatting a bull elephant. Humsa was immediately charmed. He played with her (gently) for quite some time, until I put him out of the bedroom which we have her isolated in. Our other babies are not so charmed that there is a new fur person in the bedroom, where all of a sudden, they are restricted from entering. They all lined up at the door of the room, sniffing intently, and suspiciously listening to the noises from the other side. Mew! Mew! MEW!!

Fez, who has claimed mom as her special human, warily approached me, smelled my hands thoroughly (which I had washed) and then sniffed my sweater. I had not washed my sweater. She rumbled an infuriated growl (frightening when it is happening right under your chin), hissed, and raised a paw to swat the intruder she could smell on me, but could not see. Some glint of reason penetrated her furious red haze, and she declined to actually swat me, but it was a very near thing. I have been in the doghouse ever since. The only one who has not avoided me to some degree is Humsa, but then, he was the happy-go-lucky one, and he obviously does not mind someone else, since he is the one with the lowest seniority in the family, anyway.

Miss Little Bit sleeps with me. I think this is because even though she is a tiny scrap of “cat-manity,” she knows where the warmest place is. My husband usually has a temperature a degree or so below “normal.” I have an infection right now, so my temperature is slightly above normal. She sleeps snuggled up to ME. And she figured out very quickly that under the covers is much warmer than above the covers, so I have to be very careful turning over, since she is so tiny I might smush her by accident.

I hope she gets adopted soon. She is awfully cute, and smack dab full of personality. She will make someone a wonderful pet, and she is a “talker.” This means when you speak to her, she answers you. Not all kitties do that. Sugar Daddy studiously ignores you when you speak to him, but his ears twitch and give him away, so you know he has heard you. Sometimes our others will respond when you speak to them, but none of them is a talker like Miss Little Bit. Fez is a grumbler. When you take too long opening the patio door, she will come in grumbling under her breath, and usually will grumble all the way over to the food bowl, as if to say, “I called and called, and you just made me wait and wait, and what kind of rotten service is this, you had better not be expecting a tip or a bonus at Christmas for this kind of service!” That is not the same thing as a companionable talker – that is a chastisement, plain and simple.

Anybody need a pet?