My first cat - Tyler - also sometimes called 'Tylis Thai Tyler the Texas Thai Tycoon' was one of a huge litter of kittens, and when his brothers and sisters were tumbling down the carpeted stairs, he crawled into my crib and slept with me. When I was 16, he had the problem many -ese breeds do (he was Burmese) and suffered from kidney failure. I held him - against the suggestion of the vet - as he was put to sleep.
Distraught for some short period of time, my parents got Merlin and Morgaine - Merlin appears in the icon above. These were truly special cats. Remarkably affectionate, loyal, sweet, and a constant in my life after my mom passed away. They too, being Siamese in their middle teen years, suffered from kidney disease, and their passing was particularly hard on kimberlogic and I.
After a short while without them, I adopted Polly, belonging to a friend of milktree's who was going away to Mexico. It was supposed to be temporary, but she stayed with goat and I and moved out to California with us. She eventually fell out of a second story window, and never really recovered from the fall, and I held her in my arms as a traveling vet came to the house to put her to sleep. goat was so worried about me she called 911 and the Fire Department came.
In the middle of Polly's stay with us, came Georgie, who chose goat as a kitten, crawling on her head and meowling during an early visit to San Francisco. She came home to Boston with Georgie.
A young and rambunctious kitten, Georgie needed a chew toy, and an elderly Polly wasn't the best choice, so we got him Sasha. They have a mostly peaceful treaty.
A lifetime of cats, and have had no regrets attaching to them deeply, feeding them, cleaning litterboxes, and dealing with moving them occasionally. I was one of those "my pets are my children" people.
Then we had kids. Two lovely, amazing kids.
And now.. the love of the cats is still there, but it seems overshadowed by the added challenges and am recently faced with wishing we didn't have them. We've had scratching incidents with the kids - Sahara about 1/4" from a trip to the ER when Georgie missed her eye. With family and friends in NY/MA, and our home that we love in CA, we find ourselves going cross county at least twice a year, for weeks at a time. Finding cat care is always challenging, and at 6 months apart (summer vacation, Christmas/New Years) finding house sitters willing to take care of cats becomes a constant job. Not to mention expensive - our kids are expensive enough, and they are the ones truly worth spending our meagre resources on. Least of all, but nonetheless true, I'd be happy to not scoop kitty litter for the rest of my life. It's not even just the expense and effort and worry, but now that we have kids, they are who I want to care for, to snuggle with, spend time with.
It breaks our hearts to consider rehoming them, but for me at least, I'm starting to feel like I can live with that guilt. Even lately, Georgie comes to snuggle, and it's nice, like it always is, but I'm just not sure pets are nice enough to make room for in our lives right now.
I remember a conversation with someone, maybe it was tamidon, about the "pets as pets" vs "pets as children" argument many years ago. Until even a couple years ago, I would have been firmly in the latter category, Today? I might be leaning towards the former. I never imagined that would be true.