We suffered a loss in our family yesterday. We had to take Lily, our #3 cat, to the city pound. No sniggering all you cats-are-just-pets people, she was a member of our family and it was a difficult decision to let her go. What with a new baby coming and the phenomenal amount of food and cat litter our cats go through, we had to make a choice about one of them.
We finally fixed on Lily because Johnny and Karli have been in our family for many, many years and Patches, although she is the youngest, is the most like a normal cat we have ever had and that's really saying something. Lily has, especially in the last few years, been very withdrawn and "spooky" around us. We see her once a day if we are lucky. So, though she is a beautiful cat, as well as a gift from one of Ben's brothers, we determined that she wasn't adding enough to our family in comparison to the other cats. It was a very difficult choice and caused Ben, especially, considerable consternation.
We got Lily from Ben's brother, Joe, about 3 years ago. He owns Yarona (affectionately called Yoyo) who is the amazingly beautiful matriarch of a rather wonderful family of cats. I can't remember how many litters Yarona had before she was fixed but if I recall correctly, Lily's mother was in her first. Lily's mother was named Nosferatu but was always called Nossy. Unfortunately, she was dropped on her head as a kitten and ever after suffered from a very nervous disposition (and rightly so!). We also used to joke that it made her a little bit stupid too.
Lily's litter was born in spring of 2005. We were impressed with Lily right away because she seemed to be very adventurous and curious about everything. She was completely white except for a calico patch on the top of her head in somewhat of a flower shape. I thought the name Tiger Lily was very appropriate, but we ended up calling her Lily more often than not.
She was a very exuberant little kitten, exploring everything and just being a rather amusing little thing. She even decided to explore the fireplace in one of our apartments and after being scolded and bathed, she went right back in there to mess around again.
Somewhere along the line she suddenly became fiercely frightened of ceiling fans and would not enter a room when one was turned on. Heaven forbid we ever pick her up in said room, as we would always end up with large, bleeding scratches on our arms and sometimes our necks and backs as she scrambled to get away.
She seemed to have inherited her mother's nervousness and this continued on until the last moments we had her. This contributed to our decision to give her away because as annoying getting scratched was, we didn't want our children to suffer from such a temperamental attitude.
When I was pregnant with Audrey, we talked quite a lot about getting rid of one of the cats simply because the idea of 4 cats and a baby all under one roof was a little incomprehensible. We could never agree on what we should do about it and so it was left alone. Upon finding out that we were expecting again, Ben firmly stated that we needed to revisit the topic. We talked with a lot of people, trying to find out if anyone knew anyone that would take in a cat. We preferred to have her go straight into a home, rather than risk her getting put down at the pound. We couldn't find anyone who was willing or able.
Ben took Lily to the city pound yesterday afternoon. She seemed to know that something was up and yowled loudly as Ben took her carrier to the van. Ben, especially, felt terrible about it after he got home, fearing that he had sentenced his cat to death in the pound.
I think the most difficult thing about it all is even though we know that we did the right thing for our family, we can't help but feel that we have given her very poor chances of finding a good family and we can only hope at this point that she will touch someone's heart. If not, we can only hope that she understands on some level why we made this choice and forgives us.
Our picture-purrfect pretty girl.