I had this cat. This handsome, sweet, adorable, affectionate, cuddly, perfect ginger cat with black freckles on his nose and an unnatural attraction to all things glitter. He came into my and Rory’s lives to fill a hole, but in January, he left to join a new home. It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made.
You might wonder why I would have “gotten rid of” such a perfect cat.
It was because he was so perfect, that I owed him the best life I could. And he wasn’t experiencing that here, in my tiny one-bedroom downtown apartment with cockroaches and grimy windows. The entire reason I got Fredcat was because my dog was upset when I left for work. She would road trip with me on the weekends, but spend week days completely alone while I worked.
Then, Fredcat joined our lives and all three of us were freakishly happy. Even when Fred ate glitter and Rory ate herself sick on two pounds of cat food…twice.
However, dogs travel better than cats, and Fred debunked the stereotype of cats needing less attention. Rory would hop in the car and go places with me — long weekend trips, adventures with Nightwolf, vacations — and Fredcat, the best kitty in the world, would be left at home. Alone. A cat that friendly shouldn’t be alone. But I’m selfish, and he’s a cat, and it wasn’t until he started losing weight that I re-evaluated the situation. Tack on the fact that I was gone even more thanks to a new job and a long commute…Ferocious Fred was missing something in his life.
Fred was a feral farm kitten, rescued by my kind-hearted farmer friend, Dairy Carrie. As a feral cat, he was surrounded by other cats, and animals. Then, he was fostered in Carrie’s home with three other cats, two dogs, and an insane puppy. Even when his people were crazy-busy (which was always), he was never alone. He had a small herd of cats and dogs to pick from.
Fred needed two things:
- People who would give him the time he needed, and
- Other pets (namely one or more cats) that were home full-time to keep him company.
So, I found him that family. The moment Nightwolf and I met them, we knew they were the new family for Ferocious Fred. It was a young couple, engaged and just moved into a home they bought together. They were nerdy, and kind, and asked about what sort of toys Fred liked, how he liked to be cuddled, where he liked to be scratched, and what food he preferred. They had another young cat who needed a friend, and two dogs that could also cuddle and play with Fred.
They came to my apartment, stayed for an hour and a half, and when we were all sure this was the right thing, we loaded Fred into a box and the gentleman went and got the car. The lady stood on the foyer of my building while we waited for him to pull up, and cried along with me as I said my tearful goodbyes to the cat that I had shared a bed with for a year and a half. The cat who was bossy whenever I walked back in, because any time out of the apartment was time we weren’t together. The cat who purred easily, came when I called his name, and considered my dog his very best friend.
After they left, it hurt. I cried for what felt like the whole evening, even with the profound “gut feeling” that I’d done the right thing. Nightwolf held me, and told me how proud he was of me making this tough decision. I spent the next few days concerned with how Rory would do. She adjusted like a champ. Her weekend adventures and bonding time with Nightwolf’s dog used enough energy that being alone a few days a week wasn’t so bad.
The best part, though? Fred has an amazing new family. He and his new kitty brother, Beemo, eat together. They play together. He sleeps in the bed with his new parents. They send pictures periodically, and every time we’ve texted they’ve raved about what a perfect cat he is. And I rest assured knowing that I made the right choice.
One of the most important lessons I learned in my agriculture days was that we as people are only as good as the stewardship we bestow on the things in our care…namely, animals. And I will gladly endure missing Fred if it means I made the right call. I accepted the responsibility of his well-being…and I couldn’t live up to it. Like my many farming friends, I had to think about my animal’s welfare before my own comfort. Heartbreaking? Yes. But Fred is so much better off now. And this is hardly as weighty as some of the decisions my friends have had to make, like Tim and Emily Zweber with their organic milk cow, Miley.
I don’t really know how to end this, so I’m just going to stop here. We miss you, Fred…and we’re so glad you’re doing so well.