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My Delirious Mind
A Raging Inferno of Delight, Perplexity, Love and Torment!
indoor/outdoor pets and the wild 
24th-Jul-2007 12:33 pm
I sent an e-mail to the kitten adoption agency that adopted out Huckleberry to me and let them know the situation. I figured they should know because they raised him from baby to 10 wk. old kitten. Rescue agencies like to keep in the know so out of respect I notified them. I told them how upset I was and how special he was to me. I did not tell them that I had negligently left him outdoors (rather than he accidently snuck out) nor that in all likelihood as a result, he got chomped by a coyote. Some info is just better left unsaid.

Anyway, I got a kind of harsh response chastising me and that's it. I don't really appreciate the chastisement, though I probably deserve it. The chastisement was patronizing, I suppose. Cat rescuers and lovers they may be, but I know they cannot be even a tenth as upset as I am. I don't know what the fuck they think they're teaching me, as if losing my cat isn't enough and I need their finger waggling to really drive it home. I assume they'll never let me adopt a kitten ever again. Their response makes me slightly regret telling them but at least I was honest. There's some value in that, I suppose. I guess I was hoping to get an empathic response.

I guess there are always many more places to adopt a kitten. To be honest, I'm reluctant. Young cats are difficult to keep within the bounds of the property. They take an excessive amount of supervision whereas older cats (Hickory and Snowflakes) have wizened up after a couple run ins with outside forces like dogs and really tall trees and have just relegated themselves to the backyard, to the roof, and to other nooks and crannies that keep them safe.

I can't see how I'd be considered a terrible, unworthy cat owner. My cats may be outdoor cats some of the time but they are the most spoiled, pampered, loved felines on the planet. I doubt they would complain. The outdoor/indoor dilemma is controversial, I'm aware of that. My belief is that although the outdoors are a risk, the cats simply love to lay in the lush green grass. They love to curl up at my feet as I read a book and chase lizards rather than longingly stare out the window for hours. How can I deny them the sunshine? I have an acre - not some little apartment in a dense urban environment - and most of the time, they are safe and absolutely blissful pouncing and playing around the pool. Each looks exceptionally healthy and vibrant, as far as cats go.

Huckleberry's death was essentially preventable. It wasn't necessarily because he's an indoor/outdoor cat but because my attention/guard lapsed. The dark force of nature seems to have taken advantage of that lapse. If I had of been more connected and more aware, that lapse would not have occured. So are the outdoors to be blamed or am I to be blamed? I didn't kill and eat Huckleberry but it's my fault nonetheless. He'd be here if I had of locked him in the house before I left for S.F. that day, and by all means, I should have done that.

The coyotes probably waited for me to leave for the day. I know wild animals do that and coyotes are intelligent. Whenever I come back from Yosemite each year, I've got deer squatting in my yard, or something comparable. They know when I'm gone. I left for the day, didn't lock my cats up, and you can imagine the coyote were like "Woo hoo!" I'm gone so infrequently, that I didn't think of that. Yes, I should have and the reminder ended up being an exceptionally painful one. Another example of how my awareness of the wild lapsed - that's what predators rely on.

If I am to be blamed, does that mean I do not deserve another chance, despite the fact that there are innumerable needy kittens? Here's the really important question - does the outdoor risk outweigh the benefits? I really have thought long on this and even now I think the outdoor risk is worth it, at least in my case where I have a fenced acre. I bet you many kittens are adopted to "safe" little apartments where they spend the majority of their time cooped up and alone. And by standard protocol, that's considered an acceptable cat life. I would like to put up coyote roll bars all around the property and get it fenced properly, both to keep the cats in and the coyotes out but that's an expensive endeavor and pretty much a long term objective.

Furthermore, I can't say I'll never lose another cat to an outdoor risk but all in all, living here, getting treated like (or better than) a human, rolling in the flowers and eating the occasional Boston Market rotisserie chicken isn't the average cat's worst fate. Hickory, who is 9, and Snowflakes, who is 13 would attest to that if they could speak English. As a matter of fact, Snowflakes is here right now, purring in my face and watching me type, so there.
Comments 
24th-Jul-2007 08:36 pm (UTC)
I'm really sorry about Huckleberry, as well as the response you received from the shelter. I certainly don't doubt that you give your kitties a good life.
24th-Jul-2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah, some animal people can be a little crass and uppity like that, i.e. Look at my new puppy I got from the pet store!

"OH GOD YOU SUPPORT BACKYARD BREEDERS YOU DIDN'T DO ANY RESEARCH BLAH BLAH BLAH"

That's really the mentality the person who wrote you had-- don't worry about it, really. We all know you spoil your cats to death and I think it's cool that some of them are outdoor cats. I used to love the barn cats at the stable where my mom kept her horse.

Maybe you could buy a special plant that reminds you of Huckleberry (perhaps, I daresay, a huckleberry plant?) and put it somewhere special in the garden, or you and G could have a ceremony where you buy a few things that remind you gyus of him? It sounds like you are really hurting and I think some closure like that could help.

<3
25th-Jul-2007 11:50 am (UTC)
Thanks tapati. I know I keep talking about it and I really appreciate that you've stood by me as a support. You know what I saw in S.F. the other day? Huckleberry jelly beans or something like that. Maybe I'll go back and get them and eat them in honor of him. Today is my birthday and I have permission from my neighbor to go through his backyard to the creek behind his property. I need to look. I like the idea of a special plant. That's a great idea.
25th-Jul-2007 11:51 am (UTC)
Whoa, you sound just like tapati. I don't know how I made that mistake. You're both sweet, that's why. :P

Thank you so much, nuclearfruit. It is a great idea. I don't really know what a huckleberry plant looks like. Now I'm curious.
25th-Jul-2007 11:48 am (UTC)
Thanks, Ted, I really appreciate the warm support. It comes at a needed time. :)
27th-Jul-2007 01:38 am (UTC)
::hugs::
9th-Aug-2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
::hugs:: back. Thanks, R.
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