And I feel like the shittiest caretaker ever. There they are locked up in some little storage cage and they think they are abandoned, if they even remember me any more. Will they ever trust me again? Will I even ever see them again? I am so horrible.
Please don't feel like this: you are doing your very best for them. Many people would simply abandon them, and instead you are working hard to find a way to have them back. Of course they will remember you.
Oh, Sis! I'm sorry. That's rough. You will be reunited, and the virtue of cat memory is that they'll probably forget all about the time in the cage. Hugs.
What Anonymous said, and also, I am sorry. It is hard to be separated from one's furry loved ones. Harder than with people, even children (not babies), because you can talk to and explain things to people, and there's just no way to be present for an animal except to be there in person. Do they have things that smell like you?
I'm sorry too. I really wish there were something any of us could do. :(
Hugs to you and the kitties. I am so sorry you have to go through this without the presence and comforts of your fur-kids.
What everyone else said! But I'm sorry. It would break my heart, too.
What Dame Eleanor said, in particular. I once had to put my cat in the cattery for nine weeks whilst I had work travel (single person with no local family problem), and she had NO problem remembering me and her home (and sulked for all of thirty seconds, then was annoyingly happy about being home and clingy for days). Cats do remember stuff and people - she definitely remembers my parents who only visit once every six months. Most cats do remember people and so on.
But it must be so hard for you, I wish I could do something...
Oh, dear. I'm so sorry. Count me in as another who really, really wishes we could come up with a solution. I don't suppose there's any chance of boarding them nearer by, and perhaps working at the place or something, so you could see them? Or perhaps that would be worse? I assume it would be more expensive, which is a downside.
As far as the abandonment issue goes, like other cat cohabitors above, I'm pretty sure that they are okay, and will be glad to see you when you are reunited. I've been semi-party to some less-than-ideal cat care arrangements (e.g. a cat living alone, though of course fed and watered and provided with a clean litterbox, in a house for 6 months after a parent remarried and moved out and before she -- the cat, not the parent -- came to grad school to live with me), and they don't seem to have done any permanent harm. At least they've got each other; that's something. And yes, you're being far more responsible than most people are in similar situations. I hope you're rewarded for that responsibility with the resumption of furry companionship very soon.
It's true; most would have abandoned them. It's true that it's also excruciatingly hard. When I moved to grad city, we thought my parents were going to have to take The Divine Miss T indefinitely, and the thought was enough to send me to the bottom of my Xanax bottle. They will remember you. They won't resent you. They will be as happy as you when you are reunited. But it sucks right now. I'm sorry you have to go through that.. Hugs my friend. Hugs.
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