but, I have cats

Dre and I adopted and raised from kittens a couple of wonderful cats: Isis and Posdnous.  One of our biggest challenges as we began to plan for the end of our lease and our divergent adventures, was trying to find a temporary home for them.  They are two of the most even-tempered and loving cats I have ever encountered, but still, we had a hard time placing them.  Most people who like cats already have cats, and by all accounts, it can be extremely difficult to integrate new cats into existing cat territory.

However, at the last minute, we got lucky.  We found a very caring and thoughtful woman who was excited to try out having pets in her life again.  What’s more, she lives out in the very outskirts of town with a wooded lot next door–an idyllic locale for the cats to spend their autumn.

Or so I thought.  That idyllic locale, it turns out, is infested with fleas.  And fall, the vet tells me, is when fleas rally around any warm body they can find and desperately reproduce in an attempt to increase their numbers and their colony’s chances for surviving the winter ahead.

The cats had a series of vet appointments to get up-to-date on their shots before I left.  The first appointment after their relocation yielded a couple of fleas and a tick on Isis.  Not a problem, I thought, we’ll treat them with Frontline and that’ll be that.  However, their final appointment was yesterday and Isis had developed a couple of disconcerting bald spots.  The vet pulled aside some hair to reveal fleas.  She pulled aside more hair and revealed more fleas.  She then repeated the process on Posdnous.  Since they had both been treated with Frontline but the fleas persisted, the vet told me their environment must have a pretty solid infestation.  What’s more, Isis’ bald spots indicated that she was allergic to the fleas.  I began to panic.

This news, coupled with the realization of my collapsed relationship, crystalized into some kind of revelation in my mind.  I may be overreacting, but I don’t want to leave my cats to struggle in discomfort while I’m out riding my bike around.   I don’t want to duck acting responsibly toward my loved ones to carry through with my vague notions of personal fulfillment.  I’ve done that before, when I chose to no longer keep a home for my dogs, and let my mother and sister care for them as I pursued whatever opportunities came my way.  My mother and sister love my dogs, and my dogs love my mother and sister.  The situation appears to have not caused anyone any serious hardship or pain.  But I have never felt entirely comfortable with my laissez-faire attitude toward them.

I’ve talked it over with Dre, and it’s been decided that from here on, the cats will be mine.  My mother has agreed to take the cats in while I go on an abbreviated journey.  Mom already has my two large dogs and her own cat to care for, so their stay cannot be a long one and I must be ready to make a home for them as quickly as possible at my journey’s end.

The short of it is: I’ll be staying around CoMo for another week as I get the cats into the vet for a night to be quarantined and given a serious flea treatment, and then to act as a referee between mom’s existing cat and my cats, before setting out.  If all goes well, I’ll be on the bike and going by Saturday, Sept. 20th.

That means we’ll be one more week into the fall weather before my trip even gets under way.  I could still head North and see how far I can get before depleting funds or cold weather send me back the other way.  But now that I doubt the possibility, or the wisdom, of making my journey to Kripalu and then to Washington, DC, I’m beginning to consider other alternatives.  Maybe head directly east to Washington DC, taking the TransAm route.  Or maybe just follow the river south along the Great Rivers route.  If I’m doing either of these, I need to get it figured out by tomorrow morning, so I can order the necessary maps and get them in time for my departure.

D Rex

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One Response to “but, I have cats”

  1. Traci Says:

    Hey – we have experience integrating a new cat into a house that already has a cat so if you need any advice, let us know. It was actually pretty hard & kind of stressful, but this is what we did:

    We had Butters for about 1 1/2 yrs when we got Norman. We brought Norman into the house in a cage & let Butters sniff him (while Norman was still in the cage) but Butters did not take well. We took Norman into the bedroom & kept them separated. Butters could go near the bedroom door & sniff underneath it, but they couldn’t see each other.
    We slowly introduced them to each other over the course of a week. We opened the door a little bit but put up a gate…then we opened the door up all the way with a gate still up…then when they finally could see each other without Butters hissing we opened the gate. It took about 7 days, but after we removed the gate they sniffed each other a little bit & started playing.

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