I’ve lived in this area for only six months, and I’m already looking for another place to move into. My particular reasons are simple – my current rental is no longer going to be available for rent, so I have been asked to vacate. The reasons could have been varied and more difficult – lost job, broken relationship, new relationship, fire, flood, relocation, and the list could go on.
I have had six weeks to find a new place, and first it seemed like it would be a repeat of the situation I found when I moved to this area six months ago. Rentals that were okay, but seemed expensive, and would still be snapped up if I gave myself a day to think about it. I was halfway through my first day’s drive in my relocation last August before I knew where I’d be living when I arrived.
This is not an ideal situation. I have a cat, and for me it is not an option for my life changes to negatively impact her own life. Yet that happens all too often when people move or find themselves in a relationship where the other person “just doesn’t get along” with the cat or dog or whatever companion animal was committed to.
Years ago I relocated with a job and happened to be going back to where I’d just moved from for a business meeting a week or two after the move. Lucky for a co-worker’s cat, who they’d left behind. Offhand they mentioned having left her behind. Horrified, I said “I can pick her up and bring her back for you.” They were surprised, but happy to take me up on the offer. It turns out she only managed to make it from California to Phoenix with them because she got in the car when they were about to drive off, having made no provisions for her. They shrugged, and figured if she was a problem, they’d just put her out of the car.
Yet they loved this cat. I’m being completely serious, they cared for her. I sometimes hate that word. “Care”. What meaning does it have for the cat that is left in the driveway as her owners who love and “care” for her leave her homeless, unprotected, and uncared for? What meaning does it have for the chickens, cows, pigs who are slaughtered for the consumption of people who “care” about animals?
So this cat who had showed up at their door in California after being left behind by other “caring” people, managed to go with them to Phoenix, was then left behind because they simply didn’t want to make the effort to bring her with them on their next move.
I think I mentioned that it was a company relocation? That means that they would have had NO out of pocket costs associated with moving the cat. There was no effort, other than putting her in a carrier and putting her in the car, or handing her to a company that transports “pets”, that they needed to make. They claimed that they couldn’t find a hotel for a short term stay until they found a home that would take cats. I just looked at them when they told me this. I stayed in the very same hotel for my first week. With my cat. With the full approval of the hotel staff. They hadn’t bothered to check. And the relocation benefits would have covered boarding her, regardless.
So when I went back to Phoenix, I picked their cat up. She was a good traveler, which she had to be or she would have been dumped off I-10 on the way to Phoenix from California. They were very happy to see her when I showed up at their door with their cat. They love their cat, you see. They really care.
I was reminded of her story when I was in NYC last weekend. Mooshoes does a lot with cat and dog rescue, and one of the cats that lives in the store, The Grumpy Cat, reminds me of an older fluffier version of “Kitty”, who somehow managed to find herself a home, against some pretty significant odds. There are so many more cats who aren’t as lucky. We owe them homes, safety, love, companionship. It is our fault that they are here, forced to survive the concrete jungles, the rivers of asphalt. I know everyone cares. We need to make sure we don’t leave it at that.