Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tucker and Civilisation

Tucker’s current difficulties with the litter-box reminded me of how and why my roly poly little friend came to live with me. His previous owners had decided to return him to the rescue group from whom they had adopted him because he was wetting outside the litter-box. He was feeling stress over the arrival of a new baby, and it unnerved his aim. He was returned to the rescue group from which he had come and, as an emergency measure, he came to stay with me.

His world was thrown into turmoil. He reacted badly and had to be force-fed for six or seven days, as he would not eat. He wet on a couple of cat-beds but otherwise settled down after a time. I decided that it would be unfair to him to put him through a similar experience when he was adopted by others, so I kept him. Besides, I liked the roly poly little fellow.

This recent problem with his wetting made me think about how easily some people will give up on pets. I don’t claim to be better than others; I can understand the frustration at having a cat suddenly, and seemingly without cause, urinate on valuable carpets or furniture. I can understand the point of view but I cannot sympathise with it. The thought crossed my mind that my life would be much more convenient without Tucker. The thought also crossed my mind that I would be richer if I robbed a bank. It doesn’t mean that either thought received my approval.

Besides, convenience should not be why we live our lives. If we lived solely for convenience, we would have practically no relationships. Marriage would be out. Children would not exist. I am neither married nor a father, but I don’t need to be to realise that having a spouse and/or offspring is highly inconvenient. Even when the situation is at its most enjoyable, it is rarely convenient. But we do not, thank God, live life for how smoothly it runs. We accept certain hardships in return for the advantages that friendship and love, entertainment and joy bring.

As well, there is the commitment I made to Tucker. I never said explicitly that I would always take care of him. It was, however, implied in my acceptance of him moving permanently into my home. To abandon him when things became difficult for me would be easy, but it would hardly be decent behaviour. Society, civilisation itself, depends upon not accepting mere convenience as a basis for relationships. By keeping Tucker, I have saved civilisation!

Well, perhaps not. But I feel civilised by keeping him. He depends upon me to keep him safe and healthy; he depends upon me without even thinking about it. Cats, dogs and other animals kept as pets don’t. They accept things as they are. They don’t think that perhaps tomorrow they won’t have homes. They trust in the people who care for them. They literally cannot conceive of things going wrong.

I could give up the roly poly one, I suppose. But when he ambles across a room just to push his big melon head against my leg, when he looks up at me with his round moon-face, I see that he trusts me without knowing that he does. And to respond positively to that trust is decent, it’s civilised. I’m not really changing the world, or even making it better, by taking care of Tucker. It may be civilised, but that’s not why I do it. I do it because I like him. I do it because he’s my friend.


  1. I wouldn't give up on Nicki and Derry, either, if things became inconvenient. I made a commitment when I adopted them, even though I didn't realize, the time, what that commitment would entail. What "unto death" really meant.

    Now that I do know, I will see my boys out of this world, unless, goddess forbid, I go first.

    But whether I would be open to adopting again and be open to the "inconvenience" again, I can't say. My knee-jerk thought is no, but I really won't know until/unless I'm in that situation.

    It's already inconvenient to have Nicki screaming in my face at 4AM EVERY. SINGLE. DAY, telling me to get my a** out of bed and feed him/them and let them out into the back space.

    It's already inconvenient to cuddle Derry when he wakes me up at 1AM, 1:30AM, 2AM, 2:30AM and I've had so little sleep I can barely function.

    It's already inconvenient to open and close that d*mned patio door into the back space eleven thousand three hundred seventy two times a day, in the hours I'm home and awake.

    It's already inconvenient to constantly clean cat bowls, dishes, litter boxes and pick up after them.

    I wonder, every day, what I'd do with all my time if I didn't have a fur family. Sometimes I get giddy with the thought that maybe I'd go to Chapters after work instead of rushing home to tend to the boys. Or go out to eat, whathaveyou.

    But in reality, if I didn't have a fur family, I'd probably go home and crawl into bed and stay there till the next morning. In reality, without any other Being to care for and to love, I'd probably end up clinically depressed again.

    So I'll take the "inconvenience." At least for now. :-)

  2. So very true...... I feel the same way about our Junior. Not everyone would be willing to "keep" a cat that basically lives in the house and has NO desire for human interaction (I swear he would lock me out if he could figure out how to open the rubbermaid where the food is kept). And yet I find joy in his antics and the way he interacts with my fosters. Would I love to pet him and love on him? Sure - but I accept his limitations and enjoy him for who he is (and hold out some hope that someday he will decide to let me love on him a little)

  3. Thank you for this post.... it is also why I can't turn my back on my kitties with health issues too. It is a commitment I made and it is a "til death do we part" kind of commitment :)

  4. That is not only one of the sweetest things, but also really says exactly what a lot of us cat people really feel! No, they're not easy, but boy are they worth it!

    Leo had some out of the box issues and my vet said to take him off of fish. Granted, his problem was crystals, that are now gone, but since taking away fishy foods, he's been great. No more outside peeing. I saw on My Cat From Hell once that a fat cat had a hard time getting into the box. they got him a lower box, used cat attract litter and solved the problem. I think they also added more boxes.. Anyway, we hope he gets over his issue soon!

  5. Lita and the boys in MelbourneAugust 15, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Beautifully put. and you have saved civilazation. we can only have a better world if we start small - with ourselves and the world we create everyday. all change begins at home. and changing people into those who give a damn about animals as fellow souls and not just dumb creatures who can be abandoned when they become a trial can only ever be done by example. give your melon-headed boy a hug from us.

  6. That is all so true. I have always said there are two types of pet owners. The people that truly love animals and then the people that have animals because they have a use for the animal of some sort such (this is a bad example) as fighting dogs.Sure glad Tucker got to stay with you.

  7. You are his hero even if he doesn't know it, and in a small way you are also mine. It enriches my soul every time I meet someone willing to step up and do what is right by an animal. Being on the edge of rescue that I am, all too often I see those who have pets that don't match the couch, who claw up the carpet, who would be too stressed to move, who are suddenly these huge allergens, etc. It makes it easier for me to do what I do when I am reminded there are people like you out there.

  8. Maximus Spittimus is well chuffed you visited his blog.

    You are, indeed, a hero of 'cat kind' in the opinion of Maxmius Spittimus....and HIS opinion is THE opinion.

    So there.

    Four Dinners
    Aide de Camp
    Maximus Spittimus