If you have any soul at all you are weeping right now. It was the saddest thing. I ransacked the cabinets for a can of tuna and pulled out a cardboard box and a blanket. She wolfed the tuna but didn't know what to do with the box. She sat on our back deck and looked at us through the screen door, mewling sadly at us.
"Heather, I don't want a cat. Stop looking at me like that." Greg is such a dude.
The next morning she seemed to have taken off. I was worried and kind of relieved. But then it turned out she was just in the side yard! I fed her more tuna and then she climbed up into my lap. She had on nothing but a flea collar but it was clear that she was someone's house cat. She was so sweet. On the advice of a friend I called Oregon Humane Society and left a message asking to set up a drop-off time for her. OHS is a no-kill shelter and I knew she'd get snapped up right away.
And I waited for a call. And I waited for a call. And the call never came. In the meantime, I asked Facebook and Twitter for ideas to rehome her and everyone was spectacularly unhelpful, instead telling me, "Yay, you have a kitteh!" Actually, Internet, we have this huge trip planned and we can't adopt a cat who may or may not be litter box-trained, and leave her in our empty house for two weeks. A friend even offered to kick in money for a kitty hotel while we're gone. But you know what kitties need before they go to a kennel? Innoculations and vaccinations and a whole host of documentation we don't have. It's kind of impossible for us to adopt right now.
I bought real cat food and spent hours scanning missing cat ads and calling people who sounded like they might be possible fits. I discovered that people are spectacularly bad at describing their pets: "cat-sized cat." "Calico-colored cat." "Wearing a collar unless it fell off." I spoke with a woman for about 15 minutes who had lost, then found her pet. We lamented how frustrating the county website is and she wept while she told me about losing, then finding, her cat. In the meantime our stray cat sat on our deck, not making any attempt to find her way home.
On Sunday I tricked the sweet cat (I'd begun calling her Stevie in my brain) into a carrier and took her down to Dove Lewis to see if she was microchipped. She bawled the entire way there. I have never heard such sad noises come from an animal and it was brutal. At Dove Lewis they scanned her and found no chip. Then the very sweet vet tech told me that OHS doesn't take stray cats, they only take owner surrenders. My only option was to take her to the county shelter (the one where 50% of cats are euthanized).
"The one that closed 30 minutes ago?"
"Is it closed on Labor Day?"
I burst into tears. I took poor Stevie home and released her back into the yard. I thought she would try to claw my eyes out for subjecting her to that, but instead she crawled into my lap again and fell asleep. I worried she'd starve while we were traveling, having grown accustomed (after two days!) to being fed by me. I worried she'd get attacked by a raccoon or another cat. Stevie is a lover not a fighter, you see. I finally put out a pathetic status on Facebook asking if anyone had room for her in their home, because otherwise she was going to the pound. My awesome librarian friend Steve wrote back two minutes later saying he might have someone. His friend wrote me almost immediately with her phone number and fifteen minutes later she was at our house, ready to foster Stevie. Apparently it can take months to get a cat into OHS so I'm hoping that maybe we can adopt her once we return from traveling. Greg doesn't want a pet, mostly because they make spontaneous travel impossible, but he said he'd give in if it was important to me.
He's a seriously good man, that one. And I hope he meant it because I think I might want to bring Stevie home. But I've never owned a cat before. They poop in your shoes and scratch up your furniture and try to suffocate you in your sleep, right? Someone scare me petless, please. Really.
This whole situation added to a few weeks of feeling like I'm failing at everything I attempt. Bringing a new meaning to Bad Idea Jeans, I tried to dye my jeans darker using this method and ended up with purple pants. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet, especially when it's people telling you to use weedblock fabric in your landscaping. Seriously guys, don't use that stuff. Bad idea jeans, indeed.