Pets are family, too: Phoebe

Dear Munchkin and Peanut,

Phoebe is very sweet and cuddly, and her fur is extremely soft. She hides from strangers and loud or unfamiliar noises (e.g., the ones you frequently make), but she loves being petted and will curl up on or next to us for as long as we allow. She was also the first to warm up to you as babies, giving us thrills of excitement the first time she settled herself on the bed next to each of you.

She also has a terrible habit of choosing not to use the litter box.

But Phoebe was Daddy’s cat; he had a strong emotional attachment to her before we even met. I couldn’t ask Daddy to get rid of her, so we tried many different types of litter until we discovered her favorite, which of course was the most expensive.

Phoebe is also meticulous, grooming herself for hours every day, more so than the average cat. She requires her litter box to meet the same standard of cleanliness, and punishes us if we slack off. But even with an immaculate box filled with pricey litter, we were still having issues. The veterinarian eventually prescribed a daily anti-anxiety medication, which finally seemed to get the situation under control.

Then life got hectic.

After Peanut was born, we were having trouble juggling an infant and a toddler, regular household duties like cooking and laundry, as well as two cats and a dog. We missed medication doses and feedings. We didn’t keep up with Phoebe’s litter box and didn’t always notice when the dog needed to go outside. We were cleaning up pet messes left and right, and we felt we weren’t being fair to the animals. After much soul-searching and debate, we asked Lola and Lolo if they would take the dog and started looking for a new home for Phoebe. We felt Tybalt was too old to adjust to a new home, and figured we could manage one relatively low-maintenance cat.

It crushed us to admit our failure. We anguished over parting with them but believed it was the right thing to do.

When we didn’t find any family or friends who could take Phoebe, we started debating no-kill shelters and rescue groups. The problem was her anxiety and elimination issues; we worried she would just languish in a cage.

Months passed as we searched for a new home for Phoebe and discussed options, and we gradually began to feel more capable. We eventually decided we could keep Phoebe, despite her problems. We brought the dog home, too.

Now we’re glad we didn’t give Phoebe away. She’s part of the family, and sometimes, a purring cat in the lap is just what the doctor orders.


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