Saturday, September 6, 2014

Kitty Challenges

Our Jojo, 4 Months Old

One of our kitties, little Jojo, was recently neutered. He was born feral and we socialized him with our cats when he was 4 months old. I had been feeding his mother, who has established our backyard as her territory, for a long time and little Jojo since he was old enough to eat solid food. My husband and I established a bond with him pretty quickly. He got all his shots and was checked for FIV and other illnesses and was a-okay. Still, it took time to get him settled in our home. The first trip to the vet was rough on him, so we wanted to give him a few extra months before getting him "snipped," as they say.

After his surgery, he developed a UTI because of the stress he experienced (even waiting the extra few months) and had to get antibiotics to clear it up. That was another traumatic trip to the vet's office. Once he started feeling better, he decided to sneak out of the house. This is my fault, really, because though I thought I had latched our side door after popping out to my car for a second, I did not.

Jojo was gone for more than 24 hours. None of my cats had ever escaped before. Well, a few times, I've had cats scoot out for a second, but since they were all totally domesticated, all it took was me lunging at them and picking them up quickly. Jojo still has feral instincts and my husband and I worried that he might just decide not to come home. I don't have children, just our furry friends, so they mean a lot to me. This isn't to say that people with children and pets don't love or care about their animals. Of course they do, but these are the only little ones I look after and I am quite attached. I was sick to my stomach while he was out there. We have lots of feral cats in the neighborhood and a few coyotes, too.

There were a few moments that I actually rationalized drinking. Or at the least, I thought that smoking a cigarette would help. I was paralyzed with worry and felt that I needed booze and/or cigarettes to manage. Even if I snuck them behind my husband's back. I am happy to report, though, that I did not indulge. My nerves were shot, but a little voice crept in every so often that said, "Just relax, he'll be home soon." As it turns out, that little voice was right. This morning, at about 6AM, he must have had enough of "roughing it," because my husband saw him outside, called to him softly, held the door open and in he went. No coaxing, no trapping. He was just tired and hungry. After he ate, he came right over to me for cuddles. He couldn't wait to saddle up next to his kitty friends (our other two cats) and they seemed pretty happy to have him back home, safe and sound.

Today, I've got a little extra skip in my step. It's going to be a good day.


  1. I'm so glad he came home.
    It is so hard to not think the worst. I'm not a big pary-er, but in times like this the words of the serenity prayer truly help.
    Worrying used to be one of my major triggers. I would worry, it would turn into full blown anxiety, I couldn't stand the crazy thoughts and I would drink to shut them off.

    Practicing mindfulness and staying in the moment has been an important change for me. I am able to turn off the stream of worry. It is very relieving.

    It really starts with, can I change this? If the answer is no, I have to leave it to the universe. Things will happen as they are supposed to. I don't control them!

    Just some thoughts.

    That is a cute cat!

  2. You know, it's funny because society teaches us that worrying is good. Worrying is right. Worrying means that you care. It takes a long time to unlearn that. Worrying does nothing but lead to more worrying. It doesn't solve a problem, it only contributes to a problem. I really did stop at one point and wonder how I ought to be acting. Pull out all the stops, make flyers with his photo and staple them to every telephone pole, scour the streets at all hours with a high-powered flashlight, alert the president? Or simply think positive thoughts and keep the proverbial door open for him to come home. My uncle, an officer for the Animal Rescue League, recommended putting items of our clothing outside to attract him and wait a bit. Once we calmed down, I swear it changed all the cosmic energy in this situation. My best friend always says, "The universe doesn't respond to desperation." Does this mean that I wasn't sick to my stomach with concern? I was. He's such a special little kitty. But I knew that letting the universe solve the problem was a better strategy than worrying myself into a big knot ;) And being an addict doesn't help, either, because you know that drinking has always been such a wonderful "help" in these situations. When your brain is going haywire, alcohol looks at you from across the room, winks, then presents you with a big goblet of wine. Perfect! And sometimes, it did help. But sometimes alcohol made a worrisome situation worse by turning me into a weepy, emotional mess. I'm glad I faced this one sober.