How to Continue?

The three kittens are still here. Once space opens up for them in a local PetSmart store, I'll drop them off, and they'll be housed in cages until adoption (the store doesn't profit, and the rescue agency goes deeper in the hole with every cat). On that day, I will become the man who betrayed them, and I won't even have the comfort of knowing that they will be sent to loving homes.

I expected fostering to be hard, but I also expected to have the same kittens for only a few days or, at most, a couple of weeks. They've now been here for six weeks, and while I try to enjoy them in the moment, I know what they do not, and that I could spare them. To atone to the dogs I murdered in order to help dogs, I could make this their forever home, and so what if my life contained seven cats--is seven really that many, once they become old enough that the furniture can be uncovered and the knicknacks returned? Peggy says yes, and while my head agrees, my heart doesn't care. My only comfort comes from knowing that, according to the actuarial tables, I will die when their lives are but half over, so it is better to let them go now.

Can I keep inviting this heartache? But if not I, then whom: people who care less; people who are stronger; people who are more practical?

I hate my species for what we do to other lives.

Perhaps, I would be doing better if it were summer because every winter, for me, is a struggle for survival. My pain is worse, and the virtues of the other seasons are absent, replaced by what? Cold. Gray. Drizzle. Darkness. Death. What insanity possessed me that I moved halfway to the North Pole, to a place that rarely sees the sun for life-sapping months? I can't breathe for the agony. I am lost already, and the worst is yet to come.

Peggy, who is more rational than I, points out that there are other ways to serve animals. For instance, I could volunteer to show them to potential adoptees, and the decision to allow--or disallow--those people to adopt wouldn't even be mine. But what if I didn't approve? What then? Turn a cat over and hope for the best? Tell the applicant to go fuck himself? Like a crazed father who greets his daughter's beaus with a shotgun, I favor the latter.

I so wanted this to be fun. I so wanted to be useful, but I am drowning in sadness.


Andrew said...

I think Peggy is right and you have to find another angle to come at helping, one that works mentally for you and does not come with feelings of such sadness.

Snowbrush said...

Andrew, I'm so glad you're here.

As Martin Buber would have expressed it, these kittens are not IT to me, they are THOU. This, moreso than the existence of God, represents my major departure from religion, because my country's dominant religion, at least, imagines that it can uphold human worth by debasing the worth of other species. I do not so debase them.

Elephant's Child said...

My heart goes out to you. I could not foster animals or work in an animal refuge for very similar reasons.
I do hope you find another way - and some piece of mind and heart.

Anonymous said...

Do you boomers realize how universally hated you are? There is not one single demographic that does not hate you- white people, black people, asians, mexicans, indians, chinese, millennials, GenX, GenZ. Something tells me that you boomers are not going to have a very comfortable or easy retirement, especially once you end up in the retirement homes.

Can you baby boomers hurry up and fucking drop dead? Enjoy your retirement homes cause we younger people will not take care of you even if we wanted to, due to the shitty economy you boomers created. Do you boomers realize that the younger generation is simply waiting for you to fucking drop dead?

You are all going to end up in retirement homes and we all know that the elderly gets treated pretty badly in retirement homes. Well, that's what you get for ruining your own children's lives. Even if your children WANTED to take care of you, they couldn't, due to you boomers destroying the economy. So I hope you enjoy the retirement homes, boomer scum!

Snowbrush said...

"I could not foster animals or work in an animal refuge for very similar reasons."

When I asked Strayer ( how she keeps going, she said that she's basically an upbeat and optimistic person (my words, not hers, it having been a while since I asked her that). I also know that deeply empathetic people tend to burn out faster than those who are able to maintain an emotional distance between themselves and those they're trying to help. When I compare myself with Strayer, I see that all the forces that made me what I am have produced a person who is deeply downbeat and pessimistic. I also know that if I took a test for empathy, I would score high. But what does it really mean to be a highly empathetic person? Does it mean I care more? When I look within, it would seem so, but if the result is that I can do less good, then it would seem that my caring is a weakness.

An additional problem that I have with volunteering at a PetSmart is that--like you--I have health challenges that often make it very hard for me to function, and this would mean that I couldn't be relied upon to fulfill my obligation. Keeping cats at home is an easier challenge because, even on my worst days, I can dish out kibble and empty litter boxes.

"Can you baby boomers hurry up and fucking drop dead?"

So that the Age of Aquarius with its peace, love, harmony, and understanding, can finally begin under the influence of people like yourself? You're one of two fanatical bigots I've encountered who appear to spend hours a week leaving identical hate-driven responses on as many blogs as possible. The other is a white man (at least the person claims to be white and male) who calls himself a medical doctor and is fixated on the evils of white women of European ancestry. As for your claim that all of the world's problem are caused by a single generation, why do you simply wish us dead? Wouldn't it make more sense to send us to death camps in order to end our destructive activity sooner?

Elephant's Child said...

Strayer amazes me. And humbles me. Given all she has experienced, to remain optimistic...
I too am empathic, but it is a decidedly double edged sword.

Snowbrush said...

"I too am empathic, but it is a decidedly double edged sword"
Most people interpret empathy as totally good, not realizing that highly empathetic people tend to, as I mentioned, burn-out fast. They also favor harsh punishments for criminals due to their ability to empathize with the pain of the victims. Child, I so appreciate you and Andrew for your support. I don't visit blogs anywhere near as much as I used to, the result being that I get very few comments, and this is a post for which I really needed support. I usually put days into my posts, but I wrote this and put it online in less than an hour, and I haven't even re-read because I'm afraid I would feel humiliated to have laid my soul bare as I did. I think I see some of this tendency in you too, and it makes me feel closer to you.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you.
I don't burn out precisely, but I do get ground down and overwhelmed. If the people I talk to on the crisis line can live their reality then I can listen, and hurt with and for them.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Ah seem so sad. Why did you publish the comments of that vicious troll?

I'm sure the kitties will go to good homes and you gave them a good start.

I do hope that you are not hurting so much as when you wrote this post. You have so much to offer us all.

Marion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Winifred said...

We decided not to have any more cats afetr our last two died. They were 21 but it's so hard losing them as you know. ANyway we thought they would outlive us & didn't want to think about what would happen to them after we'd gone.
My daughter kindly persuaded me to foster for a rescue charity. BIg mistake, they were 7 months old so past the worst stages of kittenhood and were so lovely I got attached to them & couldn't let them go.
Yes people can be so cruelto animals but then again they're cruel to each other right across the world no matter how "developed" the country is. Our parents fought a war and hoped for a better world, well not sure what they'd think of it now as we have damaged it so badly with greed. It's twenty past four in the morning so think I'll try to think happier thoughts about tomorrow evening going to church and singing carols. Mind you I'll probably fall asleep during the service as I will have had about 2 hours sleep today!
Take care Snow & have a happy Christmas & a less painful year in 2020. God bless.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Well 2020 is here and I just wanted to figure out how you are doing and Isyumble on you cat sadness. My sadness is also cat related but not because I am madly in ,ove with either. I care for them as it is my duty. But the truth is each cat was left for me by daughters who moved away. The daughters each got themselves a cat but with job moves both decided the cats should stay at Mum’s.
I already have Buddy my Down’s angel and my somewhat demented hubby along with my dying vision. And still I am to share my time as the cats choose to be affectionate. They PURR and I am humbled but the deep affection seems to be lost over the years. No idea why all I have in me is to tolerate with kindness. They eat gustily the expensive wet food and a bit of kibble and the require lots of expensive litter frequently so all is fresh and they are at the vet as needed for shots and deworming as one cat came in less than good health and spread her parasites.
So what is wrong with me that I am not able to be madly in love with the felines ?
I long for my daughters to come and take back their pets but it is not so easy.
Buddy loves the tabby older cat, a PetSmart rescue from our UK daughter. Hubby is okay with both. Yet I cannot say I truly deeply love them.
So both try hard for my affection which I feel obligated to give as we share the path of life. They very much believe they own us.
It is cold here , an ice storm right now. I hope you are cosy at your place. Feel blessed for you do inspire other souls.
Elder respect seems to be dying in some cultures as per that jerk comment above.
No issues in my family when it comes to care and love and help.
Hope to hear from you.