Monday, July 21, 2008

Sophie's Choice: The Sequel

So I don't believe that Meryl Streep ever made a sequel to the critically-acclaimed, 1982 film that landed her an Oscar (her only one as far as I know) but today I once again found myself in the position of having to make a difficult decision.

Meet the newest visitor to the Paris farm:

Isn't he sweet looking?

He showed up on Saturday night but I didn't get my hands on him until this morning. He might be 4 weeks old and he probably weighs less than 6 oz. Seriously - he fit into the palm of my hand. Way too young to be separated from his mama and his litter mates...

Anyways - it was in my compassionate nature to care for him for a little bit - give him some milk, some food, and try to find him a good home. Or at least get him to where he was big enough and healthy enough and strong enough to survive outdoors as a barn cat because seriously - doesn't every farm need a barn cat?

But Marty would have none of it. He said we didn't need another cat - frankly we didn't need another animal of any sort - and that while he would support a barn cat, he didn't think that I had the emotional stamina. Something about 6 months from now, below freezing temperatures and this little one meowing at the door looking for a warm place to sleep.

I asked everybody I knew if they would take him but nobody would/could. I tried to find a no-kill shelter that was accepting strays - none were. They were all full. At the end of the day, my only choices were:

1) to send him to Lincoln County Animal Control and hope that he got adopted otherwise he would be "humanely" terminated (talk about an oxymoron)

2) to keep him here until I could find someone to take him

3) to keep him here until Marty fell in love with his sweet face

I was going to push for option number 2 but then I made the mistake of calling my large animal vet. The receptionist there told me that you have to beware of stray cats and kittens because they can have rabies...among other diseases. It is rare but a few years ago, a stray kitten showed up at their door. They took it in, gave it shots (after all, they had resources) and everything was fine until one day this sweet, docile kitten went crazy and died. Turned out it had rabies.

"But don't you have to be bitten or scratched in order to get rabies?" I inquired.

Apparently not. Saliva is sufficient. So suddenly - the threat this little, harmless, innocent looking furball posed to me, Marty and our entire family (2 cats, 7 pygmies and 1 miniature donkey) became significantly more meaningful. The fact that I had picked him up and held him in my hand, carried him into the house - all seemed potentially hazardous.

I dropped him off at Lincoln County Animal Control at around 4:40pm. I hated to do it. The sheriff on duty and I even talked about it because it is my dream one day, if I ever have enough money and can find the right piece of property, to open up an animal rescue/shelter for all of the strays and unwanted animals in the world. Seriously. But I couldn't take the risk with this little one and our family, and Marty and I just aren't able to commit to any more kids right now.

I confess, I don't feel good about my decision. I am just hoping that because he is so cute he finds a family soon. Any local readers out there - stop by Lincoln County Animal Control and take a look at this fella and take him home:

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...