Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Kitten Konundrum

The Kitten Konundrum is where people think the younger ones are so cute and adopt because of that, then discard the cat or dog once they become adults. This was far more common when I was growing up, but still happens today. It's sad that humans would adopt based on cuteness, and a very shallow idea of what's cute at that.

I prefer to adopt kittens over adults for one reason only, the kitten has an easier time adjusting their personality to suite me. I always plan on being with them for the long haul, until they grow old and die with a smile on their face for having lived a good life. This is one of the only two valid reasons to adopt kitten instead of an adult.

The second reason, and why I get as young as possible, is to delay the inevitable as long as possible. Cats and dogs have much shorter lifespans than we do, adopting only kittens a human could have five or six cats their entire life. It is hard to see them go, and was a reason I went without for so long before adopting Pepper.

Pepper is six years old now, that is no more than 14 years I get to spend with her. I am 39 years old now and will probably live another 40 years. Giving optimal health for Pepper, that's less than half my remaining life, which means I will have to deal with another best friend's death again. This is the reality I was considering when adopting, a reality I had prepared for before allowing myself the companion.

I suffer from depression, what that means is that I dwell on things, negative events stay in my focus longer and all problems become mountains to climb. Pepper offers a distraction for me, pulls me away from a problem long enough to regain focus and shed the frustration. In return I dote on her, giving her everything she needs and wants, as long as it won't endanger her health.

Today, Pepper has opened up a bit more. She no longer cowers when I reach to start petting her, which she was always a bit nervous at first. She knows I will accommodate her love for water straight from the faucet, even picking her up to set her next to it. She is eating a small amount of the canned food as well, she was afraid of it at first.

She doesn't go under the bed except to test if I am paying attention to her now. She comes right back out from under the bed when I call her. When I am at my table she sits in the windowsill where I can see her. I see her sitting up more often as opposed to the crouching position.

She lays out on the carpet a lot now, relaxed. When she first came, she would only lay in a ball or on her paws ready to bolt if threatened. The elevator is becoming more of a curiosity for her each day, I am hoping when we go to the vet it will be on a leash instead of putting her back into the cat carrier.

These adjustments are the hard part about adopting an adult cat, set in her ways and hurt in the past, she has to learn to trust again.

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