Feline Visitation Rights

May 4, 2008 3 Comments »

Photo: Since I’m in the process of selling off all of my posessions, my friend Linda sent this photo to me as a joke!

I used to say that my cat, Palucci, had love for only one person; that person used to be me. However, when I decided to do my long term travel last year I knew I had to come up with a new home for her. This task was not as easy as one might think. Sure, she’s cute, well kept, soft, playful, loving, cuddly…but only to me; everyone else she hates. Not only hates, but uses her good looks and fuzziness to lure people in and then bite them. I keep the Neosporin on hand as blood has been drawn many times. Her feisty attitude never really bothered me, in fact I kind of liked the fact that I was the only one in the world that she loved. She protected me…from everyone. She hated men that I dated, kids, friends; except she did have a bit of a soft spot for my mom, but who doesn’t?

cat playingI had an equal amount of love for her, I had her since she was a kitten 9 years ago. After 7 years, I became allergic to her; but even then I opted to take a myriad of allergy medicine every day instead of getting rid of her.

My good friend Linda was witness to my emotional melt down two years ago; no one could take my cat while I traveled and I was completely distraught trying to figure out what to do with Palucci. I was leaving in 3 months for my journey and needed a solution. I couldn’t just leave Palucci behind; she was my family. Linda took pity on me saying “I’ll take your cat if you want; I was going to get one anyway. I wanted a nice cat, but that’s ok, it’s only for a year.” Problem solved!

I took Palucci to Linda’s home in Storrs, Connecticut a few weeks before I left the country. It was a tearful parting, but I knew she was in good hands…Linda that is. I knew that my cat only had love for one person and soon she would forget me, and start loving Linda. She’d be adorable, cuddly, talkative, playful…all for the sole attention of Linda.

Photo: Linda and Palucci
Linda and PalucciSure enough, I was right. As I traveled the world (allergy pill free), I had updates from Linda. She and the cat were getting along amazingly well. Linda loved the cat, the cat loved Linda…a perfect match. So when I came back to the US after 16 months of traveling, I had a big decision to make yet again. Do I take my cat back?

I knew what the answer had to be…it could be nothing else than “no”. I was still deathly allergic to her, I had no idea how long I was staying in the US, nor where I was going to live; and the cat was perfectly happy. I had to give her up for ‘adoption’ to Linda. She was Linda’s cat now. However, I had lifetime visitation rights.

PalucciWhen I arrived in Storrs, it had been 20 months since I had seen Palucci. I wondered if her little pea brain would remember me, but mostly I wondered if she would hate me. When Linda and I walked in her door, Palucci was there, just like old times, purring and looking for attention. Yet after the normal minute of rolling around she stopped, stared, and ran away to hide. I got my answer, she definitely remembered me. In the past when she would run and hide it was because she was scared; normally associated with me moving her across the country to a new apartment. She would go find a little nook and stay there for hours until she realized that we weren’t leaving this new place.

I believe she was definitely scared when she heard my voice and smelled my scent, she ran and hid because she thought I was going to take her away again. Eventually she came out of her hiding place, and slowly checked me out more. I think the whole experience confused her. This cat that had love for one person, now had a dilemma. She would come to me and cautiously check me out and let me pet her, then she would go run to Linda. Eventually, as we sat on the couch, she came and sat between us not really able to resolve who her loyalty should go to; the past or the present.

Me and PalucciAfter two days at Linda’s playing with Palucci and hanging out, I was able to steal away a few precious moments and memories. I was relieved that she didn’t treat me like other people, she didn’t bite me, she wasn’t bitchy, she didn’t hiss. Instead she fell into old habits with me, cuddling, playing, and sleeping with me. I was also able to see how much Palucci loved her new owner and home; Linda provided her more attention and love that I ever could have. I was also able to realize just how allergic I still was to Palucci as I wheezed with asthma and my eyes watered. In the end, it was clear that she (and Linda!) had been very happy with the last 20 months, and that they would continue to be going forward. I was thrilled that everything had worked out so well. I was also thrilled that Palucci remembered me; she not only remembered me, but she still had saved a little unconditional love for me – the person that gave her away. I had been wrong; she was able to love more than one person.

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