The Senate’s decision (as of this writing) not to renew an extension of unemployment benefits means I have to seriously consider the possibility of life without my three cats.
What the recession has meant to so many animals and their humans is beloved pets ending their lives in shelters with little chance of adoption, or pets abandoned in foreclosed home. For others, barely scraping by, it may mean their four-legged companion might have less to eat or shredded newspaper instead of cat litter. Senior pets have an incredibly low adoption rate and special-needs pets are all but out of the running when placed in cages next to fluffy, energetic young’uns. In some ways it is far worse for seniors — especially when they have known a lifetime of care and affection. Just the shock of being torn from familiar surroundings could be fatal.
I have been fortunate enough to provide for my little fur family during a yearlong job hunt but now I can barely look at Bubba, Chyron and Stanni without fear of what the near future will bring and how to keep them out of a shelter, if possible. It’s just the four of us, no friends, family or resources. I write that not out of self-pity but from a realistic assessment of options.
Even in the best-case scenario of finding homes for one or all of them, knowing that they would have to be split up is sad. Bubba is 22 and more than anything, I want the rest of his life to be one of comfort and kindness. Chyron is about 14 and Stanni is 9, so they still have a few more years left to chase each other and compete for Bubba’s affections. It is the least I can do for them.
Undoubtedly there are many more people out there facing the same dilemma. As I wonder whether I will be on the street, it is crucial to keep these three devoted friends from suffering due to my misfortune.
Who will love them when I’m gone?