Retributive Justice   3 comments

I’m sure that many of you have heard the statement, “Let the punishment fit the crime.”  I know that it is used often in legal terms, but I’ve also heard parents say it when deciding on appropriate discipline for their children who have stepped outside the lines in some way.   As the Wikipedia entry I just linked to states, “The judgment of whether a punishment is appropriately severe can vary greatly between cultures and individuals.”  And herein is the cause of my concern and my angst the last couple of days.

A Facebook friend of mine, a person I have never met face-to-face but have had online “social networking” contact with for going on six years now, is a pet owner.  She has three cats in residence, a dog, and some rats, I believe.  There was a horse in there at one time.  By her own statement, she has been a cat owner for 38 years.  Her 11-year-old female cat started marking her territory by inappropriate urination some time ago when the household was fostering another female cat.  The other cat is now back to her original guardian but Sweetie is still returning to her marking territory in the family’s dining room and has ruined wall-to-wall carpeting and underlying flooring.  My friend has apparently cleaned and cleaned and can’t get Sweetie to quit peeing outside the box, which I gather has been placed in her favorite spot to pee.

My friend’s solution?  She is trying to find another home for Sweetie, one in which she’ll be either the only cat or the only female cat.  If another home hasn’t been found within a week, Sweetie is being euthanized.  My friend has placed an ad on Craig’s List to try to find Sweetie a new home, and this is what it says: http://fortcollins.craigslist.org/pet/2402506223.html

Yeah, that was my impression, too.  Who is going to adopt a cat who has driven its current owner to the brink of a nervous breakdown?  There are no guarantees that this cat won’t carry her current behavior into a new home.  None at all, and who is going to take on this challenge?  Not someone who is looking for a cat on Craig’s List, that’s for sure!

Sweetie is doomed.

I can sympathize with this because I, too, was mom to a cat who marked her territory in our new home when she was a two-year-old.  There were no other cats in the house, although I think that there may have been one in residence before we moved in.  In Mandy’s case, it seemed to be more of an issue of outside neighborhood cats coming too close to the house.  Mandy went to work, peeing on the carpet all along the south side of the house where the windows were. From one end of the living room to the other end of the adjoining dining room, she peed on the rug.  It was a stressful time, and I received the advice from one friend that I should get rid of the cat.   My reply to that was, “Is that how you treat your two-year-old when you move to a new house and the child has nightmares or potty training issues due to anxiety and stress?  You get rid of her?”  That’s how I felt about my cat.  Somehow, I’d figure something out.

We put plastic tarps all along the rooms with those windows.  She peed on the tarp.  I cleaned it up.  Finally, I moved the litterbox to the particular area she seemed to be most fond of.  No, it wasn’t culturally acceptable to have a litterbox by the dining room table.  However, the cat used it there.  After several weeks, I moved the litterbox back to a more appropriate spot a room away, and Mandy decided to resume using the litterbox.  Did the house smell like cat pee for awhile? Yes, it did.  We eventually ended up replacing the carpeting and underpad, but my cat was alive and well and went on to live another 16 years.

Mandy again ran into incontinence issues in her elderly years.  We put a door where a door had never been before — between the carpeted area of the house and the hard surface flooring — and she spent her last months confined to areas that could be cleaned easily.  She did not suffer because of this confinement.  She was still a loved member of our household.  I also took her outside at several hour intervals and would stay in the yard with her until she had emptied her bladder. This also prevented some of the clean-up.  She seemed to enjoy this time, and it worked out okay all the way around.

The situation as I see it is that a human family with allegedly well-functioning brains should be able to figure out a solution that does not involve either continued destruction of furnishings or euthanasia of the animal.  There has to be some in-between measures that can be successfully taken, although they may not be easy solutions without time, money, and emotional commitments.  The friend who owns Sweetie lives in a rural area with at least one outbuilding (i.e. a barn).  They have a sizable house.  I think that they are more than financially stable.  There simply has to be a solution that will save Sweetie’s life while a suitable home can be found in the surrounding community that may ease Sweetie’s emotional difficulties.

My friend is at the end of her rope, though, and barks at anyone who tries to make a suggestion that may help in the short-term until she can place  Sweetie with a family who will care for her.  The rescue shelters can only put her on a six-month waiting list.  The humane societies will also euthanize the cat if it can’t be placed within a certain length of time.

The sand is running through the hourglass for Sweetie.  This sucks, but there is no law against euthanizing a pet, no matter what your reason is.

And I’m upset.  I’ve actually contacted two rescue organizations for cats in my friend’s state who have told me that the waiting lines are long for taking in cats. Sweetie will be dead by then.

May the Universe enfold and protect Sweetie in her journeys.

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3 responses to “Retributive Justice

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  1. How very,very sad.Its a terrible world we live in when we are faced with a problem that cant be solved immediately so we take the easy way out.While no one may ever know the reason behind Sweeties problem,rest assured there is a reason.Animals do not suddenly act out or exhibit problems without a good reason(be it physical or emotional).My heart goes out to Sweetie.

  2. Have you heard any followup? 😦

  3. No, Molly, no follow-up. She’s quit posting about Sweetie on FB. I’m sure that there were others as upset about her plan of action as I was — at least I would hope so!

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