PQ 12.7 — Am I prepared to bring someone I care about (or will come to care about) into a situation where I must dump them at someone else’s will?

an artwork of the same cat, split into 4 separate images but in 4 different colors, clockwise starting on top right: black & white, blue hue, supersaturated orange, and natural tabby
Image by woodleywonderworks / CC BY

PQ 12.7 — Am I prepared to bring someone I care about (or will come to care about) into a situation where I must dump them at someone else’s will?

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There was a time in my life when I desperately wanted a cat, but my lease said “no pets.” So even though I really wanted to do it, I held off on driving down to the Humane Society, paying the adoption fee, and bringing a kitten home.

It didn’t seem fair to put an animal into that situation — where I’d have to hide them whenever maintenance came around. And forget about letting the kitten ever play outside, see the sunshine.

I couldn’t do it.

But I watched as other friends made different choices. John, my best friend at the time, had a similar stipulation in his own lease. However, while I stuck to a fishbowl of zebra danios, John went out and got five cats.

Five cats.

John dealt with this predicament with a surprising amount of deftness. He had a protocol for locking up the cats, places where he could stow them should maintenance swing by unannounced. And he’d worked out a system for the scheduled visits where he would hand off the cats in their three cliques (two friendly pairs and the oddball loner cat that got along with no one) to his parents and a coworker who had a house.

Sure, the cats were a bit perturbed by all this shuffling about (cats typically deal very poorly with change), but John made it work. He got his five cats in a no-pets-allowed apartment.

John got away with it. But I always wondered what would have happened if he’d gotten caught. And that was a risk I could never take.

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This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this indexed list.

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