Surrendering an animal out of love
It is the equivalent to whenever a human does an “mmm?” It's not entirely verbal but I guess you could say on the low tier of verbal communication. Many kittens begin their lives with a trill and for most of them, it goes away.
Gia would trill at everything. You ask her what’s up, she’ll, mmm?
You can pet her, move her, talk to her and she’ll trill before she meows. It was just the darndest thing.
I don’t think Gia’s trilling will ever stop. I don’t believe she’ll grow out of it.
But I won’t know the answer to that anymore.
My sister adopted Dumpling/Gia on January 21, 2022. She surrendered Gia on March 18, 2022.
Gia was love at first sight.
She would greet you immediately by throwing her body at your legs to pick her up. Then she would want to rub her face in yours and touch your face with her paw.
Gia loved to play and she was smart to figure out if you were being lazy and demand to make you do the work.
Gia loved to explore everything. That kitten was not afraid of a single thing. There were too many times I had to push her away from the oven to prevent a medium-rare tabby.
But even before we adopted her, we noticed something. A small patch on her face.
Turns out she had ringworm.
Cats and dogs and humans get ringworm. It is common and manageable. But with her already pre-existing health condition, my sister was hesitant on if this was another challenge she was willing to take on.
Just five weeks it would be. Some topical and oral medication just for a few short weeks would fly by.
In those weeks
Gia was placed in a cone.
The cone went from being used 1 hour a day, to 24 hours a day.
She was itching to clean herself, to scratch herself, to not have such shortened sight.
Cleaning was the #1 priority
Vacuuming, Lysol, washing fabrics. You name it, we did it. My sister was in overdrive cleaning her room. I shut Gia out of mine.
Ringworm-affected particles can stay on the hair for up to 18 months and Gia’s hair was everywhere all the time.
No more holding her
Each time we picked her up or petted her, hands had to be washed.
No more head scratches.
Then my sister got ringworm
Then I got ringworm.
Then our housemate got ringworm.
Every itch felt like a possible new flare-up.
I started to keep my distance with her more.
And Gia didn’t understand why.
Why our love got more distant,
why we got more distant.
Until last week
when the cultures came back positive for ringworm still.
After all the cleaning and the medications.
After the sleepless nights, my sister had.
After bathing and treating and trying to love her from a distance.
After over $1000 spent,
After three ringworm cases later,
My sister threw in the towel.
That was the hardest thing about it.
It is easy to accuse. It is easy to give the owner a hard time. To argue if you loved them then you’d make it work. But everyone is at a different capacity of what they can endure. Everyone is in a different place of how much they can endure at that moment in their life, and the resources and time they have. We can all make predictions on if they had more time, more money, no roommates, an isolation room, that it could work. But those “what if” circumstances are no matter here.
And that had to be understood for me to be okay with her decision on letting Gia go.
The hardest part, for me, was surrendering Gia out of love. But also accepting the fact that we cannot provide enough of what she needed and may need for the rest of her days.
Gia is one of a million cats. How lucky it was to have been loved, if briefly, by an animal such as her. She will be remembered- around the house, with a possible scar on my face (sad but true), and the many strange objects she enjoyed much more than her cat toys. And we will grieve in those small moments.
But what is grief, if not love persevering?