we’ve all seen better days

In an almost unexpected stroke of sadness today we had to confront the reality that miss mittens, current leader in her field for "cuteness", "loves to snuggle", and "has.six.toes", was not going to make it. She was a tough kitty but just not meant to be long for this world, I suppose. I don't usually have cause to burst into tears in the middle of a crowd but today I made an exception.

We're going to miss her terribly, and it's with a heavy heart that I can sit here and think that if anything, at least she's not hurting any more. We were lucky to have her for as long as we did - and she, in turn, was lucky to have a family (even briefly) that loved her and made sure her every moment was as happy as it could be. Of course, none of this makes it hurt any less or make me stop wishing there was something I could have done.

Every cat that comes into our house is instantly loved and cared for - as foster parents, that's our job. These animals come to us because they need love and care and somewhere they can grow and develop unique personalities of their own before they find themselves permanent homes. Though they are all temporary residents, each one holds a small place in my heart - no two cats have ever been alike, and each one has shown me something different about myself and the world around me.

There is nothing romantic about death, or about having to decide if it is the best thing you can offer a living creature, but I give credit to those who have to make those decisions every day. Working with often troubled animals at kill shelters (you can read Parasol's really good comparison of kill vs. no-kill shelters over here) takes a certain level of courage, honesty, and selflessness I'm never sure I could entirely muster.

There has always been, for me, a sense of completion when I bring my fosters back and then watch the adoptables page obsessively until their profiles disappear - the sure sign that they've found a new home. It's difficult to end that process halfway through this time around without a happily ever after. She was deserving of as much love as she could get. I only wish we could have changed her fate.

I promise to post about something less depressing soon. really.