Thursday, August 25, 2011

Decision-making about The Move...

has started and one that has been hanging over my head for awhile is "what am I going to do about Max?" Longtime hangers-on at Ms. Kitty's know that Max the Magnificent, the Massacree-er, is both a beloved fixture at the Saloon and Roadshow AND an attractive nuisance.

When I first started thinking about moving to Astoria, I realized that Max needed to stay on the island, for my wellbeing and his. There are a few organizations on the island who help to place animals who can't accompany their owners to new digs and I started investigating them, figuring I'd make some contacts here and there and by Aug. 1, 2012, I'd surely have found a place for him. Taking him with me was out of the question; paying pet deposits for three cats would be expensive and it's very possible that the only places I'd find to rent would be places where he couldn't go outdoors safely.

A few days ago, I realized that if Max were to have a new home well in advance of my move, it would simplify the move a lot, ease my anxiety about the timeline, make the older cats' lives less anxious, eliminate the need to take him to the kennel every time I want to go out of town, and (I hope) end my need to clean up after the occasional urinary indiscretion (yes, we had another one recently). Let's face it, Max's life here at Cottontail Acres has been marked (pun intended) by messes: disemboweled critters left on the deck and walkways, soaked, odorous bedding, horrible vomitus.

I knew I would miss him, even so, but I decided to look actively for a placement for him right away, so he could be settled in before the rains start. And yesterday morning, in our local version of craigslist, there appeared an ad:

One Hardworking Barn Cat
I recently lost a dear barn cat who lived on a beautiful piece of property overlooking Double Bluff ... There is a barn, multiple outbuildings on 5 acres to patrol – a fantasy job for any barn cat, with plenty of opportunity for advancement in the mouse-eating world.
If you have such a barn cat that is seeking new digs, please contact me.
Bill P.

So I made contact with Bill P and the kind voice on the phone said he thought Max might be a good fit. So I'm going to visit this afternoon and check out the potential new home for my rascally boy. If I feel confident that Bill P is truly kind and that the new digs will work for my Max, I will let him go and explore new territory.

I realize there are risks involved, but there are as many risks if he stays with me. As I went walking yesterday, mulling over the prospect of letting him go, I could see the analogy between letting go of Max and letting go of my dear congregation. Max will miss me (and I him) but he will learn to love another caregiver; his new fields of opportunity will offer plenty of excitement and lots of mice. The congregation will miss me (and I them) but they will learn to love another minister; the possibilities for their outreach and growth will increase with new energy and ideas from a new person. And my life will simplify and ease with each letting-go decision.

Letting go of longtime responsibilities and enjoyments weighs on my mind somewhat. Not to be a minister? Not to be a singer? Not to be a caregiver? Not to be a teacher? a counselor? a provider of information?

And the taking on of possible new roles weighs heavy as well: to be old? to be dependent someday? to be alone? to make new friends? to find new outlets for creativity and enjoyment? to make a new life in a place where I know few people? Risky and exciting, both. Stay tuned!


Mile High Pixie said...

Aw, it's sad to think of having to give away Maxie the Magnificent, but I guess you're right. Max needs a place to romp and nom critters and race and leap and be his usual pesky self. Good on you for being wise enough to know when to let him go. Blessings on you for taking yet another big step in your growth and your new life!

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Pixie. I guess I've long prepared for this day, not because I'm retiring and moving but because I have always known that I was only fostering Max, that I was the one chosen to give him a good start and then let him be himself in a new place. I've known I would give him up someday, though I had expected he'd be part of the food chain, rather than voluntarily going to another "owner". I'm glad it's not the food chain---not yet, anyhow!