|Debbie - I'm so sorry I never wrote back. I don't know if you've been contacted by Maine Coon Rescue or what they told you. I was sent into a bit of a shock when I got your e-mail. What I want to do is what's best for Boog. It's hard to let her go because I love her so much. She was my first cat, even though she's never really lived inside.
So here's her story. Right now, she's an outdoor kitty. I would like her to be an indoor cat - much safer for her. But she'll be unhappy at first, I'm sure of it - whether she flies cross country or not. She is Queen of the cats around here, definitely the alpha, and has a HUGE territory in which to run patrol. There are 240 acres here, and I'm pretty sure she sleeps in the barn about a half a mile from here. When she's within hearing distance, she RUNS when called. So I'm nervous about moving her inside. She is not in a desperate situation. We care for her, provide her shelter (which she doesn't use, but the other cats do),
and feed her as often as she wants to eat. It is very rare that she doesn't come by for a day, but it happens. Of course I get nervous...
Last Winter we had a bed for her inside, and she was welcome to come in. She would often sleep 10 - 14 hours, then she'd want to leave. She was far too independent for us to deal with turning her into an indoor cat - neither of us ever having had a cat before, and my husband having been a cat hater. And we live in a very small space, and I'm allergic to cats. (We live in an R.V. I included the link to the R.V. story for her).
BTW - our Vet says Boog is a Maine Coon pure bred. Now that I've learned so much about cats, she seems kind of small
to me to be pure bred - but she was definitely a stray, not a feral. When we took her to get spayed, the Vet said she had already HAD a "very expensive" spay job. Actually, the way he put it was "Someone didn't want this cat to get fat and lazy." When we asked what that meant, he explained that her whole reproductive system was removed as opposed to just her ovaries.????? Something like that. I think she was a pet that got out the door of someone staying here for a weekend or a
week (this is an R.V. Resort after all!), and they had to leave - and somehow she made it on her own that first Winter. We brought her in to the Vet last January, and they thought she was about 1 1/2 years old. But you're not allowed to have pets here - so how could they leave an "If found, please contact..." ?
Anyway, as soon as Spring came around, she was out the door. Actually she disappeared for a week (I freaked, of course), and came around irregularly. So she's a cat and she's got her things to do. She didn't want to be inside full time. Late summer, fall she started coming around every day again, and of course now she wants back in... but we just can't. We've rescued three other kittens who live inside with us full time. Our Booger/Rocki rescue story is here: Booger's Story . (In the story I had to say we got her spayed because I was limited to 500 words... the TCS people know the truth, as I"ve written about it in the actual forums (as opposed to in the essay contest - it's just more succinct and there wasn't room to expand!).
This summer a batch of kittens turned up in our yard. I joined TCS ( www.thecatsite.com/forums ), and was "talked into" feeding them, etc. We now essentially run a trap-neuter-release program here. I think we've had 17 adult cats spayed/neutered, and we've had all eight kittens spayed/neutered. The people who own this property think there are "100s" of wild cats living in the woods. At least we've made a small dent in the ongoing reproduction problem.
Anyway, Gary's had a lot of health problems the last year. But those are mostly behind us... so come Spring, we'll probably be hitting the road again. Which means I've got to find homes for all the kittens (which we've been working on anyway). We adopted three ourselves, and I take Zyrtec-D twice a day and have a steroid cream on had for when I break out in hives.
But having adopted these three means we can't adopt Booger. She's big, she's got long hair - and we just can't fit four. !!!!!
There was someone from Maine Coon rescue who joined The Cat Site, which is how I thought to contact MCR. Kathy was
assigned as the co-ordinator to help me place Booger. Kathy was great - and really worked hard. Since Booger isn't in a desparate rescue situation - she's warm and well cared for despite living primarily outside, I can afford to be choosey about where she goes. And I specifically said I wanted to find a home where she was either a lone cat or one of two cats, although we never even discussed the dog situation. It didn't really occur to me. Kathy came up with places in upstate NY, Alabama and TN - but she always gave me very little info about the situation. Then along comes Debbie. Who sounds wonderful! And we had communication problems on the shipping issue, so I asked Kathy just to put us directly in touch. And I get this wonderful e-mail from you! But you have so many other cats and a dog! The people who own this park have dogs (which is probably why they ban any visitors from having any pets) - but they let them run wild. And they terrorize the cats. So I wasn't worried about the dog being good with cats - I was worried about Boog not ever being comfortable with a dog around. And I'm still concerned about that.
So Debbie - I don't know what to do. You sound so wonderful and warm and loving - which is what I want for Booger. I really love her to pieces. But I'm really worried about her - both from a standpoint of fitting in with so many other cats - and about the dog. Here she is the Queen. She did NOT like the other kittens hanging around outside. It took her months to adjust to having them around. But now that she's the boss she's cool - but she is NOT friendly with them, does not hang out with them, and merely tolerates them.
So you see, when I received your e-mail, I was in quite a bit of a quandry. It wasn't the situation I'd expected, and I felt really weird about sending her 3,000 miles away to a home with so many other cats and a dog ---- and if she's not happy, then what? It's not like it's a three - four hour drive, and I can roll up there to pick her up and bring her back. And it's not
like she doesn't have a happy life here. And I'm not sure that even if we have to leave this Spring that she wouldn't be happier having a short life in her own territory than having a long life in a home where she's not the Queen.
But since you seem like a very thoughtful person, I just decided to follow the advice I give so many others on The Cat Site. Follow your heart. So here's my heart, I've poured it out to you... and I wonder what you think? I'm not opposed to sending Boog out to you.... I'm just worried as to whether or not she'd be happy. But I don't know you, your other cats or your dog.
So I hope my description of Booger and her life here help you. My goal is for you to help me make this decision. What's best for Booger? I'd love to see her in a permanent home. She LOVES being loved, and she is a lap kitty. Because we never clipped her claws (as she lives outside), I always kept a thick blanket around for when she came in. She'd always eat, then clean, then leap up onto my lap, where she could spend hours. She kneads (BIG -OUCH do those claws hurt - thus the big blanket) - and she drools, too. A lot. Another reason for the blanket. When I call her, she comes running, and leaps into my arms. I'm really at a loss for what to do, and I was hoping you'd both understand and help.
Thanks for all,