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Need Advice for a Student's Cat Situation

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I was teaching a group of young medical students today (they get so much younger every year - not sure how THAT happens!) and one of them was inattentive and when I talked to her later, she revealed she was upset about what had happened between her, her mom and her cat. She is third year medical student and still lives at home to save money. However, during the winter her parents go to NC for the winter and she has the house to herself. So, when she was alone last winter, she decided to get a cat.

Whe her parents arrived back home, they were not impressed and for awhile things went fairly well. Then - for some reason - she had to be away for a week or more to do a clerkship at a hospital out of the city - her parents were left alone with the cat. Upon her return, her mother insisted she bring the cat to the SPCA. The cat is a purebred Birman so requires high maintenace and is also a loving cat that likes attention. Her parents are in their 70's and I suspect looking after the cat was too much for them and she should have fround someone else to cat sit. However, she did not. So, since she knew she could not afford to get her own apt - and liked the current arrangement I suppose (I don't know - not sure I could have lived with my folks at that age but I attended med school away from them so I can't judge). She brought the cat to the local SPCA and the cat was so beautiful (and neutered and up to ate on all his vaccines and so forth) one of the animal control offocers adopted him. Now, she wonders if she can get him back bit this happened about a month ago.

I seriously doubt it though she does have a contract with a breeder that requires her to return the kitty were she not able to keep the cat. She plans to use this to get the cat back from the animal control person - who I happen to know is an excelent cat person. She has 8 (incl this one now), several Siamese and some moggies. And has an enclosed cat area and a home really made for cats. This kid was lucky someone like this woman took her cat! I told her she has to think about what she has done though I can also see she is very distressed about this - I am curious. What would you advice her to do?
post #2 of 8
IMO, she made a bad decision and it doesn't sound as if her living situation is any better. She might consult the ACO; if the cat has adjusted well, then your student should put the cat's welfare first. And what if her parents fall ill, and she need to tend to them - out goes the cat again! On the other hand, if she is feeling lonesome for cats, I understand that too, and maybe she could adopt a couple of shorthair, low maintenance moggies from the shelter - I often see cats offered in pairs, so they could keep each other company while she completes her studies & residency. BTW, you are AWESOME for taking the time & having the compassion to find all this out! What a full heart you have! Susan
post #3 of 8
i dubt her parents would want a low matienance short haired moggie any more than they wanted the pedigree to be honest.

how old is the girl?

it seems to me that she made so really poor choices. first getting the cat without her parents knowledge then not having the commitment to keep the cat.

plus, if she wanted to get rid of the cat she should have consulted the breeder as she had a contract!

i think she should speak to the woman who has now adopted her cat and see if she can work something out. maybe she can voluenteer at the shelter? at any rate, if the cats new owner is a real cat lover she will do whats best for the cat even if that is giving it back to the student.
post #4 of 8
It sounds as if the lady that adopted the cat is absolutly perfect and the cat is better of where it is, but perhaps she would be kind enough to let your student visit a few times so she could see the cat and how happy it is.
post #5 of 8
I don't know. I refuse to pass judgement on her since I got my cats without asking my parents (but why should I ask them, I have a job and I don't live with them) and I'm a student. I think she made a string of bad choices and unfortunately, doesn't have particularly able or compassionate parents. If the cat ended up with a very compassionate person, I don't see why the breeder should even have to know about it. As far as her getting the cat back...I think she should wait until she has her own place and enough of her own income that she can support a kitty and then she should go back and adopt a shelter baby.
post #6 of 8
hmmm... I would have to agree that she should hold off on getting another pet until she is in the right situation to care for one. I don't want a doctor caring for me if they can't even handle the responsibility of pet ownership.
post #7 of 8
If she lives at home even though she is an adult it still is her parents house.
She should have asked them about getting a cat in the 1st place. I don't know if her parents ever had a cat-that could have been part of the problem too.
Plus aren't Birman's expensive?? How did she have the money for that but not enough to rent an apt??
The person who has the cat even though she has many cats still at this stage in the students life would be a better caretaker. Unless of course she sits down with her parents and discusses the situtation with them-which she should have done in the 1st place!!
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the response - all thoughtful and points well made! I too actually think the cat is in an excellent situation and if he has adjusted well - and likes the company of the other cats, he should be fine. I personally think she has much on her plate with med school and part time work. However, that might be said of all of us. I also suspect she is finding this period rather stressful and misses the cat desperately. She actually is immature enough to think she had no choice but the SPCA - it was suggested to her by her mom who is not all that knowledgeable about or interested in cats. And I think she truly lucked out in having the Animal Control Officer take her kitty. This woman - who has a superb reputation for caring for animals and cats in particular and Siamese and Birmans especially - will provide excellent care for the kitty. In fact, this woman's home is built with her cat's welfare in mind and even not many cat fanciers can say that.

I suggested to her she find ways to cope with the stress- that she address the real issues and be thankful the surrender of her cat had such a great outcome! (I know the cat had much going for him but still, one family recently lost their cat to euthanization at the same SPCA when the kitty was picked up wandering the street and they failed to claim it).

I dont know enough about her financial situation (and it's really not my business) to know how she could afford the cat - which to her credit she did buy from a well known and highly regarded Birman breeder in New Brunswick. She does have a job but medical school is expensive, not as expensive as it would be in the US but certainly more costly than Ireland or England. (University tuition is "free" in Ireland providing one has the qualifications and is accepted. It is a change that is often cited as one of the reasons for the turn around of the economy of the Celtic Tiger aka Ireland - (As someone of Irish heritage, I teach in Ireland in the summer on occasion).

I also think she would not have passed "my" qualification for adopting a cat - given that not everyone in the home, a home owned by het parents, were in favour of the move and I explained this to her. She seemed to agree that perhaps she is focusing on losing the cat as a way of not addressing the stress one has to deal with in medical school - it is after a more tangible issue to identify. She has excellent potential to be a good doctor and I told her she needs to put all her energies into that for the moment and be thankful she does not have to worry about some of the other issues people face - rent, meals, and so forth. Then again, she is not alone among this generation in extending a stay at home and there will lots of time to be away from home for her soon enough! We are all unique and I do not want to judge her too harshly!
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