Letting Go (My In-Laws Save the Day AGAIN)

This summer William and his delightful Auntie and his charming Uncle sweet talked us into welcoming a kitten into our lives. A gorgeous – sweet – orange – boy kitten named Craig for the McFarland boys.

And Craig is sweet. He has the nicest personality. He loves to cuddle and he talks A LOT. He is a very vocal cat. We fell in love with Craig. Craig is a charmer. Craig is easy to love because he is so thoroughly lovable.

But Craig – quite frankly – is also a bizarrely strange cat.   Craig is friendly and I mean incredibly friendly. He doesn’t have an aloof bone in his little orange tabby body! He loves – loves – loves people. Craig also loves dogs. Craig enjoys the company of other cats too.

Honestly – we decided Craig may think he is a dog himself.   More precisely – Craig seems to believe he is a golden retriever. On more than one occasion Jason and I would comment that Craig is the cat version of a golden retriever. This makes sense, because Craig spent the formative weeks of his kittenhood with our in-laws 3 golden retrievers. For weeks Craig was one of the rumble – tumble 4-legged crew.

We welcomed Craig into our lives and our hearts and quickly fell in love with the little orange-eyed charmer.

Craig is charming and sweet – but Craig also has a mind of his own.   He hates to be confined to the house with a deep and abiding passion. I can absolutely – positively understand this attitude. I too hate to be stuck inside. A lazy day of reading on the couch with my knitting is a delightful indulgence – but a lifetime stuck inside sounds like torture. I need to be outside. I crave nature and trees and grass and blue skies. I need to be able to get outside frequently to be truly happy. And Craig agrees with me.   Craig is NOT an inside cat. Just like Jason and I are not inside people!

Craig loves to be in the house for naps and cuddles and petting.   He enjoys his family and his house but Craig does not have the soul of a fat – lazy house cat. Craig will not/cannot be confined to the house. He turns into a tiny terrorist once he decides it is time to be outside. Craig tormented us and yowled and howled and attacked and turned into the devil himself once he was done with napping on the couch. If Craig the Cat was miserable then so was EVERYONE else!

It felt cruel to keep Craig confined (both to Craig and us).   And yes – I have done significant reading about how keeping cats confined to the house lengthens their lives.   But – if the cat is miserable and tormented – is that really a life and living? I think not. It is a quantity verses quality issue. I come down on quality and so does Jason (thankfully).

So Craig became an indoor cat with outdoor privileges and he was a much – much happier cat. And then we discovered another quirk in Craig’s personality.

Craig likes to go for walks and would regularly go for walks with Jason and me around the neighborhood. Craig’s delight in the daily constitutional is likely linked to yet another quirk our boy has – Craig talks to strangers. Craig talks to EVERYONE! Craig the cat who does not seem to know that he is a cat (or that cats are supposed to be aloof and ignore people) marches right up to people and talks to them!?!?!

This did not work at all. Our neighbors freaked out BIG time! I kid you not. The stories of the great freak out of the summer and fall of 2021 will go down in McFarland family history/legend. It was not good . . .

Craig was a definite mismatch. Craig is not a city cat. Craig belongs in a neighborhood that is friendlier and more animal welcoming.   Craig doesn’t understand city people who are afraid of one another and nature and are unwelcoming. Craig doesn’t get modern city people and their quirky – nature fearing ways (actually – apparently I don’t really either).

It broke our hearts. Many tears were shed. But the telephone call had to be made. Jason called Auntie. (Jason calls her Elizabeth because she isn’t his auntie.)

Craig was in desperate need of sanctuary. Craig needed a safe – welcoming environment to land and live and explore. A place where Craig would be accepted and loved for who he is!

Auntie – Uncle – Nic – Bella – Mimi – Papa – and the 3 golden retrievers – live in the perfect neighborhood for Craig. Their cul-de-sac backs up to a woods for Craig to explore.   Their neighborhood is more “old school.” It is friendlier and far more welcoming. They still have actual neighborhood gatherings on the 4th of July.   (How retro is that?) A friendly cat will be welcomed here. Craig will be a welcome quirk of this neighborhood – not something that is troubling and upsetting.

And Craig will have 2 families and 2 houses to roam to and from because Auntie and Uncle and Mimi and Papa are next door neighbors.

(William so totally thinks we need to buy the Broadwell’s house if they ever decide to sell because he would love nothing more than to live on the other side of his Mimi and Papa. I have to agree living that so close to the people I love the most in this world would be pretty awesome – but the commute would be a bear!)

Craig is quite happy with this arrangement. Craig is free to explore the great and glorious outdoors.   And when he is done – he naps with his buddies – Catherine – Hudson – and Eleanor Charlotte (Ellie for short).   And honestly – it would be the rare being who wouldn’t want to be loved and cared for by my in-laws. They are simply delightful – loving – kind – gracious people (and I am not just saying that because Christmas is coming or the fact that they let me marry Jason with nary a protest or a complaint!)

We miss Craig. We talk about him a lot and wonder what he is up – but we know this is better.   Craig is so much happier. He is where he needs to be. We get updates and pictures from Mimi and Auntie and Uncle whenever we need them.

And it is good practice for me – this sending a being I love out into the world to be loved be others. Because Jack is going to college in August . . .

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