Sunday 22 January 2006

21/01/06 Keeping Livestock

This should have been posted yesterday but we went to celebrate with Paul's mum for her 75th Birthday Party at an expensive restaurant in London. We stayed away overnight and of course, the cat couldn't join us so he stayed at home alone with 3 bowls of food.

Naturally, for one night he was fine. All the food was eaten up which makes a change as normally he nags for something fresh as soon as the leftovers are 10 minutes old and he was pleased to see us but it is going to be really BIG problem.

We can't ever leave the house together for more than about 36 hours. For annual holidays we have in the past asked the neighbours to look in daily but now the cat is so old and cranky it seems to be more than any normal human would want to take on casually. We've had Xtal to stay, and paid other kind souls to stay with him at home for a week at a time but people have their own lives and can't just pop over at the drop of a hat and we can't afford to do this regularly anyway. The cat hates travelling, gets quite overstressed and unwell with it so leaving him with family and friends is difficult and contemplating boarding him with strangers in a cattery an unusual cruelty.

So what are we going to do with him, when I'm hoping to spend a lot of time in France and Paul hopes to visit me there often? The pet passport system is still cumbersome, requires injections, regular visits to vets and other intrusive procedures like chipping. Even if all this wasn't too much for his frail old system (I'm not even sure he could take a rabies vaccination with his heart and kidneys) then there is still the actual travelling to overcome. Hours in a car and ferry might be o.k. once if he was emigrating but frequent trips would be insupportable.

As far as we know he's 16 years of age. He has a few more years left at most and they should be happy ones but to give him everything he needs is going to cripple us - or make life very difficult at any rate.

And in the future - vegans try not to exploit animals and so we have no problem with not filling the farm with pigs, goats and ducks. But companion animals are different, it would be hard never to have a cat or dog again, and yet if it means we can't see each other or move easily from country to country it will be impossible ever to offer a home to one again.

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