Admiral Janeway (formerly my cat) may be headed for the shelter

I never thought it would come to this. It was a promise I made to Admiral Janeway, my cat, that she would always have a home with me.

But a few months ago, she unaccountably started ignoring me.[1] It’s been up and down since,[2] but with her food allergy, my mother has had to take over the project of trying to find a food that 1) she (Admiral Janeway) will eat and not just vomit back up, and 2) doesn’t aggravate her (Admiral Janeway’s) allergies. As for the two cats my mother had adopted, she had to give them away—and she appears to have found a good home for them—because they ferociously aggravated her (my mother’s) allergies.[3]

And so Admiral Janeway has discovered that there is another source of food and shelter besides me. It’s a bad move on her part, because I can no longer rationalize defending her.

My mother sees Admiral Janeway as having betrayed me—and for me, it is another in a very long list of betrayals in my life—and feels conflicted about even petting Admiral Janeway, who can be a very affectionate and pettable cat when she chooses to be, knowing that my heart is broken. It would be one thing if Admiral Janeway weren’t in the habit of vomiting from time to time. But twice today, Admiral Janeway did just that—on my mother’s bed. I have lived with Admiral Janeway for a very long time; I had come to accept this as a price of having this very dear, sweet cat in my life. My mother, however, will not tolerate it.

This cat is now on the margins of my life. She is there, but avoids me. When I pet her, she doesn’t respond. She is very clearly no longer my cat.

So my mother may very well take her to the shelter tomorrow. Supposedly, it is a no-kill shelter. Supposedly, they will take good care of her. I don’t know. It’s out of my hands, and though I could intervene, I would be interfering in a choice Admiral Janeway—who made the concept of personal autonomy visceral for me—has made, for a cat who plainly no longer loves me, for a cat whom I would have to force to live with me. I cannot rationalize this.

  1. [1]David Benfell, “A bully is getting bullied,” October 26, 2012,
  2. [2]David Benfell, “A saga of cats continues,” October 30, 2012,; David Benfell, “Cat politics,” November 9, 2012,; David Benfell, “The cats for now,” November 25, 2012,; David Benfell, “The ongoing saga of cats,” December 30, 2012,
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Hoping for cleaner air,” January 6, 2013,

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