About Patches

Update, June 10, 2018: After consulting with the rescue folks at Animal Assist, the successor organization to Lake Pet Rescue, I have agreed to let them take Patches for two or three weeks to get her back on track with the litter. After that, I am expecting to take her back. This is an option I was not expecting.

It’s been a real roller coaster ride for me these last few days as I felt compelled first to put her up for boarding at the veterinarian’s office last night and second to surrender her today. It’s unlikely she understands what’s going on either, so this is surely hard for her as well.


After Admiral Janeway, a cat who had been with me since 2003 died on February 9, 2018, I rapidly came to the conclusion that the best way I could thank her for being in my life and being such an awesome cat was to welcome another cat to a forever home.

So on Monday, the 12th, my mother and I went down to the PetSmart in Rohnert Park—all the other adoption agencies were closed—and adopted Patches, a tortoise shell calico.

Patches was in the first cage I opened. She immediately grabbed onto me with all she had, showering me with an affection that never dimmed and bringing a smile to a face that has smiled too rarely. This is a cat who has adorable down pat. I think somebody must have told her when she was a kitten to never forget how to do that.

She manifested ringworm a few days later, we put her up at the veterinarian for a long, long month while we deep cleaned the house and let people who are actually good at giving pills to cats give her her medicine. I went down every day that they were open to visit, sometimes just for a few minutes, sometimes for over an hour.

It was in triumph that we brought her home, but of course on the Saturday of a three-day weekend (Memorial Day), she started peeing on my bed. She had a urinary tract infection which we had her treated for but I guess the prominent—at least to a cat—effect of such an infection is painful urination. She associated that pain with the litter box and would no longer pee in the box.

It’s been a very long couple of weeks of astronomical laundry bills as she peed on my bedding and peed on my clothing but, after following all the advice I could, and after an especially catastrophic morning yesterday (June 9), I have been forced to conclude that I can no longer trust her in the house. I am giving her back to the agency we adopted her from.

To say this is an unhappy moment does not even begin to cover it.

To Patches: Thank you for all the love you offered me. I wish with all my heart I could have done more for you. Never forget that knack you have for being adorable.

Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.

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