Yesenia and I drove down to the middle of New Jersey today to attend a pet-adoption superfair at a mall somewhere down there. Don't ask me for an exact town - it's late and I've been coding for hours and mid-Jersey is essentially a complete gray void full of malls and jughandles, to me.
Anyway, this was all part of our decision to get a new cat (preferably two). We're still surprisingly sad over Kiko, but we also know we'd like to have a furry pain in the ass running around the house, again.
There were dozens of cats there today, any of which I would have loved to have adopted. But the new thing is that adoption agencies are opposed to having the cats in their care be adopted to homes where they will be allowed outdoors. And both Yesenia and I simply feel that the cat should do what the cat wants to do. And we can't in good conscience just lie to these agencies when we adopt, so we've reached a catless impasse.
Thing is this. While I appreciate that cats statistically live longer, healthier lives if they are never let outdoors (easily half of the Kopperman family cats over the years have met early retirement due to safari misadventure), well, people could live longer, healthier lives if they, too, stayed inside 24/7.
Cats are predators, they are explorers, they are a part of the world. If they find a threshold they can't pass, that door becomes the center of their being. Those first warm days of Spring, when the snow was finally off the ground and the concrete was soaked in the sun; when Kiko would run outside, down the steps, and drop and roll over and over, scraping and warming and living. The exquisite joy that she radiated on those days is nothing I've ever seen an indoor cat display.
The choice the adoption agencies are mandating reflects who we are as a society, now: a longer, sadder, shadowed life at all costs is now preferable to a shorter, happier and sunlit one.
I don't have it in me to deny a cat the simple freedom of this choice. Neither does Yesenia. Maybe we're behind the times. But I don't want to have the only day our cat goes outside to be the day we carry them out, lifeless and unseeing, to finally bury them near the rose bush by the side of the house.