QUESTION: My dearest friend died at age 79 recently. I am the executor of her estate and have been given the responsibility of the two cats she left behind, Boris and Doris. In her will, she authorized me to bring the cats to the Humane Society, which I did. Unfortunately, I was told the cats would be euthanized immediately due to lack of space. While I dislike cats very much, I couldn’t find it in my heart to leave them there, so I brought them home with me. Now what? —Frank
DEAR FRANK: First of all, I am very sorry for your loss. Dear friends can brighten our lives in wonderful ways. On the other hand, friendships can often demand very odd favors, such as in your situation. Since it is obvious you do not want to take on two cats, which is perfectly legitimate, your next step is to find an appropriate home for them. Social networking has made this task easier than ever. One avenue is to post their photo on your Facebook page, if you have one. This gives your family and friends a chance to help out. Another is to connect with a feline rescue organization—here is a national one http://www.thecatrescue.org; or search online for “feline rescue organization” with the name of your city.
It is obvious your friend cared greatly for her two animal companions, so you will want to honor her by finding a loving and caring home for them. Hopefully, you will locate a person of compassion who understands the two cats have spent their lives together and separating them could cause erratic feline behavior such as spraying and aggression. Be sure to adequately interview potential adopters. If you don’t know what questions to ask, contact your nearest Humane Society and speak to someone who is knowledgeable in this area. Animal lovers everywhere applaud you for bringing Boris and Doris home from the Humane Society.
Patricia Smith is a certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist with 20 years of training experience. As founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project© (www.compassionfatigue.org), the outreach division of Healthy Caregiving, LLC, she writes, speaks and facilities workshops nationwide in service of those who care for others. She has authored several books including To Weep for a Stranger: Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving, which is available at www.healthycaregiving.com or Amazon.com.