Doubting my decision...

anxiousmama

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This is a very difficult and emotional thing for me to write, so bear with me if I ramble a bit!

Yesterday, I adopted a sweet and handsome one year old orange manx from an adoption event. He is affectionate, constantly purring, gets along with everyone, and is content to just lay with you or in your lap for an hour straight. His disposition is wonderful, he is good with the litter box (other than clearly needing a covered one since he flings the litter a little when burying), and he's curious without being destructive. He has so many traits I absolutely love and want to nurture in a kitty. His only problem behavior seems to be that his kneading on our carpet turns into scratching sometimes, but hopefully a post with carpet or sisal will remedy that.

So what's the catch? Where's the issue? Why doubt anything? ...I don't know.

A few hours after bringing him home and settling in with him, I just... started crying. I was anxious and depressed, worrying that I made the wrong choice -- and I have fair enough reasons to think that's possible. My childhood kitty of 18 years passed in 2016, and I finally feel ready to welcome a new little companion into my life. I am ready and willing to care for a young cat, even a kitten, and my roommate and my girlfriend both have kitties I've taken care of and/or lived with for years, so I know it's not an "oh god, maybe I don't know what I've gotten myself into" situation. My childhood cat was feral and bonded only with me in all of her years, so a little training not to scratch the carpet is a cakewalk.

I feel awful for feeling this way, for having this doubt, because he obviously likes and is quickly growing to love me, and he took to this home like it was nothing. But I didn't feel the spark, the tug, the look, the knowing that I've felt when picking out (or, more accurately, being picked by) any of the cats I've chosen for myself and my family over my lifetime. I didn't think I'd pick a cat out of a small selection in cages at a pet store adoption event. I didn't even look at other shelters or kitties or pet stores. I also didn't expect picking a boy cat, but that's a very superficial thing considering his demeanor is fantastic and boy kitties can be just as wonderful as girls.

My roommate adores him and fell in love with him right away, and even though my girlfriend fell in love with another one of the kitties there, I can't help but wonder if it was my roommate's vibes that I was choosing based on rather than my own. I would feel awful returning such a sweet boy who has no real issues, many traits I do like or even love, and seems to love me and recognize already that I'm his new mom. Everyone I know has already seen him and knows I adopted him, so it would also be very embarrassing to have to return him and tell people. My roommate is considering adopting him from me if I decide he's not The One, which I'd be perfectly happy with, but I'd still kind of feel bad for confusing this little guy. I keep crying because I hate feeling this way and hate the thought of doing that to this handsome boy.

Is this maybe the "adoption regret" I've read about on here and on Google and I'll get through it and love this little guy to bits for the next 15-20 years? Or did I maybe make the wrong decision being caught up in the moment? I know that only time will tell and that the shelter says I have a week with him to decide if he's the right fit, but I'm so nervous and would love some advice if anyone has any.

Thank you in advance!
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. Keep him and see what happens - after all, it sounds like you have a Plan B in that your roommate is considering adopting him if you decide he's not the one for you. Since he is already around your roommate, I gather not much would really change for him if you 'handed him over' to your roommate. As long as he gets along with both of you, it wouldn't be that dramatic of a change, would it?

I didn't pick any of my cats, they found me through various means. I even took on one of my cats only hours after I had to put my first cat to sleep - so, you can imagine I wasn't necessarily 'ready'. It didn't take too long to begin to feel that I had done the right thing, even if I wasn't 100% sure at first. He sure sounds like a wonderful cat - he may just 'grow on you' after a bit!!
 

vince

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Probably is adoption regret. I hadn't had a cat for some time and thought having one would be a good idea in retirement, as I'm quite a loner. Taking responsibility for a little life has been stressful. Went through anxiety after bringing each one home (I have three), but got over it in a little while and they have been good for me (especially through this COVID thing) and I hope having me has been good for them.
 

game misconduct

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i would assume your childhood kitty would want you to be happy and not alone without a new feline companion to love and build memories with. as cat lovers were not meant to be alone or live our lives without a cat in it to boss us around make us smile, drive us crazy etc. i am sure he will fill that empty spot(not replace) :)
 
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anxiousmama

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Thank you all for your responses -- I'm definitely going to, at bare minimum, keep him for the entire week that is our "grace period" for deciding if he's the right cat for our home. I also do feel a little better (though bittersweet) knowing my roommate is attached to him. It just feels so hard when the little guy is loving on me and I feel so uncertain about him. I feel guilty because it feels like I'm leading him on or something. And that makes it even harder to bond with him. He's so sweet that I feel awful for having these thoughts :(
 
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anxiousmama

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Update, I'm coming to realize one of the big things other than just not "feeling it" (that indescribable knowing/"click" I've always felt with other adoptees) is also the impact on the cat my roommate already owns. She and I have had a very strong connection and bond for a few years now and, though I know her reaction of being standoffish, hissing sometimes when she smells him through the door, that sort of thing is normal and expected (and I knew it would happen), it's tearing me apart. I love her so much and any time I think about how she's reacting, how many times I've tried to reassure her I don't love her any less and she seems like she doesn't quite believe me, and the betrayal I see so plainly in her eyes, I burst into tears. Earlier, she swiped at me because I smelled like him and I immediately broke down.

She doesn't belong to me, but she's my little companion and I feel so absolutely awful. She's my little spoon at night and in the mornings, underneath the blankets and everything, and she just got access to the windowsill nook that I turned into a cushiony reading spot, and now that room (my bedroom) is taken by this new boy cat. She doesn't like males (human or animal) very much so it feels like a double betrayal.

I know this is normal, I expected it, I know all the right things to do, but the emotional side of it is so horrible. If I had fallen in love with the cat I adopted yesterday and adopted him because I loved him and couldn't stand to leave him behind, it'd be a different story. But adopting him because "maybe" I wanted to take him home and "maybe" he'd "grow into" the cat I want to have just doesn't feel good enough to outweigh the way this is breaking my own heart. I hope it changes, or that she mellows out as she sees that I still love her so much. But I don't know.
 

FeebysOwner

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It's fine to come to this site and vent your feelings, but how about doing the same with your roommate too? I mean, earlier you said you would be fine with your roommate adopting this cat if you decide you don't want to - wouldn't that pretty much mean the same worries about the roommate's current cat? How does your roommate feel about that?

The one thing I think most members on this site will tell you is that it really comes down to you having to make up your own mind as what is best for all involved.
 
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anxiousmama

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It's fine to come to this site and vent your feelings, but how about doing the same with your roommate too? I mean, earlier you said you would be fine with your roommate adopting this cat if you decide you don't want to - wouldn't that pretty much mean the same worries about the roommate's current cat? How does your roommate feel about that?

The one thing I think most members on this site will tell you is that it really comes down to you having to make up your own mind as what is best for all involved.
I've talked to my roommate about my feelings and concerns extensively, as well as my girlfriend. All my roommate has really said is that he wants to see if it's the cat for him, and my girlfriend hasn't really known what to say. I'm just really struggling to figure out what feelings to trust and whether or not I'm having these feelings because of any underlying feelings... and in the meantime feeling awful about leading this little guy on and hurting my roommate's cat.
 

Carolina SA

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I've rarely had an instant bond with the various cats and dogs I've rescued over the years. It takes time and there is always some adjustment.
Giving an animal a safe home for life is a great thing. It can also be challenging - I've recently integrated a street cat, who hates dogs, with my crazy rescue dog who took months to be trusted with my other two cats. It took a long time for me to bond with my crazy rescue dog and my female cat - but it happened and it is totally worth it! Keep calm and take a deep breath whenever you need to!
 

fionasmom

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I am sort of the same as Carolina SA Carolina SA given that I only rescue. My current GSD of 15 years was in a high kill shelter in MO as a tiny puppy when someone in the GSD network I belong to called and asked if I would take him if we could get him to Los Angeles. All 6 of my cats were rescues from immediate perilous situations....and I am not even including all the previous rescues I have owned. So there was never any bond initially except for the fact of trying to save their lives. In some cases I even had a "not again!" attitude like the time I found a litter of kittens with a dead mother.

You have to do what you feel is best for you. Given the times that I have had no choice except to bring a rescue to my house, I can assure you that both dogs and cats do not always look upon this as a good thing initially and that part takes work.

If you return the cat to the rescue, which is not the most awful thing that could happen, make sure that they understand that he was a perfect little guy and that you are doing this for personal reasons and that you highly recommend that he is an ideal pet for someone else.
 
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