After leaving the PetCo, I took her to see the vet who takes care of my dog. The vet, a man I normally admire, said, “She’s perfectly fine. No one will even know she’s missing a leg until they notice how weirdly she walks.” It’s true, she does walk weirdly but he was wrong about everything else.
When we got home and she realized she was meant to share her new life with a dog, she was furious. I say “furious” because there was nothing subtle about her response and it involved claws. Afterwards, she ran upstairs. Nothing I offered in the way of treats or threats could induce her to come back down so now I had an upstairs/downstairs situation. Instead of it being populated with charming British servants, though, it included a really cranky, disabled cat.
I called the adoption place to see if I could return her. Turns out the adoption papers, which I’d signed without reading, anticipate this question and the answer was no. They were pretty snooty when they explained that to me on the phone. Like anyone reads cat adoption papers.
The pet owners in my neighborhood communicate by way of a vibrant online discussion board, so I left a post asking if anyone wanted a three-legged cat. When the responses started to come in, I was sorry I hadn’t provided more information. “How could you do that to a defenseless animal and then try to fob her off?” read a typical post. I looked at my arm, covered with scratch marks, and wondered who would ever think a cat, even one who only had 75 percent of its claws, could be defenseless. I received a surprising amount of hate emails but even more surprising were the number of people who said yes, they would happily take in a three-legged cat.
My problem quickly went from how I was supposed to live with this angry, impulsively acquired animal to how was I supposed to choose her new owner. I’ll never know if he meant his response to be funny or if he was like the cat, devoid of subtlety, but I ultimately gave her to the person who wrote saying he’d “be happy to take the cat off my hands, seeing as she’d also had the hands taken off of her.”
Jodie Corngold oversees communications for Kolot Chayeinu, a synagogue in Brooklyn, and previously served as Director of Communications for the Berkeley Carroll School, a college preparatory school in Brooklyn.