The good animal shelter, the no-kill one, called and said they had room today for our cats, Eugene and Malcolm. Okay, we said. We will be down there today.

We crated the cats and got into the car. We were feeling sort of uneasy, not like we weren’t doing the right thing but like we were saying goodbye to a part of our past. Even though they are just cats, this is how we felt.

The shelter was tucked in some trees along an industrial parkway. We walked in and filled out some forms. A lady with a bandana and tattoos on her head said, If they pass some tests we’ll just keep them in the back room. Do you want to say goodbye or should I just take them now?

You can just take them, we said.

They came back out later and said, They passed. Thanks a lot. Check out with Sarah or whoever you were working with before. Cash or card?

Card, we said.

A bunch of people were waiting at the desk, asking about adopting cats. There was a tall old man with a cap and goulashes. There was a family of all girls. There was one guy who looked like he hadn’t taken a shower in over a week. He picked his nose almost the whole time he was in there.

We walked out and shed a few tears. I didn’t think I would but I did. I wish we could take care of them, my wife said. They weren’t bad cats at all.

We drove home in a mostly brooding silence. What are you thinking? I’d say. What are you thinking? she’d say.

We had over and over again the thought that they are just cats after all so it’s not that big of a deal. But this seemed to be a compensatory thought, drummed up in response to something else, although it wasn’t clear what. It seemed like something we had to think to not be sad.

I hope someone good takes them, we said.


© Daniel Douglas


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