Saturday, January 24, 2015

Our Tribe

Our tribe is decreasing, kind of not so unexpectedly.  And in a way that is probably hard for some to understand.  We are selling our flock of 7 hens, with someone picking them all up tomorrow.  We love the fresh eggs, and the connection with where our food comes from.  But right now, having chickens just feels like a huge chore that is hard to fit in with our two littles.  Getting out there daily to bring them scraps, collect eggs, and fill food and water is just hard.  Or let's be honest, getting out there a few times a week isn't even happening.  And we shouldn't even talk about coop clean out and maintenance. They aren't getting care that either of us feel good about.  Our hens are 3 years old and are laying decently well still.  So they are a good deal for someone who wants some layers and has space.  At some point, these hens would stop laying and they would have to go to make room for a new batch of layers.  So, we decided to pass them on now, enjoy a break from the added stress and sometime in the future we will get a new batch of chicks.  
Our flock, back when they first tried out the coop.
A little more controversial, we took our cats John and Paul to the Humane Society today.  We've been talking about it for a long time, but haven't because it was so hard.  I sobbed for an hour, as we collected them, as I drove them there, as I talked to the nice attendants, and all the way home.  This has been needing to happen for a long time, but it was hard.
Paul & John
We got the brothers 9 years ago, when we first moved to Bellingham.  They had the normal cat issues of scratching on things occasionally, but we loved them.  They moved with us from place to place throughout college, transitioning fine.  Somewhere around the time we got our last rental, and our first house out in the county, John started peeing all over his litter box, like spraying.  To the point that we had to line the wall behind the litter box with plastic, even though the litter box had a lid.  It was gross, but somewhat contained.  Also, they both started scratching a lot more.  They scratched our bedroom door and the carpet under it incessantly.  We had to line our doors with carpet scrap to protect the wood.  Anytime a door was shut they scratched at it, to come in or out.  They destroyed the corners of our couches.  Between that and the peeing issues, we decided that when we moved to our current house, they were going to be outdoor cats, but they could have the run of the garage and come inside to visit.  That was 4 years ago and it's been downhill ever since.  John (and Paul some?) peed all over everything.  In the garage and outside in the yard.  Our doors, or boxes, anything we left accessible to him.  We literally couldn't leave anything unprotected in the garage or it got peed on.  They scratched our outside door seals to bits.  They have been pooping in our piles of scrap wood.  We had to throw a way a ton of camping stuff because it got peed on.  It's been gross and awful.  We've been trying to find ways to cope.  We boxed or garbage bagged everything in the garage.  Barred shelves with cardboard.  Scooped their litter box every few days.  It didn't work.  And really?  It's just gross, and has been for a long time.  Our garage is disgusting, embarrassing, and freaks us out every time we have to work in it.  We really just couldn't deal with it, and the destruction of our stuff, anymore.  We didn't need the added a stress in our lives.  I'm of the belief that pets are supposed to bring us pleasure not stress us out.  So, despite my guilt and saddness (Paul loves to snuggle with me), as of today they are gone.  And although I still feel like I could burst into tears, I also feel extremely excited to reclaim my garage and know that it won't smell like cat pee anymore.  Because really?  I don't feel like I'm unreasonable for wanting to leave my stroller in the garage for 30 minutes and not worry about it.  Or to prep and pack for a camping trip in our garage instead of our living room.  Or to leave a door we are painting out there to dry.  It's been way too long of letting our cats, and their issues, dictate how we use our house.  Sorry boys.  
Abbey (who went missing last summer)
So as of tomorrow, we will be down to a one pet (Lucy) family.
All three cats on a walk with us, shortly after we moved to this house.

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