I returned my first “baby” and questioned all mothering abilities


Meet Sebastian. He was (is?) the cutest cat I ever met. Sweet. Didn’t put his claws in you. Snuggled on you and let you hold him.

sebastian the returned cat

We moved to Atlanta in May 2003. We knew nobody. Mr. Serious had no job and I was was doing research at the graduate school I would be attending in the fall. It was a little lonely and I wanted a cat. After about 5 months of me begging, Mr. Serious finally said okay, so I went to the adoption place, found Sebastian, got all of his goodies and brought him home.

I loved him immediately!

Then, I noticed him take a squat on the floor in our living room and pee on the floor. What the heck?

Okay, he’s a kitten, he doesn’t know where his litter box is. He just needs a little practice.

Then he did it again. And again. And again. 

You get the idea.

By the second day, he was locked in our bathroom with his litter box, and as soon as we got home and I took my eye off him, back to the floor. 

I got the magic stuff to remove smells (he was going in the same place, so a previous owner must have had a pet that went and he was marking his territory). I put down foil. He went on the foil. I tried everything

I felt terrible that he was locked in the bathroom all day. It wasn’t his fault. It was his instinct.

After a week, I called the number of the adoption place. I wanted to see if she had any suggestions. I didn’t know what else to do. She said that even after getting him fixed (he wasn’t quite old enough), it probably wouldn’t change. She suggested bringing him to her and swapping him out for a female cat she had that was a little older and very litter box trained (but still not fixed).

I cried at the thought. How could I return/exchange my kitty? I picked him. He picked me. He was ours and I was going to take him back?

But, he peed on the floor again and it was getting disgusting.

I met her, and I met “Violet”. She was just as sweet and kind and didn’t claw me. So I exchanged my Sebastian for this new girl (who I renamed Sasafras because she so wasn’t a Violet).

Violet aka Sasafras

I brought her home and cried some more. I was convinced I would never be a good mother. What would I do if I had a kid that did something wrong? I wouldn’t be able to return a baby. I called the next day, and the lady told me that a nice new family had taken Sebastian home and now “Howard” would be loved and well taken care of.

Of course, she made me question all of my mothering abilities, too (maybe I read too much into being a cat mom). When I was pregnant with #1, she ran out our open door (a neighboring cat ran by), and I had to chase her and thought she was gone. By the time I ran around very pregnant and chased her and returned home defeated, she was waiting in the house for us looking at me like I was crazy.

Yeah, it’s a good thing I started with a cat first!

(For the record, I’ve never considered taking the girls back….just in case you were thinking that’s what I meant!)


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  1. Barbara Montag says:

    You did the right thing. I had a cat that would pee outside of the litter box at times.
    I think his previous owners were negligent with the box.
    Anyway he went out to a farm.

  2. My female cat goes outsude her box all the time. It drives us crazy and has limited anywhere we live since we can’t have carpet. You did the right thing. It is too late for us. Anyway, there is a reason being a parent is harder than owning a cat.

    1. Oh, that does totally stink. I’m glad my little guy was able to find a good home and glad you are tolerating your cat..but it totally stinks.

  3. Oh hun, you did the right thing! We have a cat in our house and the only time he missed his box is when he had a really bad bladder infection. Just bad bad luck my friend!

    1. We had that issue, too, but with the new cat…she did have a UTI. Poor thing! Thankfully, we haven’t had an issue again.

  4. I would not be able to put up with an animal that repeatedly pees in my house. I just couldn’t. I must be too OCD or something but that is a deal breaker. Oh, I would try to fix the problem for a good, long time but then I would be done.
    I thought having a dog first was good practice for a kid, but man, it still really isn’t even close, is it? 😉

    1. I tried everything, but yeah, I couldn’t do it, either. Thankfully, he found a nice new house with no floor peeing!

  5. We have had 4 cats. 3 at the same time (huge mistake). Had to get rid of the three because of cost. The fourth one kept chewing through wires. We have had two dogs (separate times) too one kept biting and the other had a bad flea problem due to the person who sold us had at least 7 dogs but only took care of three. The cost of the flea treatment and my kids not giving him enough attention which made him act out so we had to let them go. We have decided that right now we aren’t pet people.

    1. Yeah, you definitely end up finding out the hard way most of the time!

  6. We had a cat that became aggressive, and I have to find someone to adopt her. I couldn’t risk having her around the kids (I was pregnant at the time). Sorry you had to deal with that.

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