It was February when a couple took over a vacant room in my previous 2 bedroom house. Immediately after moving in, they told me that they can’t live with the cats I was cat-sitting: Odin & Osiris. I had a two week trip to India at the time so the cats were gonna be put in a cattery anyway. I wanted to start my tenancy with the couple on a good note. I decided to let go of the cats. I told the cat parent I won’t be able to take care of them after my trip.

5th February was the last time I saw Odin & Osiris.

I had a dream the other day.

I was walking to work and just around the corner from my current house there was a dog. I came to the conclusion that the poor dog was abandoned there and as I petted him, I read his collar. It said the dog has Covid-19 and therefore abandoned.

I walked away from the dog but could only walk a few steps before feeling guilty. I called the dog to me and he came running, jumping in joy as he knew someone wanted him again. I read his name: Wylie.

I walked Wylie to the vet, never touching him but telling him to heel or sit when needed. He was the best dog ever, always smiling. In my dream he would change from a German Shepard to a Labrador to a Pit-bull. In that five minute walk I loved Wylie.

It was only when I reached the vet I realized that I would have to abandon Wylie. Why did I have to abandon Wylie? I don’t know. I only knew I had to.

I woke up from my dream in tears. I wondered whether I was crying for Wylie, a dog that doesn’t exist, or for Odin & Osiris or for Jimmy.

Last winter, when I had Odin & Osiris, Osiris would love to burrow in my duvet and sleep curled up next to my chest. He would purr like an engine for a good ten minutes before sleeping. He was the source of warmth in a cold season.

Odin loved to sit on my chest as I worked on my laptop. He would sometimes just sit there looking at the laptop screen. He would fall asleep after a few minutes.

After I got back from India in February, I contacted the cat parent and asked her how were the cats. She left me on read. I can understand why she would not reply: we weren’t friends, and I had thrust the responsibility of the cats back at her abruptly.

In the months that followed, the couple broke up and moved out. I moved out just a day before Covid-19 lock-down started in New Zealand. I befriended an old neighbour cat who passed away recently. I never knew the cat’s name.

In hindsight, I can see that I would have to give up Odin & Osiris in every scenario. If I had not found the couple to occupy the other room, I would have had to move out. If I had refused to give up the cats when the couple complained, we would have had disagreements & eventually one of us would move out. If the couple didn’t complain about the cats, they still broke up and moved out a month later.

I hate my ex-couple because they made me choose. They shouldn’t have moved in if they had a problem with the cats. But underneath that hatred, I have guilt. I have shame for being a pushover.

I don’t know how Osiris & Odin are. Are they happy? Are they in a cattery? Do they remember me?

I knew Osiris & Odin weren’t my cats, I would be wishing them farewell one day. I wanted the farewell to be gradual and peaceful. I had to make a choice & I chose to give up on the cats. It was the wrong choice.

I don’t know how to forgive myself for my mistake. I know I should but I blame myself for abandoning them.