To go or not to go .... that is the question.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by katya02, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I have a dilemma. I started a cattery business this year, breeding Siamese and Balinese cats. My first big 'kitten season' is underway; I have one litter born last Sunday, another due Jan. 5, another due Jan. 28, a fourth due Feb. 12.

    Kittens are harder to raise than one might think. For the first two weeks they can easily die of sepsis and they have to be watched like a hawk. After that they can still die of sepsis or 'fading kitten syndrome' and have to be weighed daily and monitored. New mothers are anxious and, if disturbed or stressed, can and will turn on their kittens, either rejecting them or in the worst case scenario killing them.

    My husband has a week off in January; they have extra staff next month, which doesn't always happen. He wants me to come with him to Miami for five days. At that time I will have four week old kittens and two-week old kittens, both from first-time mothers. Another queen will be due in a week. I don't have definite help with the cattery. My daughter, who is in her senior year, didn't care for the cats properly last fall when I went away for two days (and there were no kittens). She got distracted with her music and friends and 'forgot' to change the water and clean the boxes. I returned to find half the cats with stinking, slimed empty water bowls and reeking boxes. She was grounded etc. etc. and apologized profusely, but I don't feel comfortable asking her to care for a larger number of cats now, plus two litters of kittens. I have a young woman who just started helping with house cleaning and I could ask her/train her to do this, but I'm not sure if she will or if she'll do everything properly. (For example, kitten/queen bedding has to be changed and washed daily, to keep the bacterial load down in the nest box.) Plus, I'm not sure that the first-time queens would be able to relax around her and let her change bedding and weigh the kittens daily - they could decide the kittens aren't safe and kill them.

    I've explained to husband that I'd love to go to Miami but I don't have help available that gives me confidence, and I don't want to come back to a bunch of dead kittens. They might do fine, but they might not. This isn't a big business that supports our family, but still ... I haven't had a career or a business for a long time because of the kids' health problems, and I want to do this right. And these animals are dependent on the care we give them. I'm the one who set up the cattery and their living conditions and I have a duty to ensure they are cared for properly.

    There will be times when I'm 'between' litters of kittens and can go away more easily, when there are just pregnant queens in the cattery. I told husband this but he says he can't count on getting time off at those times, he 'misses his wife' and wants me to come, and so on. I'm getting 'you're putting your cats above me' vibes, and 'you're not devoting time to your marriage' vibes, although these things are not said outright.

    I'd love to go and I'd like to have a short vacation with my husband; I also need to care for the cats that depend on me and that are my small business. I resent the idea that my business is just a pastime that amuses me and I should be available constantly to fall in with plans that come up rather suddenly (husband tends to be spontaneous and likes to decide to go places on the spur of the moment. It hasn't been possible for quite some time due to short staffing in his company, which is why I figured having cats wouldn't be a problem).

    Writing this out makes things clearer for me, but I still feel guilty. Any thoughts?
  2. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Please don't go, Katya. I bred my golden retriever twice and the second time she delivered I had been to the movies and was unaware that she was about to go into labor. I came home to three dead puppies, one of which was gorgeous. I still feel guilty.
    Did you and husband get a chance to discuss your responsibilities toward these little lives before you committed yourself to starting this enterprise? Why are you supposed to understand his career commitments and he won't accept yours?
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Unless you have help that you feel confident in, it seems as if your responsibility lies with the pets as it's a matter of health, life and death.

    I think I'd try really hard to find a responsible pet sitter.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    It is clear from your post that you don't want to go on any trips while you have so many lives depending on your daily care....

    Hopefully husband will come around and be more understanding.

  5. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    We did talk about the fact that the cattery would mean I'd have to be here, but husband didn't see it as a problem. I guess because he was unable to go anywhere due to short-staffing, he figured it would be fine. We also put more of our nest egg into our house and property with the explicit idea that our country home would be our 'vacation', husband's refuge to come home to each night and my long-term project; when we bought this property we decided we wouldn't have a lot of travel as a goal for our later years. Now, as soon as there's some respite in the work schedule, husband wants to go for last-minute trips here and there. I didn't go with him last fall for a six-day trip because my first litter of kittens was only ten days old and had been sick - in fact I lost two out of the litter. I didn't want to leave that responsibility to my daughter. He went on his own and wasn't very happy about it - but again, he made the plans three weeks prior, just before my queen had her kittens, and then the queen needed a LOT of support.

    As for your second question .... I think he doesn't see me in terms of having a career, sadly. Even though I'm also an MD he's gotten used to me being home, always available, always accommodating, over the years. It's been that way because I decided I had to stop practicing due to the kids' conditions (more than just difficult child had health issues, and even our TSS people couldn't begin to handle difficult child. There was no one I could get to stay with him). At the beginning of our marriage husband totally respected my professional status and everything was on an equal footing between us, but over 20 years of me being the one always available, other habits crept in. Now it's painful to change things. I guess if I'd chosen a more lucrative business he might understand more easily ... I don't know.
  6. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    That really blows, Katya! I am enjoying putting my husband in his place now that he is retired. Actually, I'm putting him in MY place. He's learning to be domesticated. He had no idea so much work came along with being an at home parent. Maybe your husband should spend some time with the litters, it might open his eyes.
    I remember that you said you were Eastern Orthodox. Is it possible that there is some type of cultural prejudice on his part about the importance of pets versus "working animals"? My Polish grandmother felt that pets were useless.
  7. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I think that's an aspect here. husband grew up without pets, only a few chickens his brother brought home from school that eventually went into the pot. I insisted we have pets for the kids growing up, as I feel it's important. husband has become very attached to one of the male kittens we're raising to be a future stud; he likes animals; but as you say, there's a cultural idea that animals are for work or food and should never be too high in one's priorities.

    The pet sitter idea is good, except that cats are extremely susceptible to viruses and other 'bugs' and having someone come to my place from caring for other animals would almost certainly introduce viruses into my cattery. The ideal person would be someone without any cats (or minimal indoor pets), who is willing to learn the routine and be meticulous. A virus that would cause only a minor inconvenience to a pet owner could be a catastrophe for a cattery.

    I've been trying to find someone who I can teach the routine and offer part-time work to, who could step in if we were all called away in an emergency. I just haven't found them yet.
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I wonder if you could use your pet-sitter as well as someone who actually works in a vet's office to check in and/or help daily.

    Then of course, have a vet "on call" too.

    I sent you a pm