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Sam, at age five.
Sam is a 13 year-old female cat. In 2000, a neighborhood friend alerted me to the presence of three stray kittens who were living under his porch. I took one of them into my home, and named what I thought was a he-cat "Sam."

Some five years later, I came across Woody, a nearly one year-old cat who another neighbor of mine had spotted while on a walk one day. His tuxedo-colored frame showed signs of malnourishment. My neighbor, who had two cats at the time and couldn't bring another into her home, pleaded with me to adopt him, and offered to cover initial expenses (physical exam, vaccinations, and a month's supply of litter). So I took Woody in, and after a contentious first two weeks together, he and Sam bonded.

Fast forward to the present day, where I am in the unenviable position of needing to find a home for both Sam and Woody, and I am asking for help from any Chicago-area (or Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin) Kossack who is able and willing to provide a home for both Sam and Woody.
UPDATE: 6:38 AM PDT A new home would be located ideally in Chicago, for a few different reasons:

* Because of their close proximity, it would be much easier to follow up on the health of Sam and Woody with a local owner, than it would otherwise.

* With a local adoption, the "open adoption" strategy (h/t JohnKWilson in comments) would be more feasible, where I would help a new owner with certain expenses (i.e. cat food, cat litter, vet) that would otherwise keep them from having pets.

So a local adoption is ideal, for a few reasons. However, I have been encouraged by other Kossacks to expand my options geographically, in that anyone seeking ownership of Sam and Woody who lives out of state can be vouched for by other Kossacks, notably those in the PWB Peeps community, thus assuring a sense of safety. Thanks again to Ninepatch for extending the support of the PWB Peeps community.

The basic story behind my surrender of ownership is captioned in this recent video, which features both cats in their current habitat:

The longer story is below the fold.

My partner is Kossack Lonely Texan. She and I met online, in the Daily Kos GUS (Giving Up Smoking) community, almost two years ago. At that time, she was living in Mexico City, working as a teacher of English as a Second Language. It took only a few months after our meeting one another for us to fall in love. We spent the next year getting to know one another as best we could, and doing this while living 2,000 miles apart, through email and Skype.

I could speak for both of us, in that realizing our love for one another under such circumstances was no easy feat. Lonely Texan and I shared much laughter, discussion of politics, watched films and videos together, and did this all online, through the wonders of internet technology. Many times, she and I had mentioned to one another that because we both shared heightened degrees of intellectual nuance, it was only natural that we wound up meeting not at a bar, a coffee shop, or any other pick-'em-up joint, but over the internet, on a website, and a political one, at that.

Wondrous as this time was, it was also difficult for us to be apart from one another. Both of us faced levels of turmoil in our own lives, where the natural thing for a couple to do would be to demonstrate physical, real-space support. We didn't have this luxury. Though I was able to acquire a passport (one of many "firsts" in my life I had experienced while knowing Lonely Texan), I couldn't afford a round-trip fare from Chicago to Mexico City, nor could she do likewise.

Lonely Texan and I finally met in person in July this past year, after volcanic activity from Mount Popocatépetl convinced her, as well as an old friend who helped with travel expenses, to return to the U.S. a couple of months prior to the expiration date on her visa. My joy at finally being with Lonely Texan in the physical realm, our finally seeing one another on the concourse at Chicago's Midway Airport, was nothing less than a singular vindication of everything I had felt about her, about each other... as humans who had heretofore were only able to be with one another through pixelated images and text.

During the next month, Lonely Texan visited the apartment where I resided, with an old and good friend of mine who had opened his home to me and my cats. Over the course of these visits, Lonely Texan had experienced allergic symptoms: swollen eyelids, and inability to breathe, which led to loss of sleep. The only way to counter these was for her to take allergy medication. This, combined with meticulous room cleaning, alleviated these symptoms at times.

But the allergies progressed and worsened, to the point where Lonely Texan was unable to visit the apartment without taking triple doses of allergy medication. All such visits found her mostly confined to my bedroom, an isolated allergen-free quarantine zone of sorts, where Sam and Woody were no longer allowed.

Sadly, it became crystal clear that I had to make a hard choice. On one side was Sam and Woody, two affectionate and personable cats, both of whom I had brought into my home as kittens. Both cats had, and still have, endearing qualities. Early in her life, Sam developed an affinity for ice cubes, of all things:

... whereas Woody is fond of greeting people, upon entering the household, by taking his paws and rubbing the shoe of the visitor. You can see him doing this in the beginning of the video at the diary intro.

Woody - loves shoes.
On the other side is Lonely Texan, the person who I have waited 48 years of my existence to be with. Even as she and I had supported and nurtured one another, and helped each other to grow as human beings, the presence of my beloved feline companions had deleterious effects upon Lonely Texan, the worst being a lung infection that lasted two weeks, along with the onset of chronic asthma.

Lonely Texan and I had spent most of this past autumn looking for, and finding an apartment of our own. To keep Sam and Woody housed after moving out, I had offered my good friend and former roommate a share of rent. He declined this, and instead had generously offered to co-foster parent the cats until I could find a home for them. This has recently changed, to where he is now in a life situation that will likely see him moving out-of-state.


This is where I now address you, or those of you reading who are in a position to offer Sam and Woody a safe and loving home. I have networked with friends, posted ads on craigslist seeking adoptees (including an adoption fee, which is crucial in deterring perpetrators), submitted forms to no-kill shelters in the Chicago area, yet I have been unable to find a place for my cats.

Please contact me via private message or email if you, or someone you know, is able to adopt or provide foster care for Sam and Woody. Lonely Texan and I will be on hand tonight to respond to queries, and to answer any questions that you may have.

More pictures of Sam and Woody, via Flickr.

6:37 PM PT: I just got home a half-hour ago, back from feeding the cats, who are still at my prior residence, and was alerted by Lonely Texan that this diary had landed on the Rec List. Thank you. I am humbled, and also hopeful that more eyes on this diary may better the chances of these two cats finding a happy and safe new home.

Again, thank you, on behalf of myself, Lonely Texan, Sam, and Woody.

Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 9:42 AM PT: With intent to continue updates in this diary on the progress made in finding a permanent or foster home for Sam and Woody, Lonely Texan and I extend our thanks to all of you. Thank you for your support in recommending this diary, so as to extend the visibility in this fantastic network on Daily Kos.

Along with feeling a sense of gratitude and renewed hope, I also carry a sense of regret that I had not done this sooner, given all the great suggestions and support for networking that I have been given in this diary. I invite your continued correspondence via comments, PM, and email.

Originally posted to The Garage on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 04:25 PM PST.

Also republished by PWB Peeps.

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