Perhaps you were wondering if, after nearly a year of dithering, preparing, and looking online, I actually went and looked for a cat in person last weekend. I did, while I was getting a litter box at PetSmart, and I saw a little cat that spoke to me. (He was actually behind glass in the more permanent pet display in the store, but I saw his mouth open.)

His name was Gus and he was a young Siamese with a white nose; I called his foster Sunday afternoon and left a message. I had thought I wanted an orange cat, but Gus had meowed at me through the glass and then played with a toy! I had to call again Monday (all after arranging the litter box and thinking where Gus would probably like to sleep best) and found out someone had already spoken for him a few hours before I saw him.

I was sad, but moved right on to the next one I found online, named Harvey: Harvey was big and orange and white, which I told myself I really wanted in the first place. There’s a video of Harvey online and in it he’s rolling around and trying to give the camera head butts–that’s even better than meowing through glass! I filled out the online application Monday morning and heard back right away from the adoption coordinator, and spent most of Tuesday waiting to hear from Harvey’s foster parent.

We spoke in the afternoon and I heard all about how Harvey had been rescued from a feral colony and was sweet and mellow and a good indoor-only cat. I told his foster that Harvey sounded perfect and I wanted take him home, and we had planned that and were saying our goodbyes when his foster said, “He is FIV positive, by the way.”

Now, I can understand why a shelter wouldn’t indicate online if their animals are FIV or FeL positive, because obviously people don’t want to adopt a cat that will require extra medical attention. But the timing was pretty cruel, if only because I gotten myself all worked up about bringing Harvey home. But I can’t take on a cat with FIV: I just know it would be too hard for me to cover the kind of vet care I would want to give Harvey (or Wilbur), and if I couldn’t provide that care, I would feel terrible.

I felt pretty terrible anyway after I found out I would not be adopting an orange-and-white kitty that gives head bonks last night.