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 like to sleep best and how cute he would be) and then 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 had seen on PetFinder, 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 I was so disappointed, because I had set my heart on Harvey the way I had set it on Gus 48 hours before, and I know I can’t take on a cat with FIV. It would be too hard for me to cover the kind of vet care I would want to give Harvey (or Wilbur, for that matter), 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. My co-worker firmly believes that “pets choose the person they’re meant to be with”–not a comforting thought last night.

I’ve been avoiding going to shelters because it would be sad to not be able to take all the cats home, but after the last few days I think that might have to be plan B: Go with no expectations to a place where they’re not named, just numbered, and see what cat “chooses” me. It’s that, or I should return the litter box.

(Seriously, people just take a kitten from a box in front of the grocery store that says “Free” and boom, they have a cat. They put out food and adopt a stray and have a cat. Crazy cat ladies have hundreds of cats! It shouldn’t be this hard.)