No Home Sweet Rehome–Aspie on a Rant*

Young white girl with blonde hair, viewed from behind colours in a mural of tabby cats, with the saying by Julian F. Fleron "The creative adult is the child who has survived."
A saying by Julian Fleron against a backdrop of hand coloured cats.

During the summer of 2018 my current cat was suddenly taken to an animal shelter– the owners dropped her off to be spayed and never returned. An awful child adoption situation in Ohio this week brought this back to mind.

I had planned to post something else today, but the YouTube horror story about an autistic boy continues to make me shudder. [So did the term ‘rehome’ which as a word geek I can’t use as a verb–it’s ‘rehouse’ with a ‘z’ sound. The only homing is done by pigeons or missiles, but I digress.] My injustice radar has been activated and it won’t switch off. What if people had given up on me??

When I rescued Tika after several weeks at the local cat cafe, she was aloof, easily spooked and in hiding. Her abandonment wounds, possibly after months in a cage at a kill shelter, were locked inside and I couldn’t see past her green eyes. “Oh the chatty one.” said one vet as I tracked down her tale of woe. Yes there are many mornings when my companion won’t let me sleep, when her chatter is annoying, and her zooms down the hall when I try to work aren’t endearing. Then later there were the blood tests showing she has dormant feLV which means a shortened life expectancy. We’re in this for the long haul.

Tabby cat with green eyes looks warily down from perch in the cat cafe, prior to adoption.  She is about 11 months old, orangey beige with dark brown stripes   Another orange cat is just visibel above and to the right.
Tika before she was rehoused with Little Orphan Aspie, aged 11 months.

I lavished hours of time and loads of love on Tika to try to understand her, so the lockdown has been somewhat of a blessing. Now she’s my partner in crime (and on my logo.)

Everyone knows I’m a cat whisperer.

It’s not the first time either: nearly a decade ago I took in an abandoned cat for a few years and gentled her. I was the only one she ever trusted. I deciphered her collar tag and twice contacted the owner down the street. The lady didn’t want her anymore so I rehoused her, switched her to my vet, re-registered her microchip in my name. It wasn’t the cat’s fault she’d had a hard life, and I tried to make it up to her. I’m not saying this to brag: it never occurred to me to ‘rehome’ or ‘rehouse’ either of them if things got hard. It would have taken a severe illness or my death to separate me from them.

If you think the act of rehousing a pet is heartless, how much more so is the behaviour of the “autism paarents’, who begged their online followers to fund a foreign adoption, in order to add to their desired family size, paraded the child in front of the world to attract financial endorsements and more followers, then quietly offloaded him to another (I hope to God more loving) family when he wouldn’t behave according to plan.

One silver lining in the midst of this lockdown is the people who’ve thronged to adopt shelter animals to walk them or coddle them. What will happen to all those pets when they’re not so cute, the owners are gone all day or, worse still, pass away? Life is messy.

Adopted kids know when they’re not really wanted (and some birth kids as well.) Even if this autistic boy was non speaking, I know he has taken a lot in and will be deeply traumatized. Saying he had an attachment disorder does not let the adoptive parents off the hook. Children are not disposable commodities or fashion accessories. They are human beings deserving of respect and care. They have profited for years by documenting every moment, without his ability to give consent.

It’s shocking to use the word ‘rehome’. I couldn’t do it to a pet, never mind a child.

*And give this boy a nice name, so he won’t grow up being nicknamed the huckster. That name suits the ex-parents better! I wish him anonymity and a happy childhood free from compliance training and public scrutiny. It’s the least he deserves, and he deserved much better.