Today I took Tanya back to the shelter. No, for damn sure I didn't want to give up my sweet little girl, but Schooner left me no choice.
Tanya'd never been a big fan of the other cats, even before Tomba had to go back to the shelter; and while she got along with him she didn't seem at all upset once he was gone, so who knows whether she considered him a friend or just tolerated the big lunk? The other cats (except Sally) tend to buddy up, but she went her own way, complete with tiny soft growls if they got too close.
Still, Tanya seemed happy enough, especially when she could get lap time with me. We had a lovely cuddle just last evening, in fact, in the living room recliner. Then she got down, wandered off....
And a short time thereafter screaming crashing chaos erupted in the basement, rolled up the stairs, and tumbled out into the living room -- Tanya, hysterical, dashing under the couch in full-throated furious growling and keening; on her heels Schooner, puffed out, wild-eyed, taunting her just outside the couch till I flung a magazine at him and spooked him away. Poor Tanya was inconsolable (and vociferous about it) for the rest of the evening, even when Schooner wasn't coming back to harass her. Everyone else was freaked out, either hiding or slinking about looking fearful.
The wee hours of last night brought another eruption. Then this morning when I came down to feed breakfast I found a stench in the living room and Tanya miserably trying to groom off excremental smears on her nether regions. I have to suppose that Schooner pounced on the poor girl while she was in one of the litter boxes in the basement (and that's probably what happened the night before).
To Tanya's misery and humiliation add the horrors of a bath. Once I'd cleaned her and dried her as best I could, I let her slink away into hiding and called Matt at the shelter to Tell All. We agreed straight out she had to go back. Schooner's an instigator and, having found an entertaining victim to torment, isn't likely to back off; Smedley, seeing a chance for some fun, was getting in some swipes too this morning; there was no point in prolonging Tanya's plight as the butt of the pack.
It was a wrench, handing her over, but it's the right decision, for all of the household but especially for her. Yes, it's tough for an old cat like Tanya to find a new family, but she's so pretty, and such a sweetheart, I have great hopes of her landing in a good home soon. In the meantime, she'll be comfortable and much less stressed living in the shelter's big cat room (the other current residents Matt told me won't bother her). The other cats were totally freaked out by last night's and this morning's screeching chaos; they're settling down now, though, as the tension dissipates.
But I'm bummed. She was one of my favorites. I'll miss her.