Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
Paris, France
December 31
Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out


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JANUARY 20, 2013 3:47PM

Left behind

Rate: 18 Flag


When my brother Jason* left for film school, the usual things stayed back home: knick-knacks, books, papers, and photos accumulated over eighteen years of life.  Action figures and the occasional stuffed animal sat staring out windows, watching the year change for the first time without measuring it against Jason’s own growth.  The dust fell like light snow until the weekly cleaning day when my mother would come into the room and remove it. 

When she moved, Jason came back to put his possessions into boxes.  Some went with her, some were lost, and some were given away.  Today, some are still in storage in my mom’s new place.

At graduation, Jason decided to come back to the Atlanta area.  There were some TV and film studios opening there, and Jason thought he might have a chance.  His job allowed him to occasionally brush shoulders with people who worked in these places.  He was always charming, always mentioned his degree in film editing.  He got a few local gigs.  He and his girlfriend got a new home, a room in a house that they shared with two friends.  They got two more cats, in addition to the one Jason had brought to college with him.  

When Jason and his girlfriend moved to a new apartment, some of their possessions were left behind, or lost, or given away.  Some are in their friends’ bedrooms in the house they shared, parting gifts that perhaps evoke memories of a time when they were all together there, fighting over who was going to do the dishes, having parties on the weekends. 

One day, a friend brought them another cat.  The white kitten needed help; it had been raised by an old woman and had social problems. It attacked most men, for example.  But Jason's always had a special touch with cats. They always feel immediately at ease with him. This cat was no exception.  Jason and his girlfriend knew there was no alternative: either they adopt this cat, or it would be abandoned somewhere. So they took it in.

After a few years, Jason felt like his life wasn’t going anywhere.  He’d networked but had never broken into the Atlanta film or TV scene.  He’d gotten some small jobs, but nothing that could pay the bills or become long term.  Recently, he got a job offer up north. The job and living situation have a lot of potential.  But Jason can only bring two of his cats. 

It was a heartbreaking decision. One cat has medical problems and has to come with them.  The other has been with them since he was a few weeks old, and knows no other home.  Our sister said she’d take the third cat.  But no one could take the white one.

“He’d be best in a home with a single woman and no other pets,” people advised.  Jason agreed and put up an ad online. 

Yesterday, Jason found out things have sped up at the new job.  Instead of moving this summer, he and his girlfriend will have to leave in a few weeks.  Amid the chaos of so many last-minute decisions and plans to make, they haven’t forgotten about their white cat. 

How many of us have left things behind when our lives have taken us to new places?  How many of us have had to leave family, and friends, and neighbors behind, too?  Jason’s family and friends and neighbors will miss him, but they have their own homes and lives.  The white cat is different.

Jason’s worried that if he gives the white cat to a shelter, he won’t be adopted.  He’ll finish out his life in a cage.  If the shelter gets crowded, he might be shipped to another shelter that euthanizes animals.  Jason’s contacted veterinary clinics, friends and acquaintances.  So far, no one can help. It’s like looking for Cinderella: only a person with a certain profile can take the white cat in.

I’m writing this in the hopes that it will create some kind of magic.  The white cat, whose name is Hermes, is two years old, healthy, neutered, has his front paws declawed, and all his vaccinations up-to-date.  He doesn’t like men, and may attack them, but he gets along well with women.  He may be able to tolerate other animals, but it’s probably best for him to be the only pet in a home.  If you know a single woman or a lesbian couple who is looking for a cat to love and lives near Atlanta or anywhere between there and New York, please PM me or let me know in the comments below.  If you can, please spread the word to people you know.  Please help Hermes find a new, loving family, not to simply be a cat who got left behind.



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family, adoption, sos, help!, pets, animals, cats

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What a beautiful cat. Wish I could take him (husband says NO MORE CATS) plus our remaining cat would probably eat him. Good luck.
Poor kitty. I wish wasn't deathly allergic to cats. And I lived closer. And didn't have a chaotic household.
Bernadine and caroline marie, Thank you for your comments and for your sympathy and good wishes. It's completely understandable if you can't adopt Hermes of course. But if you know anyone who might be a good match for him, please let them know. Thanks again for stopping by.
what a great sister... I hope you find someone for this kitty. I love them but deathly allergic. has he tried craigs list???
Beautiful cat and you are right.. you just cannot take it all when you begin a new phase in your life.
I have not looked at the other comments. I bet they say, what I say. What a beautiful cat. hmm...I got no men in my life... WAIT. I got no nothing right now. Hope he finds a good home, Alysa.
Linda - Thanks. This isn't for my brother, though - it's for Hermes above all. I'm going to ask and see if he's tried Craigslist - thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it.

Emily - I think you'd make a great cat-mom. And it's possible that he wouldn't attack any future love interest, though of course you never know. Steve S, who blogs here and on Our Salon, works with cats and says that sometimes if the man doesn't touch or look the cat in the eye, there won't be a problem, or if there's another cat that diverts human attention, that could work, too. Still, you never know. I respect you for thinking about cat adoption and your lifestyle - not enough people do.
I wish. Allergic husband. But I really wish I could take him. Good luck, Alysa...
Joan - I wish, too! But of course I understand. If you know of anyone who you think might make a good new owner for Hermes, please feel free to pass on the word.
I suppose the part about him attacking men shouldn't have made me giggle, but it did.
Don't like cats, especially one who might attack me. Handsome animal though. Will pass his pic on to our local pet shop owner, who might have some ideas.
Joan - It does sort of sound silly, but it's totally true. It's weird how animals can have gender preferences. My boyfriend's family had a bird for many years that HATED women. His mom and I had to stay far away from it. In Hermes' case, he may have been abused or frightened by a man when he was a kitten. No one knows, because he was rescued from the house of an old woman who could no longer take care of him.

Gerald - I can understand that Hermes wouldn't be a good fit for you, but thank you SO MUCH for offering to pass on his picture to the pet store owner for advice. I really, really, REALLY appreciate it! The tuxedo doesn't lie: You are a class act! (Not that I didn't know that already.)
He's a beautiful fellow. Nice curious look in his eyes. I have an old and crabby bird though, and he looks like he'd regard her as a tasty snack. Good luck in finding him a home.
Oh dear. I never thought about him having been abused. Now it's not so funny. I forget that people do horrible things. Still hoping for a new home for him.
I hope he finds a new forever home. He''s a beauty!
Maybe put up signs in seniors housing / nursing homes. They may not allow pets there but the residents might have visitors that might be a great fit.
It's a tough scene the film business. I have had some success and awards but never broke into it financially. GL to your bro.
........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx & Smiles (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥ (ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★(ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★R
I wish I knew someone who fits the profile, Alysa. What a terrible predicament, to have to give up a pet. I love his eyes. Maybe his neat name will help him quickly find a permanent new home.
greenheron – Actually, Hermes has been around birds before (my brother and his girlfriend spent a few months between apartments living with my mom, and she has a bird). He doesn’t really give them any more trouble than any cat would. As long as your bird is out of the way and in a sturdy cage, I don’t think that would be a problem. If you’re interested, please let me know.

Joan – It’s okay. I love that you haven’t been tainted by knowing how awful people can be to animals. Thanks again for your good wishes.

mypsyche – Thank you, and if you can, please spread the word.

catnmus – That’s a really good idea! Thanks! I never thought about the fact that there would be visitors to these places who might be looking for a pet. Thanks so much – I’ll pass that idea on to my brother.

Algis – Thanks for your good wishes!

Margaret – Thanks for your support and I agree, his eyes are awesome!
awww. he is so pretty!! i am going to post this to a couple people i know in the area, alysa.
Rated so this post stays in the feed and white cat finds a home.
Sheila - Thank you so much for your good wishes, and if you can, please spread the word!

Trudge - You are awesome - thanks so much for having done that!
Alysa: This is heart-breaking. One of the hardest things about my divorce was leaving cats behind at my ex's apartment. But cats hate to move. It seemed kinder to leave them in the home they knew. Plus, Lady Lucia felt that Alice and Trixie would not take kindly to additional cats in our place. So...I make the 90 minute subway trek to upper Manhattan almost every week so I can have visits with my "uptown cats" and they don't think I've stopped loving them. (My ex is cool with that. I even still have a key so, if I want to visit them when he's out, I can.) Now to your situation. I have a friend in Manhattan who is a cat recuer and does foster care. She could foster the white cat and find a home for her, so she wouldn't need to go to a shelter (this is assuming that white cat could be brought to her in NY.) I will PM you with my friend's name and email address.
A ~ I'm sending to someone I know, someone you know too, but who probably won't see this. Perhaps she can help and if so, I'm certain she'll be in touch. Our Gatica, was a white Angora who resembled Hermes. She lived to 18 and hated me every single day of her very long life. However, she fell in love at 5 years old with Steve The Next Door Neighbor and died in his arms when it was time to go after a happy 13 years with him. Cats definitely have preferences and it is important to get them into the right home. I'd love to make a love connection for Hermes, and hope others who read this are doing the same. He's a beautiful animal.
Eva - I am so glad you still get to see your cats. Thank you so much for your extremely kind offer to put me in touch with your friend. Thank you for the hope you've given me and my brother!

Abby - I'm so sorry about Gatica. What a fun story, though, how she loved the neighbor but not you, her owner. Cats really do know their own minds and have their own preferences. I would love for Hermes to find a new home where he'd feel happy and loved like that. Thank you for your support and for passing this on. I really, really, really appreciate it.

Thank you both so much! And here's hoping Hermes will find a home!
Alysa, I need an email address to give out to anyone that may be interested. What is a good contact email for us to use if we locate someone who might be interested?
Hi Readers! here is Hermes making his appearance on Pinterest today! link:
Abby - Wow, that looks AMAZING! Thank you so much for all that you're doing to help Hermes. I really, really can't thank you enough, and I know if Hermes had internet access, he'd be thanking you, too. Really, thank you so much!

As for the address, I replied to you via PM. For anyone reading this who needs to contact me, please feel free to do so via the Open Salon personal message system. If you need another contact listing, please contact me about this and I'll get back to you with the address.

Thanks so much again, Abby, and to everyone who's stopped by to show their support, or offer help or to spread the word. Hermes hasn't found a home yet, but we're hoping and doing all we can, and your good wishes and help mean the world!
I sent you a pm. I have an interested friend.
Seer - Thanks so much for your good wishes, and for commenting and rating to keep this post visible. I really appreciate them and this. As for your question regarding Eva, it would be a very nice ending, but as you point out, a new cat could change the dynamic when there's already a cat in the house. Hermes currently lives with my brother's other three cats, and does all right with them, but occasionally starts fights - he'd probably do best if he's the only cat in a house. Of course, we could take a chance, but I would hate for poor Eva and Lady Lucia and Alice the cat to welcome a new cat into their home, only to have stress and disagreements be the result. That's not good for anyone - especially after such a shocking, horrible loss as they've suffered with Trixie's unexpected passing. But Eva has written that they're going to adopt another cat, and I think it's a wonderful, noble gesture to want Alice to have company, and to want to save a cat's life. I wish them all the best.

Poppi - Oh my gosh!!!! Thank you so much for this ray of hope!!! I've responded to you and will be contacting my brother asap! Thank you!!!! Hopefully this will work out!
UPDATE: Although Poppi Iceland very kindly suggested we contact a friend of hers who is indeed looking for a cat, we realized that Hermes isn't the kind of cat she's looking for. At 2 years old, he's still very kitten-like and active, and Poppi's friend was looking more for a lap cat. We're sad that it won't work out for her and Hermes, but we hope that she and anyone looking for a cuddly cat friend will consider saving an older animal from their local shelter. Many grown-up cats are passed over for adoption, but they're often the cuddliest, most comforting and appreciative of love.

Thanks so much, Poppi, for helping us in our quest to find a home for Hermes. I hope we'll have good news soon.