You may remember Cleveland as the cat that wants to be our pet. At first it was very hard for me to ignore and not pet this incredibly friendly cat that so desperately wants attention.
He as snuck into the house on several occasions, most nights he sleeps on the chair on our front porch and he comes out when I am hanging up the laundry to rub up against my legs and roll around on the ground begging to be petted.
I know I cannot start to treat him like a pet or else we would adopt him and then we would have to take him home with us and that is not an option. We already have a cat in America (thanks Rob and April).
Cleveland has found himself a girlfriend and we believe filled her with baby Clevelands. We are calling the girlfriend Detroit (with a long e). You can call her Dee for short. Now they both hang around outside the house asking to be let in and given food and love. However, Dee is much more afraid of people and she skitters away when ever I come outside.
The pet thing can be trouble for many Peace Corps in Samoa. One volunteer lives in housing where several volunteers have lived before. Immediately before her another volunteer adopted a dog as a puppy and had it spayed, fed it and kept it as a pet. However, that volunteer did not take the dog with her when she left, so my friend has inherited a former pet that cannot fend for herself and is used to coming in the house. To make matters worse, the spay of this dog was incomplete, so she still goes into a mock-heat and is hounded mercilessly by the male dogs in the neighborhood. My friend has to bring her into the house at night simply so the dog can get some sleep and not be harassed by the male dogs. This volunteer knows that she is going home in six months and that she cannot take the dog with her. If she leaves the dog, she is sure it will die a slow death of starvation since it is used to being fed and cannot compete with the neighborhood male dogs that hound her night and day. My friend has been seriously considering having this pet put down to spare it the later torture.
Your best option as a volunteer here is to steal yourself against the constant onslaught of sad animals that want your love by remembering all the vicious ones that want to eat your calves or the disgusting ones with open wounds and horrible diseases that want to infect you.
I have gone from being the sort of person that pets every cat she sees (even the ones that Cale claimed had mange in Key West) to a person reacts to finding Cleveland in her kitchen as if she found a rat in the kitchen.
Hopefully, I will remember how to love cats when we get home and see Smack again. I don't think I should have any problem with that though.