COMMENTARY: Online love goes astray, gives writer pause

Islander Marie Koltchak writes about an online search for love that gave her pause.

  • Wednesday, November 24, 2021 1:33pm
  • Opinion
Marie Koltchak

Marie Koltchak

Blame it on dreading the Coronavirus in isolation.

Blame though, ricochets like a reflection in the mirror.

Here’s what happened: the past year-and-half stripped me of the illusion that I could mingle to cheer up.

So, I went online looking for love.

Nope…nope…I thought scrolling profiles. And then…him. A dude with smoldering good looks that said: I see how wonderful you are.

His bio said he wanted a relationship. Me too! He needed modest weight loss. Me too!

Our first date went purrfectly. My best foot, and in his case – best paw – forward. Our meeting at Vashon Island Pet Protectors (VIPP) augured well for our future.

This elegant male, a Seal Point Siamese cat named Laroo, had eyes like luminous sky-blue marbles and lustrous fur.

He jumped into my lap, nuzzled his head against my neck. I swooned.

Decisively dotting i’s and crossing t’s, I drove us towards our future – a future that soon went off-script.

Initially, Laroo showed exemplary manners. He used his litter box for “business.” He clung to the shadows at first but soon came around.

Almost immediately though troubled catenated. We had shacked up too quickly.

My limited bandwidth for interaction might have gone unnoticed (and could even have been appreciated) had Laroo moved into a bigger home with a perimeter to patrol.

He sat stock still, staring out the windows, transfixed, and my heart sank. He was bored. I had liberated him from the hoosegow only to place him under house arrest.

Unemployed, he started butting into my affairs – literally – as I worked at my computer, he’d park his hairy butt in the middle of my keyboard, demanding cuddles. Fur drifted up my nose. A pattern of intruding and shooing ensued.

When relationships fall apart, communication fails, but was as direct as he is beautiful.

One night as I lay my head on my pillow, the odor of cat piss clawed at my nostrils.

He peed where I would receive the message: I’m stressed and this stinks.

This doomed the relationship.

The following morning, using my new-found whizdom (ahem), I called VIPP board member Terri Fletcher. She sprang into action.

Graciously, she gathered up Laroo and he went without so much as a mewl. He probably thought: You were no bargain either lady.

I had blundered – the pee signaled distress.

“We’re like the Nordstrom of cat adoptions, we’ll take a cat back for any reason at all, no questions asked,” said Fletcher.

Thankfully, VIPP sees few failed adoptions. Generally, people relinquish their pets only when circumstances force their hand.

When I asked Terri and her husband Geoff Fletcher, VIPP Treasurer, what advice they have for people considering pet adoptions, they suggested examining how much time one has to devote to a pet – and what personality type they prefer.

VIPP staff share the emotional demands of the placement process. When an adoption fails, they work to improve future outcomes.

The shelter tries to collect information on the animals it receives, but they often arrive with incomplete histories.

I thought cats were low maintenance but while they sometimes consider people more like staff, once working as a family pet they require attention – some more than others.

When they had gone, I could almost touch the relief I felt. As I cleared the detritus of our liaison (with clear vinegar and cool water) I had an epiphany: love requires showing up.

Dating sites give advice for relationship fails, with tips like: assess if compatibility posed a problem and take responsibility for your part, apologize, go easy on yourself, be kind…sometimes you [or a cat] may lack the ability to bond…

I will not input Laroo’s bio into any databases of online-cads. He did not catfish!

He is dashing and affectionate, and I envy whoever scoops him up into their forever arms.

VIPP has improved the quality of life for companion animals on Vashon since 1984. It is an all-volunteer, non-profit, no-kill and animal-rescue organization. Explore VIPP’s programs and wide range of support and volunteer opportunities at

Holidays can be a time when people consider gifting companion animals. Thoughtful deliberation on this long-term relationship will ensure the tail has a happy ending.

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