One cat, Vixen, is easy. She adores my husband and should definitely go to him. Another cat, Brian, is also easy. I've had her since I was 15, and she should stay with me. The third cat, Ralph, is--again--easy. He seems to slightly prefer my almost-ex to me, and besides, Brian (an older, cranky female) doesn't much care for him, so he should go to my ex. Scooter, the dog, loves us both, and loves all the cats. He's easy. We decided he'd go with my ex, though, 'cause he'll probably make more money than I will, and it'll be easier for him to find a place that will take three pets. (But it's breaking my heart.)
Here's where it gets tricky. Winter, the fourth cat, is a doll. He chose me at the shelter by reaching through the bars of his cage to me, but he loves both of us equally. He also gets along very well with all the animals. He and Vixen, though, have a special bond. They curl up together and cuddle and lick like they're lovers. You can hear them purring across the room.
Brian is a cranky thing, and pretends to hate all the animals. She actually likes Scooter the best, probably because she can get away from him. But, it's hard to find an apartment that will take dogs where I'm going to live, especially in my price range. Winter is the one she can tolerate after that. Our thinking was that since she can stand Winter, and since Winter likes all of them, and since Winter chose me... But then, I don't want to separate Winter and Vixen if it's going to hurt them and they won't understand why, either. I don't know how much of that stuff animals get.
What do y'all think? Do animals understand about being separated from their friends? Do they remember?