Thursday, October 28, 2010
The Great Kitten Adventure
We are embarking on the great kitten adventure today, whether I'm fully prepared for this stage or not. Ava has been begging for a dog for years, but I am not a dog person and have assured her that she can have as many dogs as she wants, when she is an adult and moves out of our house. William has been asking for a cat for a long time, and cats are something I can get on board with, as I am a cat lover by nature.
When Jason and I were first married, we went to the SPCA and picked out our first kitten, a solid black fuzzball we called Sasha. A year or so later, when Sasha began chewing giant holes in my clothes, we went back to the shelter and adopted a grey tabby named Riley, to keep Sasha company while we were at work. The chewing got better, and we loved all of the laughter and cuddles we received from our cats.
Fast forward a few years to when Ava was born. We still loved Sasha and Riley, but in the usual way, the needs of our human child bumped the cats a few rungs down on the family ladder. By the time William came along, I felt bad that I didn't give the cats anywhere near the same attention as I used to.
Right before we moved to Alberta, Riley disappeared one night, and a neighbour said there were coyotes in our area, so we think that's how he met his end. He was a very affectionate cat, brainless in a sweet way, and I missed him when he was gone. We moved with Sasha, and about a year later, we let him out one evening as per usual, and he never returned. We told the kids he found another family, and it's entirely possible, as that cat had many near misses with death and always survived, so I like to think of him happily ensconced in someone else's house.
For more than two years, we have been pet free in our home. I loved the freedom of going away and not having to task someone to look after our pets. I enjoyed not being responsible to keep anything alive besides myself, Jason and our two children. In March, we got a beta fish for Ava's birthday, as she had been asking for one for a long time. I thought that would be a good way to ease us all in to the demands of pet ownership, but for the last few months, the requests for a live and cuddly pet have been heating up.
Recently Jason has been in on the game, saying things like, "Wouldn't it be great to have a cat again? Can you imagine how much fun the kids would have with a kitten?" I just smiled and looked the other direction, happy not to consider it. Then pictures began to appear on Facebook of the cutest, tiniest kittens you can imagine. I found myself drawn to these pictures, snapping the computer window closed if the kids or Jason would walk by.
The timing began to feel right to me. I heard that still, small voice which I trust to guide me through life, whispering that this was the time, and these were the cats. I resisted for a time, and then relented. The still, small voice has never steered me wrong, but that doesn't mean I'm always ready for the challenges that it leads me into. Sometimes I would prefer to say no, but it isn't always about me.
In this case, it's about my kids, who are now 7 and 4, and ready to take on the joys and responsibilities of pets. We went shopping yesterday for the cat things we need (over the two years our litter box, food bowls and cat toys seem to have made their way out of our house) and both kids were absolutely brimming with excitement. Their enthusiasm and gratitude was coming off of them in waves as they carefully chose food bowls, toys, food and litter for their cats.
After school today, we go to pick them out. I'm looking forward to the kids choosing one each for themselves, and naming their cat, and they've already planned out the tour of the house they will give to their new pet. Blanket beds have been made at the foot of their beds, and they are hatching up a lot of plans together for how they can entertain the kitties.
I'm finding myself swept up in their excitement too. I need to let go of my desire for a perfect house. Less hassle and work doesn't need to be the motivating factor for everything I do. If I've learned anything in my thirty-seven years, it's that we must allow life to surprise and delight us, even if it causes a little mess and chaos, because those are the memories that will make a lasting imprint on our minds and hearts.