For awhile there, I wasn’t sure that my children – my daughters in particular – would get past this. I wondered, briefly, if I was giving them fodder for therapy, something to look back at someday as an irreversible blot in their childhood, an unforgivable moment in our parenting history.
It was the day to give away our kittens.
I have mentioned before that I am not particularly an animal person. I like them fine – at a distance – but I don’t need them in order to be fulfilled and content in life. Well, when a cat showed up at our house last fall with a collar on, her ribs almost showing and clearly speaking of being dumped out in the country by some horrible people, she came into our hearts and family and we were glad to have her. She’s friendly, patient, and a great mouser – what more could a person ask?!
We named her “Copernicus” – not because she’s heretical, but because I always enjoy a good cat pun. “Cat-purr-nicus” rang a bell with me.
Then, during that warm spell we had this winter (okay, the entire winter was warm, but I mean the REALLY warm week or two in February) a large, orange Tom came to visit…. Need I say more?
He is, I might add, a deadbeat dad.
But, nevertheless, we loved his kittens. It had been approximately 35 years since I’d had kittens in the family. That cat, Josie, snuck into the house through a hole in the deck door screen and had her one kitten beneath my parent’s bed. That was fun.
Copernicus, thankfully, had her three kittens in an old kitchen cupboard in the garage, and that was fine by us.
We told the kids from the start that we weren’t going to keep the kittens.
Then we said they could keep one. Then we found wonderful homes for the other two and then we petted, loved, and cuddled them all for 8 weeks.
Then came the day we thought we were all prepared for. The giving-away day.
Who knew that two tiny furry creatures could work their way into our hearts so?
We were all crying (well, at least the females were) as we drove out of the driveway. Even the kittens in their carrying case were upset.
This continued for about half the drive into town, when the female kitten, in her distress, suddenly made a mess in the corner of the box and, of course, she and the male promptly stepped into it.
God works in mysterious ways.
It’s amazing how, having something else to focus on, suddenly the sadness was replaced by efficiency.
“Okay, Meep, you hold the kitten. Jack, hand me that water bottle. Boo, hand me those dried up baby wipes. I knew I was keeping them for a reason.” Then I rubbed and scrubbed one cat at a time and by the time we met up with the first adoptive family all tears were forgotten. We wiped off the evidence, though I’m afraid that the smell remained.
There’s nothing like handing over a poop-smelling kitten to a smiling 3 year old.
And that wee girl, I tell you, made it all okay. Perfect, actually. She was thrilled – THRILLED – and that made the handing over easy.
We then drove the second kitty to her new home and there, too, we had zero qualms about leaving her in the luxury of her new family, new acres to explore, new friends to make and enjoy.
And so, in the end, we all survived the experience. Though, to ensure that we never have to go through it again, we had Copernicus fixed. Yes, there was a little sadness in that act. She’s a great mama and trusted us completely. Never before had I debated the moral implications of such a thing; the emotional stress that being an animal owner brings. It’s too sad for me: I like being happy.
I suppose that’s partly why I’m not an animal person.
Though I guess I can’t really say that anymore, because I have become, apparently, a cat person.
And, really, it fits. I am finicky, I like to nap, and the only good mouse is a dead mouse, in my opinion.
Birds, on the other hand, I love…ALIVE. Woe betide Copernicus if she attacks one of my orioles…