Monday, 6 January 2014

The kitten - Offering a child a pet for Christmas

Deciding to give Seren a kitten for Christmas was one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make as a parent.

Seren will be five in March. In my head she is still too young.
But she has been asking for said pet since May.
And with this determination I find it hard to disagree.

And so, in December, Father Christmas wrote her this letter:
As it would transpire, whilst we made the right decision, this course of action turned out to be the most difficult Mr J and I have had to make.

The kitten we found came with all the right crudentials. Child friendly, dog friendly, cat friendly. The owners had been quite specific, they wanted to assess us as a family.
At no point did I think we need to assess the kitten as a family.
We were relieved, after meeting our two-year old twins we were ok as a family.
And so the kitten was placed in our lounge for Seren to meet on her return from school.
'Jewelly' was reluctant to emerge from the cat carrier.
After the children had gone to bed she spent more time outside the carrier and we left her in the lounge for the night.
I left for work at 5.30 the following morning.
I checked up on her and couldn't find her. Blaming my tired eyes I left the house.
I phoned Mr J at lunch time and he hadn't seen her.
Concern set in.

I phoned Mr J as I left London.
"Are you sitting down?" he asked.
My heart was in my throat.
"We've now got two kittens" he began.

Jewelly (number 1 as it would transpire) had homed herself in the back of the chimney breast.
The local cats rescue had advised to bring another kitten into the home to encourage her out, where people, cats and dogs were failing.
And so kitten number 2 greeted me on my return from a long day.
Kitten number 2. Hereafter, also known as Jewelly, was "a proper kitten".
Jewelly 1 was timid. Jewelly 2 was fearless.
It was so difficult. Despite the scram marks the children loved Jewelly 2. They loved Jewelly 1 when she came out from behind the chimney (now more black than white) but it was infrequent.
Seren insisted both should be named Jewelly (despite her brothers wanting to name Jewelly 1 'Lion').

Over the next few days, Jewelly 1 did spend more time in front of the chimney breast than behind. But she had no time for anyone but Miller (the Cocker Spaniel) and Jewelly 2.
Having two kittens was not in our plans, if nothing else we cannot afford the costs of kennels for our few trips away.

We decided to rehome Jewelly.

It really has been a tough choice for me.
I completely agree with the campaign of "A dog's not just for Christmas".
And admitting defeat on a kitten seems so wrong to me.
As it was there was no shortage of volunteers.
And we found a lady who was willing to travel to meet Jewelly. Who understood the problems we were having. And appreciated the sensitivities of Jewelly leaving our home.
And texts an update every week as to how Jewelly is getting on.

I always considered my children not getting on with a new pet.
But never considered a new pet not getting on with my children.

A pet not just being for Christmas now brings on a new meaning.

I am so glad we did not wait till Christmas Day to introduce Seren to Jewelly.
I am so glad on Christmas Day when Jewelly (2) emerged that Seren was over the moon to discover Jewelly had been allowed to stay.

I do feel guilt.
But Jewelly 1 has found a good home.
And we have a kitten who is already part of our family.

Best friends with Miller.
Accepted by Fred and Ginger.
And the scram marks on Seren, Tom, Seb, Mr J and me demonstrate she's right at home!

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