Saturday, July 31, 2010


I knew the day would be a little out of the ordinary when J asked me, "Mommy, can you do that thing where you make us all go outside?"

"You WANT me to kick all the kids out of the house?"  Yeah, he did.  So I happily complied.

My kids seem to work in rythms.  There are weeks where they will want to be outside all the time.  Then they'll forget about the outside world and focus on indoor things.  These indoor phases seem to last longer, for some reason.  So I find that the best way to jolt them out of it is to MAKE them go outside.  They almost always whine and complain.  But then they go outside and usually end up having a great time and have to be dragged back inside later in the day.

I don't think this puts me in the "mean mom" category.  But I'm sure there are lots of other things that do.  But we don't really need to go into that right now.  Or ever, probably.

With all the kids outside, I was enjoying some peace and quiet--a fairly rare commodity around here.  Then I noticed that the kids were all walking back and forth in front of the house, in a line, like they were playing follow the leader or something.  My curiosity was piqued.  When I got closer to the front window, I could see what the attraction was.

A white kitten, which they were all delightedly following around.  It didn't seem to be posing a threat, so I let it be.  A little later on, S came inside to excitedly tell me all about the girl cat they had found which had "adopted" them and which they had named Peppermint.

At that point, I went out to investigate a little further.  She appeared to be quite young.  And she also appeared to be a stray.  She was a little jumpy with any quick movements, but didn't seem to feel threatened with people nearby.  I also discovered, to the kids' surprise (and dismay), that she was, in fact, a he.  But that didn't stop any of them from referring to him as a her.

We decided to give him some milk.  J decided to give him some of our dog's bacon chews.  He happily accepted both.

The kids discovered that he had a very playful nature.  Anything from ribbon to tennis balls to paper bags to fingers was fair game.

Up to this point, I hadn't encouraged any of the kids to hold Peppermint.  But as I was sitting in the grass, he came up, climbed on my lap, or what's left of it anyway, and started purring.  Who could resist that?  So then everyone had to hold him.

That is one happy kitty.  But I imagine that would be exactly how I would feel if I had been wandering around homeless for who knows how long, looking for food and shelter, and then finally found some nice people who fed me, played with me, and then rubbed my belly.  I'd probably promptly fall asleep, too.

To make a long story short, we couldn't bear the thought of just leaving him to fend for himself outside, so we took him in.  Temporarily.  But of course, as soon as he was safely indoors, the pleading eyes and desperate requests to keep him began.  Charger was relegated to the back yard--he doesn't do very well with cats.  And since this was such a sweet cat, we didn't want him to get eaten.  Especially on his first day off the streets.

The kids made all sorts of cat toys for him.  Shaggy was a little surprised to find a cat in the house when he came home, but happily jumped on board with the rescue.  He's such a softy.  He set up the dog den and the kids made a cozy little bed for Peppermint.  Where he promptly fell asleep . . . again.

Of course, S was the most devoted caretaker.  She was the only one willing to clean up after the cat's little messes.  But it was surprising to me how nurturing J was towards this little kitty.  But I suppose such a small kitten is much less intimidating than a giant shepherd.  His pleas to keep the cat were VERY heartfelt.

But once again, we had to face the facts--the harsh reality that we happen to have a dog with an enormous prey drive, and that we are about to have another baby.  So the kids ended up having a fabulous two days to play with a sweet little kitten before we gave it to some friends whose kitten just died.  I think it worked out well for everyone.  Especially Peppermint.

1 comment:

Mom said...

What a sweet little kitten! Reminds me of the little white kitten my brother John gave my sister one year for her birthday. We had a dog too but not one with an appetite for small felines. Our daschund, Lumpi, was terrified at first every time the kitten arched its tiny back and hissed. They soon became the best of pals.