So, if you’re up for adopting a kitten – it comes with a bit of a process.
Step one involves trying to persuade your 11 year old eldest wise one that maybe she doesn’t really want a kitten. Because at the end of the day, she was born into a dog family – that being, one who is up for dogs. Not a cat family – that being, one who is up for cats. We have been trying this tactic for about 2 years until finally last month, we succumbed. We came to see that my eldest wise one has been born a cat lover, not a dog lover. Meaning our tactical persuasions against her wisdoms were just never going to work.
Step two involves trawling through google listings of all local kittens up for grabs. It involves wading through – with your 11 year old by your side – the 100+ photos of cats. It’s where you see designer rag dolls on offer while you seek out a passage to the dumped tabbys. Making you have to explain to a wide-eyed child about a world she never knew. A world where a person would dump a litter of babies in a cardboard box at a park and think that’s OK.
Step three involves applying to the rescue organisation saving the kitten on the computer screen. The one that your wise one falls in love with. It involves sending an email to these animal loving saints where you plead your case as to why you feel you could offer the dumped tabby a happy and healthy home. You state your background, tell them all windows have fly-screens and plead your argument as to why living with your 11 year old is a better shot at living peacefully than trying to survive it solo under a bridge in a box.
An abbreviated version of our application letter reads:
Dear animal loving saint,
For her 11th birthday, my eldest wise one would like to adopt kitten X. She is looking for a little one who likes to play and is happy for cuddles. I have 2 other small humans, 9 and 7. The kitten would mostly be inside but it would come to play with us outside sometimes. I have 2 very old dogs who are always outside.
After pressing “return”, my eldest wise one checked my message bank every 30 seconds for the next 2 hours, eagerly waiting step four, five and six. That is to be acknowledged as a brilliant applicant (step 4) and to make have a time made to meet your daughter’s new love (step 5). This is followed up by dropping $200 and bringing the bundle of whiskered love, so small that he can fit in the palm of you hand, home to sleep on the end of your daughter’s bed. (step 6 – process complete)
Finally, we received our acknowledgement email.
An abbreviated version reads,
Unfortunately, we never adopt out our animals to small children for their birthday as we find that children tire of these presents quickly and they end up back here within 2-3 years. This means that we need to re-house them again, which is harder than re-homing a kitten. Cats should never go outside for they may catch disease. And your dogs might catch them and will probably eat them.
animal loving saint.
The words made my eldest wise one go white with fear.
Making my inner lioness roar and go white with rage.
An abbreviated version of my response,
Dear animal loving saint,
You can go and stick your cat up your arse.
My eldest wise one is an angel from another world that you can’t begin to imagine. She’s one that tells me how she will always aim for the moon because even if she doesn’t get there, she will always land on a star. She is the most reliable, conscientious 11 year old on the planet and has already dropped $180 on a bloody scratch post for this kitten to play with.
Not ever letting a cat outside is inhumane.
My dogs are so old, they wet themselves every time they make the effort to actually stand up.
You’ve broken my daughter’s heart.
And my hand hovered over the “return button” for a good 60 seconds.
Before deleting it letter by letter and wiping my harsh judgments clean.
Think inversions, heart openers and bhramari breathing.
It wasn’t the rejection of my application that made my inner lioness roar. It was this apparent rejection of my eldest wise one. My daughter is one who follows all the rules and has always walked wide-eyed through the world. She takes everything in without judging or labelling. She accepts all that is without prejudice or indifference. She is a deep feeler and a great healer with no prescribed notions of closing anyone off or shutting anyone down. Meaning she takes you at face value and into her heart immediately. She read words directed at her telling he she would fall out of love with something she had opened her soul to. And it was enough to put a little shadow on her shine. It was enough to make her question her certainty of being open. It was enough to ask her to question her intuitive wisdom inside. That steady space of centre that she has always had and that has directed her so well for so long.
I watched my eldest wise one fail. And through no fault of her own. And as she started to cry and ask me why, I didn’t have any answers that I could logically explain. Which made me type out my nasty words. Backfiring my judgments because I felt we had been judged so wrong. Until I took a breath and took a moment.
To realise that 2 judgements don’t make it right.
We are hard wired to make assumptions. Perception based on past experiences and examples. It’s how we learn. It’s how we grow. But occasionally stepping back from our assumptions, we can get out of own way. Making it easier to see clearly what we have right before us. I couldn’t see a strung out, stressed out volunteer animal lover who was working thanklessly hard to give a poor dumped box of kittens a forever home.
So on Friday afternoon after school, we visited some other 8 week old kittens. The feisty one with a leopard look in his eye to play, went straight for my eldest wise one’s arms. It was mutual love at first sight. So much so it took my breath away. That my wise one bounced back to love so openly and freely so readily. Dropping her hurt. Letting go of her questions. Accepting what she has now so fresh and new. Like that’s all that she has ever been born to do.
Reminding me that that’s what we were all born to do.