Trying animals on for size

My sister has a lovely, fluffy cat and a boisterous golden retriever that are very much loved members of her family. Two of her children have (finally!) left home, leaving just one behind, and all three are making noises about wanting to take the cat with them. (They’d take the dog, too, but he’s harder to accommodate in an apartment.)

Presumably my sister said the cat wasn’t going anywhere because the two oldest suddenly decided within the last week that they were going to get their own cats.

The oldest adopted a full-grown part Himalayan on November 2. Life was all love and mushiness that first day. Less than a week later, she’d decided he was badness and Hell personified and had given him away without a single regret. And now she’s talking about getting a kitten instead, because, you know, kittens are so much less work. (Interestingly, the reverse was the reason she’d initially decided to go with a grown cat.)

The other adopted a nine-week-old male kitten on November 4. He’s already frantically talking about how insane the kitten is and hoping that getting the kitten fixed will calm the little guy down.


I love both of those kids to pieces, but I find myself getting quite angry — at them for not taking the concept of animal stewardship seriously, at the people physically around them — family and friends alike — who didn’t tell them to step back and think before adopting another living creature, at my brother-in-law so many years ago for treating the lives of the two kittens they used to have so cavalierly and setting a very bad precedent. (Yeah, I’m never letting that one go.) Today, that brother-in-law’s sister told my niece that, hey, at least she cared enough to try. Bullshit. Six days is not trying and, no, you don’t get karma points for making a half-assed effort.

Too many people make the decision lightly, like buying a new piece of clothing. Cute little bunnies at Easter, puppies and kittens under the Christmas tree. Try them on for size. If they don’t fit or they mess up your carpet, just return them for a refund or give them away to someone else. It won’t matter to them, after all. They’re just dumb animals. They’ll adjust to being passed around.


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