Sorry I haven't blogged today! We were gone this afternoon and evening because we went to look at a cat.
I had really hoped, from her online pictures and description, that she would be the right cat for our family--calm, small for an adult female, sociable. Alas, the "sociable" part of the description turned out to be a bit of an exaggeration. In a word, she wasn't. She could become mildly interested by a dangling key--or ignore it completely and go back to grooming or eating or less polite activities, depending on her needs.
As the companion cat for a busy office worker living in an apartment who just wanted someone to be there when he or she returned home at night, and maybe sit on the couch while he or she watched movies or played video games, this cat might have been perfect. As a cat for a family of girls just dying to lavish affection and attention on a pet, though...nope.
There was an adorable eight week old kitten who played with us for a good bit of time and was quite charming. But he's a male tabby, will probably get quite large, and to be honest the only male cats I've known (owned by relatives or friends) get decidedly less charming when they've passed a certain age (yes, even the neutered ones). And I'm still not sure we're ready to take on the responsibility of such a young kitten when the only one of us who has ever had a cat before is Thad.
Though the girls were a little disappointed, I reminded them that we didn't go to the shelter planning to bring home a kitten, and that even if the older cat had been more interesting we probably wouldn't have taken her on the spot. Adding a pet to your family is a big responsibility, I said, and you can't make such decisions on an impulse or without careful consideration. We saw quite a few pets being dropped off at the shelter while we were there--not runaways or strays, but pets people just couldn't take care of anymore. It's not fair to an animal for a family to rush to take it home and then wake up to the reality that the pet wasn't the right one after all.
We talked about all of this together--we went for dinner in a little Italian place that is a family favorite, though we haven't been there for months--and I was pretty sure we were doing the right thing. Except between them Thad and the girls managed to name the kitten. Which is not a good thing to do when you're trying to be dispassionate and logical about the sweetest little ball of fur you've ever held against your shoulder.
So now I'm torn: do we go back for the kitten, or keep looking for a more mature cat that will suit our family? I'm not worried about the kitten--kittens are always adopted easily, and that little charmer will not have to stay in the shelter very long. I'm more worried about what happened to my determination to be rational and logical about this process. If all those careful thoughts and plans can be swept aside by a pair of bright eyes and a charming little face, then all I can say is I'm going to be in serious trouble someday if the girls get married and give me grandchildren.
UPDATE: One serious question I had for those of you who own cats is: how risky would it be to adopt a cat, or a kitten, from a shelter that doesn't test for feline leukemia beforehand? There are other agencies around here where a cat is tested ahead of time (part of the adoption fee covers it) so you don't run the risk of bringing home a cat who is already infected (and possibly even already ill). That's the biggest strike against this cute little guy--his mother is there at the shelter, too, but apparently her status isn't known either. If it were you, would you definitely adopt from a place that tests for feline leukemia first?