Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A New Addition to Our Family

We have been debating, on and off, having a pet for a few years now. I say, "debating," but what I really mean that the Rhino and I have been putting forth every argument in favor of a pet that we could find, and the Engineer simply said, "no."

The Rhino, bless his heart, even made up a petition and had the neighbors sign it.

Now, I like to form what we call a United Front with the Engineer when it comes to the kids. We stand firmly as a couple when it comes to important decisions, big purchases, discipline and the like, and that's as it should be. It's important to the kids that we be consistent. I know this.

But I also know that as a devoted animal-lover, one of my best friends growing up was our family cat. I remember being devastated when he disappeared, inexplicably, for several months when we were teens, and that the Engineer, already my boyfriend (yes, we were high-school sweethearts, awwwww) was really supportive. The cat came back, like the famous song, none the worse for wear, and my Mom's opinion was that he'd been adopted by some other family who found him and believed him a stray. Whatever the circumstances, I missed him when he was gone, I loved him from the day we brought him home, as a tiny kitten (we thought he was 'the bravest girl kitten' in the cage; turned out he was the cowardliest tomcat ever), and when he finally passed away at a ripe old age after many good cat years, I mourned him deeply.

And now, here I am, a Mom with two boys who are growing more independent every day, and I realized something about myself.

I miss having someone to nurture. Someone who needs me. I miss the companionship during the day that I had when my boys were little, chattering happily away at them before the were even old enough to answer back, catering to their every need.

Of course, they would probably let me do that now, if I offered. But it wouldn't be good for them. And it's just not the same.

Selfishly, then, I wanted a pet. And, more specifically, I wanted a cat. So much so that I sat down and spoke with the Engineer, asked for specifics on the big "No."

And found out that although there were some very valid reasons for him not to want a cat--a stinky litterbox, clawed-up furniture, and fleas--there were also ways that I could head those very real objections off. Things had changed a lot since my cat was a pet. There are monthly flea treatments that work better than any flea collar ever did, new freshly-scented-odor-absoring-super-clumping cat litter, and even (thanks, Metafilter!) soft paws to keep that new addition from tearing apart the leather couch.

And so I am happy to introduce you to the newest member of our family: our kitten, Leo.

The Engineer gave him his name (we decided it is short for "Leonides", king of the Spartans). He's an adorable little orange kitten born with, for some reason, half a tail, which only seems to add to his cuteness factor. And you'll probably be seeing more of him around the site, because the boys and I adore him, and even the Engineer has fallen under his spell.

~ Viv
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