This past weekend, hubby brought home 3 little baby kittens that someone had abandoned at his work. They are little and cute and so sweet. All 3 of them are females (according to our unexpert checking and a youtube tutorial!). We’ve named all 3, because they deserve names. One is a grey tabby (Nala), One is a covered in dark and orange blots w/ orange and white stripes on her tail (Tiger), and one is a dark tortoiseshell (Shadow).
The boys are THRILLED with the new additions to our family – and so am I, although we know we can’t keep them all. The place we live regulates us to a max of 3 “large” pets, which means we need to get rid of at least one of them, and this is breaking my heart. After the trauma they’ve been through….
So, I’m knee-deep in pet related research: vets, needles, spaying, support systems, etc. Weighing out how we can keep 2 and praying that we can find a terrific home for the third.
But, my current biggest challenge is my children. Big (8), is a gentle spirit and the kittens seem to relax with him. Little (4) just tries to stay interactive with them without being too close so they won’t scratch him by mistake.
Middle (6) on the other hand, is a whirlwind, and rather uncontrolled in his actions. He is a huge animal lover – especially dogs, and is usually unbelievably sweet with pets. So, I’m confused by his lack of empathy with these kittens. One moment – he’s an angel, the next – a vicious little monster, TRYING to scare the kittens… even lashing out to hit them with a grin. What is he thinking?!
We haven’t had time to prep and practice good pet ownership – as we’ve been petless for over 6 years. We haven’t had time to teach the boys about animal rules and rights – that they aren’t toys, but creatures we are to care for. I thought we had this covered. I didn’t think I had to explicitly enforce what I thought was basic skill – the importance of gentleness and compassion for pets. These kittens are a dropped-in-your-lap lesson in pet ownership.
As a new pet parent, trying to help some young kittens feel safe and secure in a house with 3 active boys (and one who countlessly loses his rights to touch them!), how can I balance all this?!
Do you have a resource you’ve found has helped create compassion in your kids towards pets? A book? A website? A set of rules? How have you added some 4 legged babies into your house with children? Please share and help our family make steps towards being terrific pet owners!