On Christmas Eve, Jacqueline opened a card from Rob and me which read: "MERRY CHRISTMAS! HERE IS YOUR CHOICE: 1. A GERBIL 2. A KITTEN. PICK ONE, OKAY?" LOVE: MOMMY & DADDY." For years, Jacqueline had been asking for a cat or a dog and we had always said "No". Finally, this year she talked her Daddy into getting a gerbil for Christmas, or so she thought. When she read the question on the card, she answered, "kitten", although she was in complete shock. Later, when we travelled home in the van, it started to sink in: every sentence Jacqueline spoke was peppered with the word "kitten".
This morning, Operation Kitten commenced. Winter arrived with a vengeance as yesterday's rain and wet snow turned to ice, crunching under our feet. Thomas and Jacqueline tugged at the doors of the van which were iced shut. Climbing into the driver's door, we snapped on our seatbelts and headed down the street, steam emitting from our exhaust. Driving down Highway 99, we pulled into the laneway of the farm where Jacqueline's friend Joanna lives. Making our way up the steep laneway, we parked and climbed out of the van, the cold air hitting our faces and forcing us awake.
We saw a solid tabby, a black and grey streaked cat and a calico cat on the porch as we knocked on the front door. Joanna's sister answered and said she was sledding. After tracking her down, we headed to the barn where we met a light tabby with white paws gingerly walked around the straw. Then a little black kitten named Midnight appeared: "She's so cute!" I exclaimed. It was the black kitten that immediately tugged at our heartstrings. Was it a male? Yes. No, upon further inspection, Joanna said it was a female. It didn't matter to me as long as it was healthy. I scooped up Midnight and talked to her in a gentle tone. Already accustomed to children, I handed her over to Thomas whom she took to immediately. Jacqueline petted her and she responded with a purr.
We invited Joanna to come home with us to play with Jacqueline and the four of us hopped into the van. Slowly we drove down the laneway with a special delivery seated on Thomas' lap. Back at home, Jacqueline's kitten got accustomed to her new surroundings. She sniffed the furniture and rubbed up against our dining room chairs. Jacqueline found a small squeegy ball for her to play with. While Jacqueline and Joanna played, Midnight curled up in a ball on the love seat in the living room, purring. Meanwhile, I took a trip to the store to buy a litter box, kitty litter and cat food.
After supper, I was just thinking of how smoothly we had executed Operation Kitten when Jacqueline discovered her kitten's calling card on my bed. I scooped her up and put her right in the litter box to start her "toilet training". One load of laundry and bleach treatment later, my bed was ready to sleep on again. Rob went to the gym and returned home two hours later with some mice toys for Midnight. And then to everyone's surprise, she went number one and number two in her litter box. Hallelujah! I think she is the perfect fit for our household. Welcome to the family, Midnight!
Photo courtesy www.housecatworld.com.