Monday, May 07, 2012

Fergus and Mabel

We make plans for our families, it's what parents do right?  And we get excited, really excited, about the ways we plan to add joy to family life.  It was about three months ago that I started making such a plan.  A friend of ours found out her cat, that she inherited from the previous owners of her home, was having kittens.  They were told this cat was a male, so imagine my friend's shock.  My wheels started turning immediately!  Our kids have wanted a pet forever and we keep saying "later, later, later".  Well what if this could be later?!  I talked it over with Travis and after a few weeks of thought, he said yes.  I was giddy.  I had both cats and dogs all of my growing up years, but I've never been "the mama" to a pet, you know, the one who cares for that pet from day one.  So I staked my claim, Tricia granted me first pick of the litter.  And I waited.  They were born on March 2nd.  Yes, I remember the date, because who wouldn't remember the birthday of a beloved member of their family?  And then we had to wait some more, they wouldn't be ready for 6-8 weeks.  As the pictures came in, my excitement grew.  And then we told the kids, they were ecstatic!  Chloe started a countdown, she had it down the day without missing a beat. I ordered a litter box and cat climber, dishes, a brush, toys, researched litter and got their little spot all ready in the laundry room. We picked a precious little gray kitty that stole our hearts.  We went out to meet the kittens when they were just barely walking, there's just nothing sweeter than wobbling, tiny kittens!  Travis was surprised how smitten he was, for someone who never had cats growing up.  He asked me on the way home if I thought it would be good to get two instead of one.  I loved the idea!  There were three white females with the most adorable gray ears, faces, and tails.  So we thought it over as the weeks moved on, and the night before we planned to go get Fergus, we decided to get one of the girls too, we named her Mabel.  On homecoming day, the kids were on pins and needles, asking multiple times throughout the morning and early afternoon, "is it time to get Fergus and Mabel yet?"  They bolted out of the car when we got to my friend's house.  When we put them in the carrier for the ride home, it felt official, our babies were coming home.  It's amazing how much joy playful kittens can bring to every day life, they are so entertaining to watch!  They took right to their litter box and bed and toys.  Their cat climber was a huge hit, this became their favorite nap spot.  And our love grew for them every single day.  Every morning when I first saw them, they gave me special purrs and longing looks and every evening they snuggled with  me on the couch to nap and play and purr with my petting.  I often glanced over at Travis just beaming, and he was falling for them too.  And the kids, oh my goodness, I'm pretty sure they never once asked to watch a movie that week, those little babies became their world.  But that's all we got with our precious fur balls, one short but beautiful week.  Sawyer came down with a cold a few days before we got the kittens, so when his eyes started getting red and watery, we just assumed it was related to the cold, maybe pink eye setting in.  I refused to go to the possibility of allergies in my mind because I just didn't want to believe it could be possible.  But then on Thursday of that week, after red, itchy, watery eyes off and on throughout the week, Fergus licked Sawyer on the face.  Little white bumps started to form around his eye and then his eye almost completely swelled shut as the day progressed.  I knew it in my heart then, he was allergic to cats... and my heart sank.  I called all over town to allergy docs to see if we could get him in immediately to get tested.  I got him in for a friday appointment and sure enough, he is highly allergic to cats.  He also showed allergies to dogs, horses, mice, and cluster of certain trees.  The doctor talked us through all the medications and sinus rinses she was prescribing for Sawyer and my ears tuned out, I knew what had to be done.  There was no way we could put Sawyer on a laundry list of medications just so we could have cats.  There are things we can do as he grows up to try to improve his immunity to cats and other animals, but it isn't putting Sawyer first to make him suffer in the mean time.  Oh it was heart breaking!  So I put the word out to find a new home for the kittens.  It didn't take long and a friend from my childhood offered to take them both, which was great because I really wanted them to stay together.  When we got home, we broke the news to Emma and Chloe.  They were sad and angry and then just sad.  Chloe asked at one point if we could sell Sawyer at a garage sale!  She was only half joking, the little stinker.  And Emma couldn't stop the tears, she just kept saying, "I REALLY don't want them to go!"  On Saturday morning, we packed everything up and the girls came with me to bring them to their new home.  We all held up okay while we were dropping them off, but on the way home, we all broke down.  My friend's older cats weren't too sure of these new creatures, naturally, and one hissed at Mabel at one point.  Little Mabel hissed back in her tiny his and was shaking.  Emma kept recounting how sad it made her to see Mabel so scared and that they would have had a better life with us.  And I couldn't stop crying either, I think I was so focused on how much the kids were suffering that I completely ignored how much this whole thing was hurting my own heart.  I wanted these kittens, they were MY babies!  I had been planning for them for months.  But then it washed over me, what a gift this experience was for my kids, for me, for all of us.  It was training ground for the heartaches of life, the disappointments that leave us broken and sad.  It is moments like these that are the places we have to ask where our true joy comes from, what fulfills us, what is God teaching us in the disappointments?  And my heart smiled at my Savior and He smiled back as I talked to the girls about this very truth on the way home.  And then Emma said she wanted to pray, and it was one of the sweetest, most genuine prayers I've ever heard from her lips.  She told God about how sad we are and then thanked him for promising to comfort us.  And then she went through a list of gratitude, that we got to have them for a week and that we got to give them to this new family who would now get to love them.  She thanked Him for all we DO have and asked Him to help her be grateful.  The pain didn't stop after we prayed, but our perspectives did.  And I praised the Lord for this hurt, because it pointed our hearts to Him. 

Good bye sweet kitties!  We loved you well for that precious week and we will never forget you!
Job 1:21- "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."


Sheri said...

Oh Sarah, tears are flowing from my eyes... Thank you for sharing this story, my friend. I hurt for your whole family. I'm so sorry that you have had to go through this pain. I was touched and encouraged though by your words. What an awesome reminder of the comfort from our Comforter, and His longing to hold our tears.

We have had many tears in Germany, missing a certain dog and bunny, in America, but as your darling Emma prayed, we have been reminded to thank our Father, for the gifts we have and thank Him for the memories He's given us with our precious, furry friends.

Also, I loved the beautiful pictures you posted of your babies. Priceless.

Sending love, hugs, and healing prayers. Love you all so much! ~ Sheri

Mom said...

Oh sweetie - this must have been so therapeutic for you to compose. I am sad that I never made it up there to nuzzle my nose into their baby fur and smooch behind those tiny ears:) Kitten experiences are rare. Remember when we were trying to find some to adopt after your dad died, and there just weren't any to be had?? Sawyer was just beaming as he held little Mabel:) Those pictures will have an honored place in the albums I'm sure:) Love you all so much!!

Amber L. said...

Such sweet pics seed. So sad you had to give them away. : ( If you are willing to spend 1000 on a kitty, I've heard that siberian kitty's have a good reputation of being hypoalergenic. Not %100 though.