We adopted two kittens last weekend, and I truly had no idea the joy they would bring to our family, nor the tenderness and sense of responsibility that would arise in my two boys when these tiny animals were entrusted to our care. The two furry little friends have become instant members of our family and have fit right into our chaotic household as if they were born to be here.
If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of adopting kittens, now is definitely the time! Little did we know, when we promised our sons kittens last Christmas, that there is a season for kitten availability. Mother Nature decides to bring the majority of kittens into the world in early springtime each year, meaning they are at an adoptable age (6-8 weeks) by late spring/early summer. When we visited Animal Care and Control on the first of June, there were literally kittens everywhere we looked! We could have had our choice of breeds and colors, singles or a whole litter. Our boys chose the very first ones they saw, and they’ve proven to be the perfect choice.
We followed the advice of many people we consulted and adopted two kittens rather than one. This was an excellent choice. The kittens play together, clean each other, and entertain each other (and us!) with their youthful energy and friskiness. Personality-wise, there’s not much difference in human brothers and cat brothers. They love and irritate, cuddle and bite, support and tease each other … just like little boys do!
A myth that deserves to be dispelled is that if you’re allergic to cats, you can never own one. My husband has had cat allergies his entire life, making visits to my mom’s house challenging. She’s had a variety of cats over the past 20 years, though curiously, the most recent pair hasn’t caused my husband any trouble.
After speaking with multiple pet professionals and volunteers, we learned that people tend to have an allergic response to individual cats rather than cats holistically or even specific breeds. Luckily, both Animal Care & Control and the SPCA understand this and have “getting acquainted” rooms or spaces for potential adoptive families to visit with animals before making a decision.
The impact and influence our new kittens have had on my sons (ages 4-½ and 2) was unexpected and amazing at the same time. My older son immediately showed a sense of responsibility, ensuring each kitten has enough food, properly prepared, at the right time of day. Upon bringing them home, we agreed that our goals would be to make the kittens feel comfortable and safe in their new home. He took on this mission with more dedication and seriousness than I thought a 4-year-old ever could.
My 2-year old is learning to be gentle and calm around these new “babies” in our house. Though I occasionally catch him with his face an inch from one of theirs and shouting “BOO!” in his loudest voice, he is also learning to be gentle, pet their fur in the right direction, fill their water dish, and help them play with safe toys.
Finally out of the baby stage in our family, I did worry that adopting two more babies (albeit 4-legged ones) would be a big investment of time and money. It’s been very manageable so far. We feed them 3 times a day, clean the litter box twice a day (the equivalent to changing 2 extra diapers, from a time and icky-factor perspective), and give them lots of love and snuggles. Perhaps the newness will wear out over time, but in the past week, I have also gained about a half hour of uninterrupted time a day while the boys play with the kittens. The ability to cook dinner in peace is well worth those litter box changes!
Our cost to adopt two neutered, micro-chipped kittens from Animal Care and Control was about $220. Basic supplies including a litter box, litter, food bowls, food mat, and toys cost about $120. We were gifted a scratch pad, and intend to buy a scratching post in the near future. Food costs for the first week were about $75, though that included multiple options as we figured out what they would like best. Our first vet appointment isn’t until next week, and we’re still looking into pet insurance options, so this is a bit of an unknown.
A final note … we give 3 big cheers of support for all of the animal rescue organizations in San Francisco. Our experience was with Animal Care and Control, a San Francisco taxpayer-funded service whose volunteers were wonderful and so helpful to us as a new pet family, as well as the SPCA, a beautiful facility and group of people dedicated to saving, protecting and caring for animals. We are so grateful for the dedicated work of these organizations, their people, and all organizations who work to give rescue animals safe homes and healthy, happy lives.