It’s the time of year when cute little balls of fluff turn up under the Christmas tree as presents. Only to be later abandoned. Maybe this is what happened to our cat. We got her from a rescue centre in February 2008. In France, when we were still living there. She had been found, in a car park, almost starved to death. (She weighed just 1 kilo (about the weight of a 2lbs bag of sugar). This is her first Christmas with us. She’s playing hide and seek in the Christmas tree.
Here she is earlier in the year. She still looks thin in these two pictures. Her fur was thin and short and her face narrow. Reminds me of a Siamese cat’s face. Her eyes look sad, haunted.
We got her a teddy bear and for a long while she would snuggle up to it, for security. Though she also took to us immediately. Her first night with us, she climbed on my husband’s knee and went to sleep.
She quite likes to travel, for a cat! Instead of putting her in a cattery, she goes with us. She has a hard plastic travelling cage. It’s big enough for her to stretch flat out in. We put her favourite rug inside and of course, her teddy. We prepare a litter tray too and when we stop en route for a break, she uses her litter tray and she will ‘lunch’ on cold sliced chicken!
Here she is on holiday in the South of France. This is the first day after her journey from Paris, which took 10 hours! She’s resting, but not much later, began a thorough inspection of her new domain.
She doesn’t mind where she is, so long as she’s with us.
She knows how to relax. And she relaxes a lot, like all cats.
Thing is, whatever we want to do, wherever we want to go, her welfare has to be taken into consideration. She’s part of our equation. She’s family. We love her. The idea of abandoning her, because of inconvenience, just isn’t an option. In France, in the summer, the French take off on holiday, en masse. The big holiday, it’s called. To the animal rescue authorities, it’s the big abandon.
This is the time when pets are abandoned, often en route to the holiday destination! How anyone can enjoy a holiday having left their pet on the roadside, or in some motorway petrol station, along the way, beats me.
Here in the UK, it seems that it’s a couple of months after Christmas, when the cost and responsibility of a now not so cuddly ball of fluff begins to strike home.
The kids have moved on to more exciting toys.
Toy. An animal is not a toy. It’s not entertainment.
If you do decide to get a pet for your child this Christmas:
2 Do it because you want to give a home to an unwanted animal sitting in a cage in a rescue centre.
2 Do it because you want to teach your child how to love and care for another creature.
3 Do it and really know it’s for the duration of the animal’s life. I saw a TV programme recently. It was about some people moving house. They were going to live outside the UK. France I think. The man of the house was standing in the garden. Talking. The camera panned to the ground at his feet. To a small grave. It was their family pet. Rather than take it with them, they’d chosen euthanasia!
She has a very cosy cat basket and a fleecy hammock slung over a radiator, she doesn’t have to sleep in a cardboard box lined with paper!
And if she looks a bit bedraggled here, she’s just had her first and so far, only bath. She went out and managed somehow to get some black oil on her fur. Probably from under a neighbour’s car, en route to our garden.
She loves her garden. Rarely ventures beyond and never onto the street. She could get under the gate if she wanted, but doesn’t. She isn’t keen on cold weather and rain however.
That’s the way it should be.
Don’t get your kid a pet for Christmas.
- Help My Santa Paws Drive Send Shelter Cats Holiday Presents (catster.com)
- A dog is for life… not just for Christmas: Dogs charity launch new campaign (itv.com)
- Why a pet isn’t just for Christmas (confused.com)
- Keeping Christ in Christmas: Advent Interuptions (melaniejeanjuneau.wordpress.com)