Dadam and I have always had pets. When we got married he had two cats. Through the years we have had some other pets and when the last of the first cats passed away, we adopted two relatively young kitties. It was a great experience. The organization we used to adopt them, really did its research and we ended up with two very friendly, mostly laid back cats. They did really well with the kiddos, their little grabby hands and chaos, and they stayed friendly and loving through the whole experience.
When we found out we were moving to England, one of our first thoughts was of what we would do with the cats. It used to be that when Americans brought pets into England, they had to be quarantined for six months! I definitely did not want that for our kitties. After doing more research, we discovered that with some paperwork, microchip and vaccines for the cats, we could bring them in with no quarantine. But then when we looked into how we were going to get them over there, we quickly came to the conclusion that a day in the airport, six hours on the plane, another day at the airport in London, and kennel time until we could find a rental home that would accept pets, seemed like a ton of undue stress on the animals that we love so much.
A few more discussions later, we decided to ask Adam's cousin Jeremy and his wife Jamie if they were interested in adopting our kitties. (They had met them when they shared Thanksgiving with us in November and seemed to be very taken with them.) Thankfully, they were very excited for the chance to adopt some kitties that they knew were friendly, sweet and clean and so they took us up on our offer!
This weekend we met them in Pittsburgh and handed over the kitties (and all their assorted paraphernalia). We met them at the Carnegie Science Center, which was a great place for everyone. We got to take the kids on a WWII diesel submarine and everyone thoroughly enjoyed that experience. All the kids had a grown-up to hang out with, or more appropriately - drag around, because Jeremy and Jamie had brought Jeremy's brother Daniel and Jamie's mom met us all at the science center. It was a great time.
Leila enjoyed the aquariums the most and the loud science experiments with electricity the least. Talia really enjoyed the huge roomful of model trains and also like the loud science experiments the least. Elie and Isaac pretty much enjoyed everything!
We stayed the night with Laura and Joe, some friends, and the next day got to see the dinosaur bones at the Natural History Museum. In the beginning, I think the dinosaurs were not as *exciting* as the kids might have expected. But soon we got to talking about what they ate and how we could make a guess based on their teeth. And they had great fun sounding out the names. And they really enjoyed looking at some of the fossils and seeing similarities between them and animals we see today. The many interactive touch screens also helped to keep interest and I was really pleased with how much reading Elie and Isaac wanted to do! It was a great weekend filled with great museum adventures.
I was expecting more upheaval about the cats moving to a new home, though. But it seems as though Isaac and Elie both understand why we chose to adopt them out and that it was best for the cats. Last week, when we told the kids that this weekend was going to be when we said goodbye to the kitties, Elie said "But I didn't want them to leave until one month before we left. I'm not ready!" And she said today "Isaac and Talia, you left the Legos out and the cats are going to steal all the tiny pieces....Oh, there are no more cats. They went to live with Jeremy and Jamie. I'm sad about that. I didn't want the cats to leave. I'm sad they don't live with us anymore." But she hasn't been crying about it and as soon as the "sadness" passed she didn't say anything else about it. I do wonder if we'll here more later.
I'm sad the cats don't live with us anymore either, though I'm completely happy and at peace with the decision we made and how it worked out. The cats would have been miserable on the plane and it would have been a very stressful situation for them. But it is a little quieter around our house, can you believe that?, and I do miss petting them and talking to them and enjoying them near me.