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Our Kitten of Sorrows?

She looks pretty sad in this photo, doesn’t she? In reality Lola is quite the opposite: joyful, affectionate, cuddly, and playful. I’m falling more and more in love with her every day. She is just not very photogenic, not nearly as much as Madame Butterfly. But in person, she is the one everyone wants to pick up and cuddle. She is is continuing with her desire to play fetch with us, she follows us around the house, she usually needs a good “make-out” session at least once a day; her version of kissing is to rub her cheeks so hard against our face that we get a bit of gum rubbed on us, and occasionally a soft nip on the nose for good measure. And when she is calm she always wants to be parked on our laps, or our chest, whichever seems coziest at the time. She even likes her tummy rubbed. In short, she’s almost just like a dog!

Butterfly is more of a typical cat: very fun to play with, and also affectionate when she feels like it, but more content to lay beside us rather than on our laps. And she doesn’t do the “make-out” thing at all, except with Lola, who gets lots and lots of tongue. She does like to be carried around like a baby though, which is pretty fun. She and Lola balance each other out very well, and are definitely a bonded pair now.

So why “Our Kitten of Sorrows”? Well, when Jonah decided to name her Lola, I looked up what it means, and found out that it’s short for Mater Dolorosa, Mother of Sorrows, referring to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Also, her color is called “blue”, so we started joking that maybe she’s going to have a sad life. So far it’s quite the opposite. But then I was intrigued to learn more about the significance of Our Lady of Sorrows in the historical Catholic Church doctrine, and I came across this Eastern Orthodox liturgical refrain: “Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy.” And I realized that’s really what she’s doing in our lives. Our family is still in mourning for our dog Lucy, whom we had to put to sleep because of cancer last Autumn. The guinea pigs were our rebound pets, we picked them up the day after we buried Lucy, to soothe our kids’ souls. And the chickens we got Mae for her birthday have been a really amazing and surprisingly fun adventure for us. But this Summer, we started feeling ready for another, more affectionate animal in our lives. My husband and I longed for another dog, but now that I’m back to working full time, and we are all gone all day, getting another dog would just not be fair to it. The kids said they would rather get a cat, after we stumbled in to look at the 2-for-1 promo at the Oregon Humane Society. Mae constantly begged to go see them again after that. We went 3 days in a row! On day 1, I was thinking: “No way, this is not going to happen. You can look, but not touch, etc…” but by day 2 we were in the rooms playing with them. Mae quickly fell in love with Butterfly, I think mostly because of her name, but I was immediately drawn to Lola. I had always wanted a gray (blue) cat when I was younger, and though she seemed a little more shy and quiet than the other kittens that were clamoring for our attention, the minute I picked her up, it was like she belonged in my lap. By day 3, it was a done deal.

We’re all still a little in shock that we’ve actually become “cat” people, instead of “dog” people, but the kittens are definitely converting us, and making me remember how I used to be a “cat” person, and showing me that, after all, there really isn’t a difference in the amount of love they can give and receive. They can give us everything we were wanting in a house pet right now. They are exactly what I need. And I think we are exactly what they need too. Maybe our kittens would have had a sad life if someone hadn’t brought them to the humane society, and if we hadn’t adopted them. Maybe we’re all helping each other turn sorrow into joy.

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