We lost both a dog and a cat this past year. Béla insisted on being present for the euthanization of our cat Hillel; “I felt like I couldn’t not be there.” These were two of the four pets we had when both kids came home for the first time.

Within a few months, we had a few new housemates — little brown field mice that would look very embarrassed when caught in the catch-and-release traps Tuck set.

As spring arrived I put out the word on Facebook that if kittens were being born and folks were looking to home them, to let me know and I’d consider it. But I did not tell the kids. I was not really sure. We had been looking forward to a pet-free period… but with just the one dog left, and the kids still so kidlike, we decided heading for the pet-free time wasn’t now.

My entire childhood, I had hoped my parents would surprise me with a baby pet that was “mine”. It never happened. I started to realize that we are already on super borrowed time with Santa, and the kids don’t even want adults going trick-or-treating with them anymore. If I was going to surprise them with a pet, maybe I better get on it.

this is Marble Rye, or Marble for short.

I was astounded when the first evening she was home, Béla came downstairs, looking at the kitten carefully, with a Steven Universe comic in his hands. We seem to have acquired Steven Universe’s kitten.

This panel is so uncanny a friend said, “It’s like they made a Tarot card of your family.”

Marble weighs 635 grams as of this morning at the vet’s. She has a bed, new bowls, plenty of toys, and a skull and crossbones tag with her name on it.

(It was harder to get a clear picture this evening; she is less tentative and has been in wild-girl mode.)

She is very comical and vocal; everything she says sounds like “Whoa!” or “Wow!”, which is funny. The kids are really happy. I explained to them why I had wanted to do this now and I’m really glad I did it. I’m also more appreciative of the fact that they have been present (to some extent) for the deaths of prior pets. I do not have very much nice to say about my own parents, but I can at least account for the normal lifespans and deaths of every cat or dog I had growing up — not true for Tuck, and that’s definitely something that stays with you (and puts a lot of doubt in the people who haven’t given you accurate information about where your dog went).

We’ve told them it’s them who will have to battle it out about Marble in the long run — she’ll be going somewhere with somebody, but with their current life plans, it could be on a number of continents. Regardless — we did right. And this family has baby love.


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