We all know that the British are soppy to the point of stupid about animals. Unfortunately, I too seem to have developed this foolish national trait.
Having adopted three insane moggies earlier in the year who have taken over our lives with their incessant demands for food and attention (bit like the kids really), caused heart-wrenching damage to our furniture (er, ditto, only advantage of cats over kids is that cats can't draw on the walls with marker pens), and cost us an arm and a leg in vetinary bills, I would have said that I am totally catted out.
That is, until Firstborn spotted a tiny kitten on our way home from the supermarket yesterday . There it was, a furry bony thing with stick legs and enormous ears, probably not more than a month old, rummaging in a bin by the park. There are armies of stray cats hanging out on every street corner in Dubai, so it's not like it's a big surprise, but something about this kitten touched Firstborn's tender little heart and she burst into heart-rending sobs. Then the Small(er) One started to cry too. Such was their utter misery that the only thing for it was to turn the car around.
There we were, the three of us, prowling the perimeter of the park looking for the damned kitten, me having been forced by my bleeding-heart children into plundering the shopping bags for something to feed it with. I felt like a fool. I felt like a madwoman. Bored commuters stuck in traffic were staring. Joggers were slowing down to see what we were up to. I guess the sight of a grown woman brandishing a chicken sausage whilst peering into a hedge isn't something you see every day.
Then we found the it. The kitten peered up at us with enormous eyes and miaowed. I've never seen anything so pathetic. All three of us fell instantly in love. It ate the sausage. It miaowed some more. Firstborn begged to take it home. I responded with warnings about rabies and other dire illnesses, plus predicted the terrible wrath of Alpha Male if we added another feline to our motley crew. Firstborn burst into tears again. The Small(er) One announced that she was no longer my friend. We left the park, both kids giving me the evil eye all the way home.
I thought about the kitten all night.
After dropping the kids off to school this morning, both of them subdued and treating me like the biggest schmuck to have ever walked the earth, I went back to the park. I hunted high and low for the bl*ody kitten for an hour before giving up and driving home. I'll go back again later. If I fail to find this sad scrap of a moggy I suspect Firstborn and the Small(er) One will bear a grudge for years.
I must be mad. I must be mad.