Years ago, when my brother was nine, my parents gave him a cat for Christmas. I was in on the surprise, and it was so fun to see his face when he realized there was a cat under the tree!
Earlier this year we put our aging cat to sleep, and the kids were crushed. Caiden's #1 item on his list was a kitten, even after we told him we Were Not Getting a Cat. He said he'd leave it up to Jesus and Santa to decide. We explained that Santa doesn't give unapproved presents, but that if Jesus left him a cat on his doorstep for Christmas, we wouldn't turn it away. Because where we live, a cat does not show up on the doorstep for Christmas; it would get eaten long before it made it to the front door.
He must've prayed hard, and Jesus must've changed somebody's heart, because just before Christmas, a little 4 pound present showed up on the doorstep inside a gift bag.
And yes, he's a Persian, so yes, there will be lots of grooming involved. And yes, I was quite happy not having a litter box in the house or cat hair on my bed. But in the long run, Caiden's total joy trumped all those practicalities, and Obie, our Cat Who Came for Christmas, was the best gift given this year.
And like my mother aptly stated, with a home full of children, dogs, and chickens, what's one little cat? Our sentiments exactly.