Michael and I have begun to actively look for a kitten. It has been about two months since our beloved Delilah's health failed to the point that we had to put her down (she was 17 years old). Despite, Michael's original plea that we had to wait a year, I think he is finally ready (though he has never had a kitten before just my older cats).
We have looked on Craigslist and other on-line sources; we've been to the Danbury shelter and just yesterday, submitted our application. When I last adopted a cat from a shelter, it was a simple form and you got to take the cat home with you that day. It is much more involved now - with a 5 page application including references and the possibility of a home visit. On the one hand, it does seem to be a bit much - especially for a long time cat owner like myself, but after hearing horror stories about how some people have treated animals, I can understand their caution and thoroughness.
Animals of all shapes and sizes have had a varied role in the lives of people throughout the ages. For some, it seems as if they are disposable or even a nuisance. This viewpoint brings to mind all those creatures that are now extinct such as passenger pigeon, red gazelle, and the eastern cougar as well as those that are critically endangered such as Siberian tigers, Asian elephants and lowland gorillas.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and all that dwells therein. In Genesis 22:18, God saw that it was not good that man should be alone. First was created all the animals of the earth and then finally a woman who was a more suitable partner. Just as we were created to be in relationship with one another and in communities, we were given the gift of animals in which to name and claim.
Unfortunately, when we heard that we were to have "dominion" over these creatures, many viewed them as something to be used and not necessarily care for. God places us as stewards and caretakers of creation and all its creatures. They are placed among us for us to marvel as God's wonderful and sometimes "silly" imagination (think of the platypus or what other ones come to mind for you?). They are given to us as food, but we are called to honor their lives (much as many a Native American tribe did). They are a vital part to the very workings of creation.
So while the application for a kitten seems to be overly cautious, it serves as an example of the care and concern that we should have for all of God's creation. For in the beginning, God did create the earth and all its inhabitants and proclaimed that "it is good". And so, we celebrate and honor the goodness of God's creation.
BTW - this Sunday, June 2nd (5pm), we will be having our 3rd Annual Blessing of the Animals in our rear parking lot. All are invited to bring their pets for a special blessing. They need to be on leashes or other suitable carriers. If they don't "play" well with others, you are invited to bring a picture of them. Children may also bring a stuffed animal to be blessed. Even if you don't currently have a pet, please feel free to come and celebrate the gift of God's animals.