The first time you see them, they are so small and helpless. When they lie in your arms and look up at you, you feel yourself melting as you greet this newest member of the family.
They need help to do everything and fall asleep on you randomly, pinning you to the sofa. You watch their tiny bodies move as they breath and the thought of them being hurt or scared brings tears to your eyes.
You feel protective and want to keep them with you forever, inside where it’s safe.
But time passes and those little bodies grow. Their eyesight becomes sharper and their muscles get stronger and they begin to explore.
They get into places you want them to stay out of, climb onto things you want them to stay off and chew things that were not made for mastication. If you don’t supervise them closely they get into trouble and break things. Given the chance, they will eat things not meant for them.
They want their independence, they want to explore, they need a new environment.
But they have no sense and you wonder how on earth they are going to fend for themselves out in the big wide world.
So you do everything to make sure they are as safe as possible. You make sure they are healthy and strong, that they have all their vaccinations and carry identification at all times. You make sure you know where they are going and check that it’s not obviously hazardous.
Then you take a deep breath, sellotape open the cat flap and cross your fingers that they come back safe and well.
Because kittens grow up and you can’t keep them inside forever.