I had been out most of the day on Saturday and when I got home my neighbour called out to me.
"Have you seen a little grey kitten near your driveway?"
No I hadn't but I hadn't really looked.
"I saw some kids carrying a kitten down the street and it was left outside your gate."
I went and had a look but couldn't see anything and thought perhaps the children had come back for it.
Around 5pm I was in the kitchen getting dinner prepared — yes I even have to cook on the weekends because you know who is not that keen on takeaways — when you know who (Mr Neat) comes to the door holding the most adorable little kitten I have seen for a long time.
It was sitting quietly and calmly in his hands.
The neighbour on the other side had spotted it up her tree and asked if we had a new kitten. So given that this neighbour has two cats that would most likely not be very happy to share the attention of their owner, he took it home.
Once inside I said "now what?"
Well we decided first things first. We were pretty sure it had been in the tree for quite some time so down to the dairy went Mr Neat to get the wee kitten a treat (I feel a book coming on).
The poor wee thing was starving and made short work of its food and had a huge drink of water.
Now what? Well it looked like we had a guest for the night so into the car went I and down to the supermarket for kitty litter so there wouldn't be a (oops the word that rhymes with kitty is not really suitable for this column) mess.
So the kitten was happy and cuddly and beautiful. It was wearing a collar with a bell on it so I snapped a picture and put it on Facebook. Surely someone would claim it. In the post on Facebook I wrote that children were seen leaving it at the gate.
The post was shared all over the place and lots of people offered to take it. I also got a private message from the mother of the children to say they had found the kitten and were walking up the street to see if anyone owned it.
It had jumped out of their arms at our gate and the children thought it had found its home. She apologised for not checking and was horrified that people thought her children had dumped the kitten.
I thought it was really nice of her to contact me. She didn't have to.
I also knocked on a few doors in the neighbourhood to no avail. The kitten slept in the washhouse that night and we didn't hear a peep out if it.
However, the next morning after breakfast it did what all youngsters do, running around the house like a mad thing, jumping up on the couch, chasing its tail until it wore itself out and went to sleep again.
By Sunday afternoon no one had claimed it. Because we were again out most of the day we had to lock it in the shed which isn't very fair and that's the reason we left "him" ( we did find that out) with some very loving and caring "foster parents".
They have already fallen for him but know that if the owners are found they will have to let him go.
I was amazed at how many lovely people offered to take him.
It also reminded me that with Christmas on the horizon it's a good time to remind people that buying puppies or kittens for gifts is a huge commitment for the receiver.
Unlike an ornament you can't pop an animal in the cupboard and bring it out when the person who gave it to you comes calling. They need care and attention and most of all someone that loves them.
I knew the time wasn't right for us to take on another pet at the moment — so no pets for Christmas thanks — maybe next year.
- Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.