A furry four-legged surprise greeted a pair of wide-eyed Orleans siblings, still in their festive PJs Christmas morning.
“Kitty, come on,” said an excited Alexis Grosset, 5, kneeling to talk to her new best friend.
Little Hal, a three-month-old domestic longhaired kitten, couldn’t wait to explore his permanent home.
Hal was one of five cats being adopted by four families across the city, part of the Ottawa Humane Society’s fifth annual Christmas delivery program.
“They’re getting treats, a stuffed toy,” said OHS customer service supervisor Cathy Belaire.
A journal was thrown in for veterinarian records, as well as a package of cat litter deodorizer.
“That’s more of a present for their owners,” joked Belaire.
Indeed, parents Amy and Jason were thrilled with Hal’s arrival, as extended family members looked on.
Jakob Grosset, 2, picked up the kitten, proudly walking into the living room to show Hal off to his grandmother.
Hal, who will be renamed by the kids, was a better gift than the multi-coloured princess castle, Alexis Grosset said.
Adopting a pet had been in the works for two months, said Jason Grosset, who took Jakob to the Humane Society to look around.
“This guy was our first choice. He came up and was very affectionate with me, and he was very easygoing with my son. As you can see already, he’s
handling him, picking him up, and that was a big sell right there.”
The young family settled on a kitten since “adding a dog, at this current time, is like adding a third child, so we didn’t want to have that burden
right away,” he said, noting they’ll possibly bring a dog home down the road.
“I’ve been an animal lover all my life. I had many cats through the years, and dogs.”
By choosing a kitten, “we wanted to hopefully go for something younger so that the cat can grow up with the kids, so we wouldn’t have to deal with
anything negative early in their lives.”
The program wouldn’t be successful without volunteers.
“There’s nothing nicer than knowing that you’re bringing that cheer to somebody else,” said longtime supporter Jeff Shave from Manotick, who drove.
“Even in this cold. Especially in this cold, because you know that they’re going to be going to a nice, warm home, that’s going to love them and care
for them forever.”
Regular adoption procedures still apply when giving a pet as a gift, said Belaire.