Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I really need your help. I’ve been asking my parents for a cat ever since I was in second grade (I’m in seventh grade now). My dad agreed that I could get one, but the problem is my mom. I tell her I can handle the responsibility and she says that it’s not about the responsibility and that animals are not allowed in our house, unless they’re fish or turtles, because they don’t make any noise.
After a long time she said I could get a cat, but only if I memorized 15 parts from the Quran (I am a Muslim) But my father said 15 parts was too much, so if I memorize three parts I will get what I want. I said I would do it and I am working on it now– but I haven’t memorized the first one yet. I want to find another way to get a cat, especially because this way will take so long, so I really need your help!
Siouxsie: Well, Rosie, this probably isn’t what you want to hear, but the best way to get your parents to let you have a cat is to do what they’ve asked of you.
Thomas: Mama says she understands that memorizing the Quran — or any other holy book, for that matter — can be hard.
Dahlia: But if you do memorize those parts of the Quran, you’ll show your parents that you want a cat badly enough to do something very difficult in order to get one.
Siouxsie: We’d encourage you to do some volunteer work with cat shelters, too, if there are any in your area. This will give you some lessons on what’s involved in taking care of a cat and teach you how to keep a cat healthy once you have one of your own.
Thomas: If you volunteer at a shelter and promise to work a couple of hours a week, maybe after school or on weekends, and you’re able to keep that promise, that could also help you show your parents how much you care about cats and that you’re willing to make the extra effort to learn how to take care of them.
Dahlia: We would never, ever tell somebody that they should go against their parents’ wishes when it comes to having a cat. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, where you live, or what kind of family you have — if you’re under 18, you must abide by your parents’ wishes when it comes to having a cat in your home.
Siouxsie: Once you’re an adult and you’re living on your own, then it becomes your choice. But if you bring a cat home when your parents have said “no cats,” you’re going to hurt the cat more than anyone else.
Thomas: Your parents might take the cat to the shelter or the pound, or they might return the cat to the people that gave it to you. And those kinds of stories often have very sad endings
Dahlia: It’s really important that you respect your parents’ or guardians’ wishes. If they won’t let you have a cat, volunteer with a cat rescue or animal shelter to get your purry “fix” and learn how to take care of cats properly.
Siouxsie: This goes for all kids and teenagers who want to get a cat even though their parents say no: if you really want a cat, do the cat a favor and wait until your parents say “yes” or until you have your own place.
Thomas: And back to you, Rosie: Even if you’re never able to memorize those parts of the Quran, the experience of volunteering to help cats will be a great way to start your life with feline friends once you’re old enough to move out of their home.
Dahlia: But we think you’re a pretty smart girl, and we bet you can memorize those three parts of the Quran, as long as you study diligently.
Siouxsie: Readers who are not familiar with Islamic traditions around cats might find interesting and helpful information in this article from The Muslim Observer and this article on cats in Islam from OurCats.com.