We are not animal people. And when I say "we", I mean, Dennis and I. We are not animal people for many legitimate reasons including allergies, but the biggest reason is that neither of us are fans of the prospect of cleaning up the feces of those who don't share our DNA. Our children, however, have not thought out the whole cleaning-up-after thing and are, therefore, animal lovers. And what they really want is a cat.
Enter Sarafina. Kalin gave me this cat for my birthday when I was in seminary, since it was obvious that I was never going to get a real cat. Annalivia adopted her later and named her Sarafina, after a white cat in a movie she has. When she goes to sleep, Annalivia arranges Sarafina at the foot of her bed like a real cat. Unlike a real cat, when Annalivia kicks Sarafina off the bed at night, Sarafina just lays on the floor quietly. She hasn't taken any revenge that we've detected.
But the person who has become the real owner of Sarafina is Daniel. He plays with her constantly. And he takes her everywhere. Everytime we leave, we have to make sure Sarafina is with us. "C'mon, 'Fina!" he yells. Then he makes her meow in loud, bark-like sounds. Sarafina is a good travel companion. The only time she has caused any distraction is when she was lobbed into the front seat accompanied by Daniel's screams of protest. I am pretty sure Annalivia was behind that.
We have told our kids that one day we will live on a farm or someplace where kitties and maybe even a doggie can live outside. Then they can have lots of animals. And presumably, they'll be old enough to clean up after them. In the meantime, there's Sarafina. And she's a pretty good substitute.