My two older children have been lobbying for a new pet for years.
We have an old cat that I inherited from my college roommate. I was never really a cat person, but I had to admit "our" cat grew on me quickly after we got her. She was very social, greeting anyone who came in our tiny apartment. She let us hold her, touch her paws, mess with her. I trained her to sit, then lay down for treats. I had her trained for a while to come when she was called. She's too old to perform these tricks anymore. She could still do them but she has no desire to humor us. She's 15 years old now, which is old, but not necessarily the end of life for a cat. I know some live until their twenties. (Don't tell my husband that! He's merely (and sometimes barely) tolerated our cat for many, many years now.)
Several months ago we branched into having fish. We're terrible fish owners. The fish kill numbers due to our family's purchases will probably be reported to the ASPCA soon. We took a break from fish for a little while (with the exception of 2 very brave glo-fish, one of which is so thin we marvel that it still lives)(I'll probably find the thing belly-up now.) but just last week restocked our tank and the Betta bowl.
But I never had pets growing up, and I know that fish are a pretty sad substitute for pets that can cuddle and play. (FINE, I had fish once in a while. Fish kind of suck as pets for the most part.) Did I mention we have a CAT?
When I took the kids to the pet store to re-establish our fish colony, I knew they would see the other pets available there. I knew I'd get the whining for a different pet, a more fun pet.
K settled on a hamster within moments of stepping in the door. Um, I guess at least it is small.
M found the kittens up for adoption and changed her mind about which one she wanted at least 4 times.
Did I mention WE HAVE A CAT?
SHE'S SITTING RIGHT HERE ON THE ARM OF THE CHAIR WHILE I'M TRYING TO TYPE.
Now she's not because I had the gall to try to pick the eye boogers out of her eyes.
ANYWHO! WE HAVE A CAT ALREADY!
And she poops and pees in random spots and drives my husband insane on a daily basis. She used to poop on the carpet in my room if she thought I was out too late at night. (After I graduated from college I moved back in with my parents for a while...) Then she was fine for many years and in the last year or two she's started eliminating in inappropriate places again. It's frustrating to say the least.
I know the kids are attracted to the adorable kitties at the pet store. I think they're cute too, but the kitties grow up and shit and piss on your new carpet.
So when my kids asked for these new pets I made a deal. If they can get their rooms cleaned up and keep them clean for one year I will buy them their hamster/cat/dog/whatever.
No chance that will happen. I'm golden.