This whole episode makes me really proud of Nutmeg.
The day that I found out that Acorn Ranger tested positive for FIV antibodies, and that he should therefore move to a home without other cats, Nutmeg cried and cried. I think she cried longer and harder than I've ever seen her cry when punishment wasn't involved. As in, she wasn't crying because she'd been sent to her room or because someone made her angry. Just sorrow.
I hugged her and explained the good reasons why Acorn Ranger should live with another family. And hugged her, and let her cry. We petted Acorn Ranger together. After a few minutes, I asked her if she would like to take some photos of him.
She took at least 100 photos. She was quiet up in her room with the kitten for like, an hour.
She finally came out of her room when Pebbles woke up from her nap. To my surprise, before I could say anything, Nutmeg took it upon herself to explain to her little sister that Acorn Ranger would be leaving us, and why. She hugged her. They petted the kitten together.
Pebbles, being 4, took the news much easier.
I was so touched to see my Nutmeg deal with her sorrow, work through it alone, and then comfort her little sister. I was impressed that she remembered my explanation perfectly even though at the time she seemed to be sobbing almost too loudly to hear.
When we dropped the kitten off with his new owners the next day, Nutmeg shed not a tear. She helped me show the new owners his things, and she kissed the kitten goodbye and waved. We got back in the car and drove off to drop off Nutmeg, too, but only temporarily. She went to Girl Scout Camp and it was no surprise to anyone that she handled that like the big girl she is.
P.S. Acorn Ranger was adopted by a deaf family we found via Freecycle. It was a new experience to meet someone for the first, and likely only time, do something as emotional as turning over a pet to them, and not be able to speak with them at all. We exchanged lots of emails later, though, and I'm confident that Acorn Ranger, now known as Garfield, will be well cared for and loved.