I'm not sure where I first heard the term "helicopter parents", but it just might be the perfect description of my friend, Ellen*, when it comes to her 2 kittens. Loosely, the term is for those parents who hover over their kids, barely letting the kids ever out of their sight. In this case, substitute cats for kids.
A few months ago, my friends rescued 2 kittens from the animal shelter, sisters from the same litter. They had lost both of the cats last year, and had finally decided it was time for some more. Their prior kitties, Asti Spumonte & Makita, both lived long, happy lives, and were, for the most part, laid-back cats. Enter the kittens, now named Possum & Riesling (or Ries).
I don't think you could get any farther from laid-back than these two! They are full of vim and vigor & mischief! Just like kittens should be....
Last week, I got an email from Ellen, asking if I was going to be around & available to look after the cats & house while she & her DH took a few well-deserved days off for a short trip. Not a problem, I replied, just let me know when you'll be leaving. So, all the arrangements were made. A few days before their departure, she called me so we could go over any special directions she had for me. (I've done this for them for about 20 years now, but these are new cats....) We got off the phone after about an hour & half of stories & dos & don'ts.
It seems that Ries likes to look out the front window, while Possum prefers to chase any lights that come reflecting on the wall across from the window. They are not allowed on the tables or countertops ~ well, at least not when anyone is looking of course. Don't let them wrestle too hard, or scratch on the throw rugs. Close the bathroom doors at night or they jump on the back of the toilet & it rattles & will wake you up. Sleep low on your pillow if you stay over or they might run over the top of your head chasing the lights in the night.....
"Ellen,": I said, "You know I'm more relaxed about those things than you are." "I know, but, I just thought,..." "Don't worry, we'll be fine. I'll just feed them a peanut butter & jelly sandwich & everything will be OK!" (Did I tell you that their cats always ONLY get CAT FOOD? No treats or table scraps. Therefore, I have always teased that I feed them strange people food when 'mom & dad' are gone!)
So, off they went on their little trip. The first night, I went to the house right from work. On the counter, Ellen had left me 3 pages of info/instructions for the kittles! OK, there was a disclaimer that she got up too early & didn't have anything else to do, but really, THREE pages??!?
The food dishes were still pretty full, but Ries & Possum both came into the kitchen & greeted me, then ate their food while I was there. I took a check thru' the house & all was secure & in one piece, so I made sure to refill the dishes & water bowls & went to my Guild meeting. I came again the next night, after eating dinner early at home, this time, prepared to spend the night.
I did find Possum laying up on the buffet in the dining room, so I told her "no", which she ignored, then went & picked her up to carry her into the living room. She did not like being picked up & especially didn't like the carrying part! The more steps I took, the more upset she got, trying to push away from me so I would put her down. (No scratching though) Then she started growling & hissing - so I growled & hissed right back at her! She did not know what to make of THAT. Guess mom & dad never have done that to her! When I put her down, she ran & hid for a while. Look, Possum, I am the alpha cat here!
While I was watching TV, they played a bit in the living room, chasing each other from the bedroom through to the dining room, slipping & sliding & having a grand time. They checked in on me a few times, but mostly just ignored me. After waking up on the couch about 2:00 am, I went to bed, completely forgetting about the 'sleep low on your pillow' rule, and slept deeply & happily the rest of the night. No late night/early morning romps across my head or racing through the house. Just nice, quiet sleep for all of us!
The next morning, Ries came out to play with me for about an hour, and posed for some pictures. Possum was still irked about the alpha cat thing, so she didn't come out until I had put the camera away. I knew that Ellen & DH wouldn't be home until dinner time, so topped up the food & put down fresh water & left for my painting time at the ceramics shop.
Ellen called me in the late afternoon, just as they were starting home, so we chatted for a while about the 'girls' & how they were. She could not believe that they were quiet all night long!
I told her it was the peanut butter & jelly sandwich that did it. ;^)
*name changed to protect the....well, you get the idea!
There's a big quilty giveaway at Stray Stitches - if you like Thimbleberries, be sure to check it out!
Peace to all ~