Babysitting ‘grandcats’ a ‘purr-fect’ time

Babysitting animals — i.e. “grandcats” — requires special instructions, just as if you were entrusted to watch little humans.

Give them this much dry food, and that much wet food, and not the same flavors for every feeding. Mix it up a bit.

Remember litter box detail. Very important. Keep it clean. Keep it real.

Provide water, toys and other essentials — ongoing petting and verbal expressions of feline fondness for optimum bonding experiences. Don’t forget those, for goodness sake.

And yes, a little advice on personalities and what to expect from this duo who are living the cat dream can be helpful, too.

Not to worry, for example, if Ellie is a little aloof. She’ll come around eventually, hopefully not waiting until an hour before her “mother” returns from vacation to decide you’re OK after all. She’ll like you eventually, you’re assured.

Bruce, meanwhile, he’ll take a shine to you early on and not just because you’re making dinner every day for him, so to speak, and giving him lots of attention.

You get emergency numbers and cautionary suggestions — no staying up too late. No watching too much TV. Easy on the treats. No friends over. Behave.

These are cats, right?

Even though I have a cat myself — “Herald the Cat,” who spends part of the day sleeping on the bath towel shelf in the downstairs bathroom and the rest of it stalking birds, squirrels and other unsuspecting wildlife — I was reminded anew how cats really have it made.

And that’s certainly the case with my “grandcats,” Ellie and Bruce, the latter having been rescued by my daughter when someone left this little black Manx cat as a kitten on my front porch.

What I had thought was a rabbit in distress from the sound of things turned out to be this little puff of a kitty meowing, I discovered when I opened the front door and came human face to kitty face with this New Year’s Eve 2017 “visitor.”

My announcement that I couldn’t keep another cat and probably would take this little critter to the animal shelter prompted my cat-loving daughter to open her home to Bruce, who probably doesn’t realize how lucky he is. Or maybe he does.

Who knows what cats are thinking?

During this recent grandcat sitting experience, I admit I felt a little funny-foolish walking into my daughter’s home, looking around and announcing my presence sing-songy style with “Ellie!!!! Bruce!!! Grandma’s here!!!!”

Who says that to cats, right?

And was I really expecting them to come rushing into view, meowing in return, “Grandma!! Grandma!!”

Well, in a perfect human-cat world, yes.

Cat-sitting brought back some funny memories, specifically the time when Better Half, during our courtship, and his brother took care of my cat while I was away. Shirl the cat wasn’t what you’d call sociable.

She required special care instructions, too. Enter at your own risk. Just leave food out and leave her alone!

She was more like an attack cat, inclined to go for the ankles. Ouch!

Unlike babysitting “grandcats,” not all feline-sitting experiences are “purr-fect.”

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)


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