Empty nest syndrome18 October, 2006
The house is very quiet.
Where conversations used to be filled with discussions of which kitten had been up to what mischief that day, Hubby and I now have the animated liveliness of the two farmers in Grant’s American Gothic.
I am still waking up extra early in the morning, my body clock primed for a session with the litter trays. When I return home from work, I am paralysed for a moment, realising that my evening ritual of feeding, litter trays, and play with kittens, with maybe 15 minutes for my own dinner is over. Hours stretch ahead to fill with cooking real food, watching TV that I haven’t watched for the past 4 months, reading, playing with my adult cats, and just wondering how my kittens are doing in their new homes.
On Saturday, as a taster of what was to come, six of the kittens went to their new homes. I was too busy to miss them, rushing around organising paperwork and kitten packs. Come the evening and it was just 3 adult cats and one little kitten left. Mum Cat had napped throughout the day, occasionally waking up to give a farewell lick (or suckle) to her kittens. In the evening though, she wandered around with a chick in her mouth going “woah … woah … woah” calling her babies to the feast. When only one kitten turned up, she knew something was wrong and spent the rest of the evening slumped in the room.
I think all the cats knew something was up when visitors arrived on Sunday to see the remaining kitten. I usually show them Teddy so they have an idea of what an adult Maine Coon can look like – hugely magnificent. Usually Teddy is a jolly, sociable cat, happy to weave around visitors, basking in their admiration. This time, when I carried Teddy into the room, he took one look at the very nice couple standing there, wriggled out of my arms and legged it pronto. I tried to close the door on him and caught his paw – he squealed and gave me a dirty look so I ran after him to see if he was all right. I finally cornered him when he climbed the apple tree, and apologising, I dragged him down. I think he had visions of vanishing into the Cave of the Cat Carrier and never returning home.
Whenever I miss the kittens, I turn to the e-mails from their owners with progress reports and photos. So far, everything is well. The kittens are being loved to bits by their owners. Some of the kittens have already been given bed privileges. Small fortunes have been spent by these owners in buying everything a kitten would need to feel pampered. The kittens are hugged about 100 times a day. Heart-warming stories, and suddenly the house isn’t so empty anymore.