Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our other (temporary) children...

Back in October 2008, in those final, crazy days as we prepared for Stella's arrival, I posted a blog entry where I mentioned that we had started watching two cats, Wesley and Buttercup, while their owners did a year long Round the World trip. Well, fast forward to today, 10 months later, and the two kitties, while not often mentioned here, are still with us and it is almost hard to remember what it was like before their arrival.

Sadly, while they are generally a joy to have around, Sarah and I often feel a little sorry for them. With the adjustment to becoming new parents, the kitties are often ignored. Or, if they are acknowledged, it's as I chase one of them around the house with a spray bottle for scratching a piece of furniture or meowing while Stella naps. Obviously, not my proudest moments.

That said, at the end of the day, I'm really glad to have them in our lives right now, if for no other reason than for the benefits for Stella. Even ignoring some research that maintains that growing up in a house with pets helps prevent future animal-related allergies, it is obvious that having the cats around has helped Stella both developmentally, and given her a source of endless entertainment.

Early on, when she was just several months old, we noticed that she would start to notice the kitties. Her head turning to follow them across the room. Later, when we'd go to various parenting groups. We'd notice that whenever an animal entered the room, she would take note.

For the past several months though, it would be safe to say that the kitties are a near constant obsession for her. And, if she could talk, she would probably claim they were some of her best friends. This creates an interesting circular dynamic in our household...

• Stella is constantly trying to chase and touch the kitties.
• The kitties, in turn, are following us around waiting for their next meal.
• And Sarah and I are, of course, trying to play with Stella.

Around and around we go!

So, what do the kitties think of Stella?

Well, as near as we can tell, Wesley does his best to ignore and steer clear of Stella. I'm sure, in his mind, Stella is a noisy, nuisance that he'd prefer wasn't around. As a general rule, he does his best to ignore her in a live-and-let-live manner. But, while Buttercup initially seemed to have a similar opinion; over the last couple months her opinion has changed a bit... as seen in this video:

Stella is still struggling to understand the idea of "pet," and either resorts to sort of slapping Buttercup or pulling out tuffs of fur. But, Buttercup has proven to be very tolerant of this behavior and even seems to enjoy interacting with Stella from time to time.

As I said, I'm glad we've had them around the house these last 10 months. And, while I'm sure they'll be happy for Shahaf and Pnina's return, I'm sure that Stella will miss them.

And, who knows, maybe Buttercup will miss Stella too... just a little.


ambika said...

Remind me to send you guys all of the watermelon plate licking pics and the pics of Stella petting Bella. Too cute.

Brian S said...

Cats and Babies, living together! What has the world come to? Too cute! What are you guys gonna do when the cats leave?

Emily said...

Love the kitty / Stella head butting! Think you may need to get her a pet of her own when the cats leave.