I’m catsitting two cats. When I get home after having been away, there’s always a lot to do. I have to check their food and the water, and almost every time I need to wipe up cat urine by the door, and clean the litter box, not to mention all the tasks associated just with coming in from outside: take off my coat and scarves, pull off the shoes, find a place to put my bags …
… all the while the cats are over me in seconds. Sometimes even before I’ve managed to get in through the door. To suddenly have a cat on my back who’s eager to rub her teeth all over the back of my head and another meowing loudly and sitting up on her hind legs to reach up to get kisses on the forehead does not help me do any of these things I have to get done.
It’s easy to get frustrated at them. They don’t understand all of these things I must do before I can settle and calm down after having been out, maybe having carried heavy things from the store or had a very upsetting taxi trip. They don’t know that every bit of me might be hurting.
(Although to be honest, they might very well know that last bit. They seem to always know that bit.)
But instead of trying to shoo them off, most often I will sit down to properly greet them. All the other things can wait, because I have the One Minute Rule. (I readily confess that I just made this name up, because I suddenly needed some sort of catchy name for this thing I do now when writing this post, and ‘the One Minute Rule’ is as good as any.)
The One Minute Rule says that within one minute of me coming home, both cats should have gotten enough attention and cuddles/petting/head kisses to be purring. It’s not like I’m counting the seconds or measuring the time, but it’s a goal that I work towards, and very often I seem to succeed.
All those other things just have to wait. Unless for example I’m in so bad a shape I need to go take meds or lay down or something else has happened that I really instantly have to deal with right away, I will sit there and make sure those cats purr before I get back up. Anything else is secondary to that.
Because, while they might not understand all the things I have to do every time I come home, what I understand is that they don’t mean to be annoying or in the way of me doing all those things I have to get done. I understand that they are just happy to see me again. There is no way for them to know that when I leave I will only be gone for a little while. There is no way to explain to them at what time I will return. All they know is that someone dear to them left them all alone, and now this person is back and they want to make it known that my absence has been felt and that they are so happy to have me back, so very happy.
The One Minute Rule is the least I can do, and everything else is secondary to that: met with such love, the least I can do is to repay them for the amazing gift that is, and show that the feeling is mutual.
/pao – 16 apr 2017 – 04.16