Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bringing joy and happiness into my Grandparents' life

My Grandparents are real cat lovers - both of them. They used to have a cat (Mucki) for 16 years - Mucki was the first cat that I had fallen in love with and he died when I was 10 years old. My Grandparents never got another cat after that, they catsat for my several of my cats and actually spent a week in Vienna last summer taking catsitting our three felines during our vacation in Italy. Usually we have a cat-sitter come in once day when we are on vacation, but since we had just gotten a new kitten we didn't want to leave them all alone for a whole week. My Grandparents have a small cabin in the alps and they have been feeding stray cats and cats from nearby farms for years now. My Grandparents are both in their seventies, still very mobile and active (for example they biked 2.000 km last year - I think they are in better shape than I am), but they have slowed down in the last few years, they still like to travel, but are not travelling as much and for as many extended periods anymore. They are both quite happy and content during spring and summer, when they can be active and can be outdoors, but the fall and the winters are quite long for them now (and they tend to go on each others nerves).
When I was in hospital in December my aunt came for a visit and in the spur of the moment we decided that my Grandparents need a cat in their life. I had gotten two of my cats from my best friend's parents' farm and I called her afterwards telling her about our plan and "reserving" a kitten from the first spring litter. I am not good at keeping secrets all and I had a really hard time keeping my mouth shut and not telling my Grandma about our surprise present. I had to wait until the beginning of April before our little surprise kitten was born - and then it was even harder to not tell my Grandma! I knew I had to keep quiet for another 8 weeks before the kitten was old enough to be separated from her mother. It was so hard!!!! I love giving presents to other people and watching them be happy with a present makes me so incredibly happy myself - I just love that feeling in my heart! My Grandma kept saying that they were going to come to Vienna again during the summer and catsit for us when we are on vacation and I kept thinking to myself - no you won't - you will have your own little feline buddy to take care of!
Two weeks ago after I had almost recovered from my intestinal flu, M and I drove to Mannersdorf to pick up the kitten and take her home to Linz to my Grandparents. We snuck up the stairs and I called up through the open door to tell my Grandma that she had to sit down in the kitchen. I walked into the kitchen with the cat carrier behind my back and then I started telling my Grandparents that we had a present for them and that it came from all of us (the whole family) but especially from M and I - I then opened the carrier, took the cat out and put it on my Grandma's lap. My Grandma just kept gasping and saying "What are we going to do with a cat" and "My heart is beating really fast" and "What about our cabin in the alps, what are we going to do with her all the times we are at the cabin?". And I just kept saying that everything was going to be fine, that there are cat-sitters, that they could take the cat with them because young cats easily adapt to different places and get used to being at different places and above all - they need someone to be around in their condo during all those long fall and winter evenings. My Grandma sighed, looked at the kitten, then looked at my Grandpa and asked him: "Well Franz, what are we going to call her?" and he replied "Mucki, of course". That's how Mucki the second came into their lives. Now - two weeks later, Mucki has already become an important part of their daily life - she sits with them in the kitchen when they are eating and follows them to the living room when they are watching TV. Every night she curls up at my Grandma's feet and sleeps right beside her the whole night. She has already been at the cabin with them for five days and like I said - she adapted really well and enjoyed finding all the spiders that tend to lurk around a wooden cabin. Talking to my Grandma on the phone has become so different now - she giggles through most our conversations and tells me kitty tales. She really sounds happy. So yes, we did bring joy and happiness into the life of my Grandparents.

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