I enjoy house-sitting for my friends. It is always an interesting experience. Of course, I normally watch over their pets as well, which is easily the most interesting part of it. Why? Because the pets may or may not like the stranger that is staying with them. Dogs have not really been an issue until one family that I house-sit for regularly brought home a small chihuahua right before Christmas. Now, it could be because this dog had only been at her new home for a week before her family went to visit other family members for the holiday, but I will not know for sure until I house-sit for them again. The dog generally avoided me unless it was the middle of the night and she decided she wanted to sleep on the bed next to me. Since I do not sleep with dogs on the bed, this was a problem for her. Or unless I decided I was going to look in the fridge for something to eat, because the dogs loves cheese.
Then the family got home and I saw a completely different side of her. This little dog loves the son of the family. She was all tail wags and whimpers and absolutely had to be near him. Maybe she is a one-person dog. I have a cat that is that way, though he will demand attention from others on occasion, especially if I am away.
My grandparents’ cats generally avoid me. I have been known to just stop by and feed them while my grandparents are away, because cats require less attention and are more likely to be skittish around strangers, at least in my experience. However, if they are away for more than a couple days, or if it makes more sense for me to stay there and then drive to class from their place (their place was much closer to the UW than my family home), then I will stay there. This has led to interesting occurrences.
My grandparents leave a window open for the cats to come and go as they please. There is a cat door, but the cats will not use it, or so my grandparents say. I am certain the cats use it if the window is closed. Anyway, they occasionally have neighbor cats wander in, and I think once a small raccoon came in, but generally their cats are the only travelers coming and going.
Well, one Saturday morning I was woken up by a loud “Chirp! Chirp! Chirp!” It would take another round of chirping before I realized it was coming from the living room and not outside another window. A large robin had flown in through that window. What followed next was ten minutes of me trying to chase that poor bird out the open front door. One of their cats, a gray, fluffy tabby named Anastasia, watched the whole scene as I chased the bird back and forth from the living room and the dining area and trying to steer it to the door I had opened, thinking the bird would be most interested in getting back outside. I can only imagine her critiques of my performance.
My grandparents live in a relatively quiet neighborhood. Very early one morning, though, there was a helicopter flying around over the area for at least half an hour. I have no idea what was going on, because the news never made mention of it, but it was a bit unnerving. Right after the copter finally went away, there came a loud crash in the kitchen. I got up and went to investigate and found their other cat, an orange fluff bucket named William, sitting in the middle of the kitchen with an expression of complete innocence. I have no idea what he did to cause the noise, but I was not amused. Both stories amuse family members when they hear them.
The family I am currently house-sitting for has two dogs and a cat. The dogs are generally well behaved, though the female likes to try getting away with things she knows the family will not let her do. For example, if I leave the room, she will immediately try to get into my stuff or the garbage. She has also been trying to harass the cat. I keep waiting for him to give her a good swipe across the nose. So far, though, she has been lucky to avoid his claws.
The cat has a love/hate relationship toward me, which is an unusual case for me. I usually either get along with others’ cats, or they take great lengths to avoid me. However, I steer clear of this cat for the most part, because he goes about his own business, regardless of where I am in the house, and he has been known to swipe at my feet if he thinks I am too close to him. This can be problematic if I am trying to feed him. And, he gets highly irritated if I happen to notice that he is sitting in the window behind me. It is amusing. But then, he will go out of his way to get my attention if he wants to be fed. Yesterday, he continuously jumped onto the nightstand next to me and woke me up until I eventually got up and fed him. This most amusing part of that is that my own cats have been known to do that, too.