I have a friend, who I'll call Gretchen to protect the guilty. Gretchen used to claim to love animals. Collected them to the point of near insanity. But she took care of them (and helped keep Agway in business, I'm sure) and they certainly had a better life than if they were dead. She's had mice, rats, hamsters, lots of chickens (of whom only a few pesky rosters causing a ruckass in the hen house wound up on anyones table), ducks, turkeys, rabbits, more cats than can be counted, packs of dogs, and birds of many shapes and sizes.
Now all of a sudden, she "wishes the cats would all go way" and has stopped feeding them. Lucky for the cats, they are outside and hopefully have access to many mice. These are cats who she brought home or are decedents of cats she brought home. Who she feed and talked to. Who she claimed to loved too much to let me have kitten two years ago when I lost my beloved cat. The one cat "lucky enough" to have indoor status, is relegated to a 4 ft X 8 ft laundry room. Which evidently poor kitty doesn't keep tidy enough.
All started with the birth of her son, who I will call Karl. Gretchen, her husband, whom I'll call Johnnie, and Karl came to visit one weekend. Gretchen was aware that I have three cats and my parents, who were staying with me, had a very loving smallish dog. Four animals in one house, no matter what size the house, makes for much excess fur and hair floating around unless you have a cleaning staff that rivals Martha Stewart's.
Gretchen spent the better part of the weekend picking cat hair off little Karl, who was about 6 mo. at the time. Not walking yet, but certainly not a fragile little flower. Quite a little bruiser in fact. When Gretchen was not preening the little prince, who spent every waking moment being held by Gretchen or Johnnie, she was trying to shoos my cats away from Karl. My cats hadn't seen a baby before and were curious. My cats are not the come at you with all claws bared hissing sort, so safety was not a factor. Karl was perfectly safe with my cats. It was entirely Gretchen's perceived "ick factor". My cats were icky, they had icky hair that clinged to her little prince. How dare even a strand rest upon his precious body. She even caused my cat to fall in a potentially injurious way, during one of the shoo shes. Lucky for her, kitty was fine.
The telling moment, when I knew I did not know Gretchen anymore, was when Gretchen, Johnnie and Karl had been gone on a road trip most of the day. My parents dog was ecstatic to see them come home. She greeted everyone with amble enthusiasm. Well, doggies have major ick factor too, you know. When my parents dog tried to give Karl a kiss, Gretchen kicked at the dog. Yes, kicked, and quite energetically I might add. Thank god she didn't connect because it would have been quite painful for the 30 lb. dog. This was not even a sloppy face kiss, it was aimed at the prince's arm and doggie never connected. Last I checked, babies, even princely ones, are washable with soap and warm water. Needless to say my parents were offended. I was appalled that she would attempt to inflict pain upon a animal that was offering nothing but love.
Deep down this has put a strain on our relationship from my end. I do not think I know this woman anymore. How could I have known her for most of my life and not know her at all? I also hoped she'd snap out of it. Howver, the kid is now 2 yrs and we have the latest "wish the cats would go away" attitude. So the return of her brain is no where in sight.
It also frightens me. If I ever have children will I turn into some strange creature that my friends will no longer recognize? Will I chuck all that I consider sane at this moment out the window and replace it with "must-protect-baby-at-all-costs" mindlessness?