The Cat is Out of the Bag, and Now You Need Its Approval
In some households, meeting the parents is the easy part.
By Olivia W. McCoy, University of Georgia
Finals are over, the Maymester from hell is coming to a close and it’s finally time to go home and be treated as something other than a subject for essay exorcism.
Summer would be the most blissful time of the year for any college student, except that it means facing your family again. And this time, you’re not going home alone.
You’ve been putting off mentioning anything to your family. You’ve been careful not to leak anything online, just in case Nana did manage to figure out Facebook. You’ve been generally pretty good about pretending to live the lonely life of a savant. But it’s all a lie, and it’s time to face the music.
It’s time to bring your college sweetheart home.
And the reality of it is, you’re probably not even that worried about introducing them to your family. I mean, you’ve been prepping them for months for the barrage of questions they will be asked and cueing them with the “correct” answers—“Yes ma’am, we ALWAYS leave room for Jesus. In fact, we’ve been dating for six months and I’ve yet to make any physical contact with your daughter.”
The layout of the house has been drawn out with all exits clearly marked (for emergency purposes), and then tucked away very carefully in socks and inside coat pockets. You’ve coached them on how to dodge the warning shotgun bullets from your father’s opening remarks (southern girls will understand this). All necessary precautions have been undertaken. They’re ready.
But, if we’re being honest here, how important is it to you that you get your family’s consent for your caller? The only approval they need is your own. Oh, and the cat’s of course.
Common knowledge indicates that if Simba doesn’t approve, there’s no future there.
Luckily for you, there are some surefire ways to guarantee the feline’s affections. But you have to follow these tips exactly as I write them.
1. Avoid Eye Contact
Remind your lover that this is his turf now. And by “his,” I mean the Tigger’s. He is the leader of the land, the decision maker, the head of the estate. What he deems unacceptable is just as good as gone. So let him size up the competition. Avoiding eye contact with the cat will establish the respect your significant other will need to enter the house.
Once your beau has passed initial screening, they may move on to the next task.
2. Stop, Drop, and Do Not Roll
Once your honey has reached the foyer, tell them to get down slowly. Not only will kneeling and/or bowing in the presence of house royalty indicate the proper respect and submissiveness, but you get the added bonus of boosting your kitty’s confidence.
But truthfully, by positioning your S.O. at the fur ball’s level, the suitor will appear less threatening, allowing everyone to relax.
3. There’s No Rush
Once Fluffy deems them worthy, he will approach your Romeo or Juliet at his own pace. Cats are wonderful at remembering people they’ve already blessed with their presence, and they will pay very careful attention to how that first meeting goes. If the first couple encounters go according to plan, you’re in.
In the meantime, position your darling by a window or a toy of some sort. Then there’s the added option of entertainment to be included while first contact is being made.
Also, what a pretty picture it would be to see you feline boldly peering out into the world whilst being petted at the proper rate by your lover.
4. Sweet and Salty
Act sweet, taste salty. Go on a run around the block a couple times with your beau to work up a nice musk.
Your parents might not enjoy your added presence much after, but that’s not important right now. By adding the sense of smell to the first meeting, any connections made will be much stronger—note: this can be good or bad depending on the encounter.
And, if your kitten decides to approach, they get the added bonus of licking the salt off your hands.
You get exercise, they get a treat. It’s a win/win.
Now that we’ve established what to do, there are some things that may appear smart but will only cause trouble in the end:
5. Treats Can Backfire
Your honey can carry treats and deliver them as needed. That works fine. But the moment they decide to carry the treats ON their person is when there’s a problem—especially if it’s your boyfriend that you’re bringing home.
How is Tigger supposed to tell the difference between a sausage treat and their actual sausage when they’re in the same pocket?
All I’m saying is be careful—accidents can and will happen. And when they do, Tigger most certainly won’t be happy about being drop kicked across the room in an act of self-defense by your sweetheart.
6. The Same Goes for Playing
If your admirer can get the lioness to play with them on the first try bravo, but just like the treats, a word of caution must be administered. I mentioned earlier that it is best to be eye level, until play is involved that is.
Do not let them sit or lay while playing. It makes the person susceptible to higher damage and working injuries. By standing, the ankles are the only thing vulnerable to side-swipage. (However, if your boy toy is worried enough to wear a cup, we won’t judge him).
Heed my advice and prepare for failure. Not all can pass Nala’s standards—and it might be best to go by those standards because they just might be higher than the average college student’s. Good luck.