Bouncer speaks: Looking after an autistic human

Avid unwrittengrace readers out there, you’ve probably heard my name several times. If you haven’t, the name’s Bouncer, and this is my internet debut. Grace has written about me multiple times, you say? Oh purr-lease. The one time I actually tried to write anything, she deleted it! That doesn’t count.

Don’t get me wrong, we have a pretty good thing going, my human and I. We first met as kittens, when her family took my brother and I out of our old house and into a new one. My brother has mostly slept the following eleven years away, while Grace and I bonded over our mutual love of beds, books and quiet places. Young though I was, I soon realised that she was different from other humans. Ok, don’t start with all that rubbish that all humans are the same. Mine is different, and needs my help to get through life. So if there are any furry readers out there caring for an autistic human, this one’s for you.

Coming when called. Your human may get the impression that you have learned to respond to their voice. I started off by rewarding Grace with attention whenever she tried to communicate with me from a distance. These days whenever I call her name, she calls back and lets me into her room. Who has learnt to respond to who, eh?

Showing them around. Humans might be lacking navigational skills as a species, but what if your human is so bad at this even other humans can’t comprehend? Remind her of the basics and escort her around the home tail held high, stopping to call her if she doesn’t follow.

Cheering up. Now I have every right to nip, refuse strokes or swipe at oncoming ankles, but if I see my girl in distress due to mistreatment from other humans, it is the only time I will stay on her lap. That, and when she is wearing a dressing gown.

Other cats. Sometimes Grace tries to befriend my brother, and he even has the nerve to suck it up! I have to glower at them and remind them that Grace is MY human! She really has a lot to learn about commitment…

Staying away. My girl took this to a whole new level by disappearing for weeks at a time, only temporarily returning for the big-indoor-tree time, or the eggs-in-shiny-paper time. When she initially returns, she is dead to me. If she stays longer than a day, she gets extra attention. Positive reinforcement, I think it’s called.

So there you go. Come on, I was pretty good, wasn’t I? And on a closing note before Grace tries to reclaim her laptop, just remember. Not all humans are a waste of space who are only good for opening cat food. If you’re willing to invest the time and effort, looking after a less adoptable* human is a true act of kindness. Now off you go and give your autistic human the help they need. No seriously, off you go, I have a bed to sleep on.

*I heard this term from the old guy from the animal place, meaning needs more time and effort. Sounds harsh, but in his case I think they had a point.