I cannot deny that I seriously under-estimated how much energy kittens can have, especially since we had a geriatric cat for about a decade that did nothing but eat, snuggle and sleep. Salem does those three cat things a lot as well, but she also jumps, runs, skitters, drags, chews, destroys, pounces, climbs, bites and scratches. And all of this is apparently very normal for a now nine week old kitten, but boy is it tiring! I am feeling a new level of fatigue that I haven't experienced since my children were toddlers.
Kittens need a tonne of attention, that's the bottom line. And they require so much of your time, energy and commitment if they are to become well adjusted, content and loving adult pussy cats. In the last ten days alone we have had to navigate settling Salem into her new home environment, a trip to the vet for vaccinations and chipping (which made her so lethargic that I thought she was going to die) and then to add icing to the already quite stressful kitten cake, she also had a bout of explosive kitten diarrhoea which was not only messy and smelly, but truly gross and distressing.
Has it been amazing? Yes at times, it has been extremely cute, cuddly and enjoyable. But mostly, it has been tiring, taxing, stressful and troubling. And so it should be right? We have literally introduced a wild animal into our home, what did we really expect was going to happen? Sure I had visions of tiny kitten cuddles, morning snuggles and sweet head-butting behaviours teamed with gentle but cute play, and yes we did get all of that, but we also got a tiny bundle of claws and teeth! A pint sized, furry, killing machine that appears to be hellbent on wearing us out, wrecking all of our stuff and keeping us up at night.
The other day Seth was at home sick, really quite sick indeed and in need of some rest and recovery time. He said that he was more than happy to do a spot of kitten sitting whilst he was resting at home. When I got home from work I asked how Salem had gone without Craig or I around. Poor Seth proceeded to explain that whilst we were out Salem had bouts of extremely high energy which involved zooming about the house, leaping off the furniture, scaling the fly wire screens, biting his feet, jumping on top of his head and attacking him on and off throughout the day. Needless to say, Seth did not get a lot of rest with all of that going on and he was also sporting some seriously welted battle scars on his stomach, arms and feet; clear evidence that Salem was indeed going bonkers and attacking him roughly. This was the point when we realised that our tiny Salem was going to be a handful and that the 'settling in to her new home' honeymoon was well and truly over!
And what do the experts say about all of this? They say that this is all very normal stuff, and we just have to stay calm and ride it out, that the kitten phase only lasts about a year so we should try to make the most of having a baby in the house. A YEAR! Wtf? I am going to look like that crazy cat lady off the Simpsons if this continues for a year! Walking around aimlessly in an unkempt state and talking gibberish to myself with a cat hanging off my back all of the time. I am praying that our little hellbender settles down a little bit sooner than that, but we will just have to do what the cat whisperer says and find our peace with it.
When you adopt a pet you have to take it on completely. You sign up to see it through the vet visits, the bouts of explosive diarrhoea, the destruction of property and in our case the mental kitten stage! And you do that for the duration of its lifetime, no matter how it all turns out. When you become a pet owner, its a little like being a parent all over again, you don't get to tap out or check out and you have to make your peace with things going wrong from time to time. And I really cannot deny that in spite of Salem's hellbender antics, those delightful pussy cuddles, feathery soft fur pats and delightful tiny facial expressions do make every bit of the effort utterly worthwhile.
Release Date: 2022
Rating: R 18+
Running Time: 86 mins
When it comes to low budget independent films, Hellbender has everything and everyone else trumped. While the rest of the world was lollygagging about during the covid-19 lockdown period, the Adams family were making this movie. And when I say making it, I mean writing, directing, filming, editing, costume designing, music composing and also acting in the lead roles. The trio - composed of John Adams, Toby Poser and Zelda Adams, collaborated on this low budget horror and the results are deeply impressive.
A mother and her teenage daughter live a solitary life on an isolated mountain. They have their own band, they forage their own food and they appear to live a very peaceful and natural lifestyle, except for one detail. They are hellbenders, and if you want to know what that is, then you'll need to see the movie!
What Hellbender delivers may be janky in effects, but it more than makes up for that with its brilliant cinematography and gripping atmosphere. I was hooked at the 10 minute mark and I think that this little hidden gem deserves lot more attention and applause. Toby Poser and Zelda Adams are incredibly good in front of the camera here, delivering a mother-daughter, coming of age folk tale like no other.
FINAL SAY: Growing up is hell.
3 Chilli Peppers