Cat conundrum puts a hitch in my travel plans
If you think my cats are spoiled, you’d be right.
Most people go away for a few days and just have a neighbour stop in to feed their cats twice a day. Most cats are cool with this. My cats are not. They’re used to someone being here 24 hours a day, and have been since I started working at home.
Now the kids have moved out, it’s posed a conundrum. My ability to pick up and leave on a whim to head to the cottage has been compromised.
I’m not stuffing three cats into cages, especially one who pukes when he looks at a car, to go on a ride they don’t want to take to a place they don’t want to go.
But I’ve discovered a brilliant solution: Sarah.
Sarah lives across the street, and she’s another of my second daughters. She tells the others she is First Second Daughter. She buys me Mother’s Day cards, something my own kids don’t even do. When I need to be away, she moves in here for as long as I need her.
She adores the cats, but I’m aware she’s being nice. Mark and Cairo are feline terrorists, though Sweet Pea (whose gender was recently confused by a friend, and who now also answers to Pete) is a doll.
Sarah knows exactly how to separate them for feeding and who is allowed to sleep where. I toss Mark and Cairo into the basement at night. Sarah lets them sleep with her. She is very honest about why she’s happy to help me out: my bed.
I have a fabulous king-size bed, and when I pimped my house that time I didn’t sell it, I had to invest in white sheets and covers and pillows. I thought it was insane, but now I’m like a woman who has been taken over by a cult. The upside is a bed that rivals those of the swankiest hotels I’ve stayed in, and a Sarah who loves to stay here. I leave her money; she leaves notes saying things like, “Cut it out, I’ll stay here for the bed alone.”
I come home to cats who are so zen, they ignore me when I walk in. I’m surprised they don’t text Sarah themselves and tell her to come over.
My sister, Roz, has a slightly different cat problem. Two of her own go north with her, but she is also responsible for a feral named Mom Cat. In her city, if you manage to get a feral cat to their vet, they will pay for the spaying or neutering but you have to sign up to feed and shelter it.
Mom Cat has lived a very nice existence for a few years now, her own cat condo on my sister’s deck and regular meals. Leaving for vacation always poses a problem.
“I’m checking to see if the neighbours will be around,” she told me. “Or maybe that other woman down the street who I know is feeding her too.”
She pronounced it like Other Woman. I was at the cottage with the kids for a few days when she called, and we were planning cat strategies.
“Too bad you don’t have a Sarah,” I told her needlessly.
We hung up and Ari, 22, asked who I’d been talking to.
“Rozzy. Trying to sort out what to do with Mom Cat while they’re up here,” I replied. He looked at me quizzically. “Don’t they just bring her with them and put her outside here?” he asked.
Who says ferals aren’t part of the family?
My cats are used to someone being here 24 hours a day, and have been since I started working at home.