Waste not, want more

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Community and the Cat Lady

I have not, miraculously, spent a great deal of time or energy blogging about my cat Shy, formally The Countess of Shy. She’s a needy little kitty, approximately 10 years old that I adopted over a year ago. She had been in the shelter almost a  year. She’s a tortoiseshell.

I realize you, dear reader, do not give a flying fizzard for my cat and that is fine by me. Abstract living beings are hard to get behind most of the time. Lucky for you it doesn’t matter, because Shy is just a proxy for the real point of this post. Patience, grosshopper.

Shy is a bit of a fraidy-cat, if you will. We couldn’t get her to come out the first four days she lived with us. She squirreled away under the couch that rests only 3 inches above the ground. We’d lift the couch and pull her out much to her  chagrin, then do it all over agian soon after. She’s better now. In fact since our nephew visited, she doesn’t even hide when people come over anymore. She acts non-plussed and occasionally pretends we starve her. All part of her plot to charm the visitor with the potential  live mouse in their pocket – it hasn’t worked yet. But she still doesn’t deal well with us taking off for too long; it’s stressful never knowing where your next meal (or tummyrub) will come from. This stress mostly manifests in vomit but has twice been capped off with expensive vet visits.

The first time we were going away, we took her with us despite the 10 hour drive. We’d only had her for a month and it seemed like a good idea. She did well for a couple of days before she started sniffing her food like it was catspam and slunking around disgruntled teen style. This did not improve when we got home. Felines face cat-astrophe if they don’t eat for a couple days so we took her to the vet, ran 10,000 tests that came back negative (phew) and got her a hydration shot. She came home and ate like it was going out of style. She’d made her point. Or, if I were to be less anthropomorphiz-y, she felt better and was back on the cat train to good eatin’.

The second time,we left her home thinking that would be better. No such luck. We returned to vomit piles, a refusal to eat, and an otherwise pleasant disposition. We tried tuna, salmon, steak, crab (we were eating really well that week, not just bent on lavish cat food) but to no avail. Back to the vet for another hydration shot and we returned with a happy, eating cat. Lesson learned. Again.

All this to explain how I found myself where I am now. Where is that? Paying a professional cat-lover to comfort Shy in her time of need (i.e. people vacation). That’s right; I have cat respite. The Cat Lady is fantabsome. In her former life she was a vet tech, she’s very knowledgable, loving, detail-oriented and offers additional services like checking your mail and taking out your garbage. It’s all very lovely.

Having to hire someone to love your pet is probably emblamatic of my isolated urban life. Yes, I have friends. Yes, if I asked one of them, they could probably check in on her every couple of days. But somehow I’m not comfortable asking someone to give Shy loving, send status reports, and scoop the poop. Why? Nobody I know lives close enough. I don’t know many of my neighbours and we’re definitely not on a “here, creep around my house for the next week” sort of footing. I have no friends living really close by and a number of friends are out of town when I am. The worst part is that I wouldn’t want to go too far out of my way to return the favour. I’m all about only engaging in activities that are en route to other activities, even kitty petting. Selfish and jerky? Check. I’m aware that this lack of community, as I call it, is a defeceit in my urban experience. I know what I could and should do about it, but I won’t. My time spent on things other than me is maxed out at present. There will be no further community volunteering, chatting up people in the park or joining of kitty groups. I’ve become a miserly individual. Well, not quite. I have a wonderful relationship with the Cat Lady.

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September 13, 2011 - Posted by | Consumption, Doing it the hard way, Mr. Lonely, Travel and intrigue | ,

6 Comments »

  1. It’s such an odd idea to think of hiring someone to come and give your pet affection.

    Comment by The Good Greatsby | September 14, 2011 | Reply

    • Isn’t it? And what’s stranger is that she’s fully booked all the time. – Thanks for visiting!

      Comment by Rose | September 14, 2011 | Reply

  2. Oh, cat ladies! I’ve done pet-sitting a great number of times in my life, but it’s harder now that we’re so busy all the time. 😦

    Growing up, we had a cat who went through the same sort of things as Shy whenever we went away. Luckily, there are professionals who can lessen the blow these days!

    Comment by Dana | September 24, 2011 | Reply

    • Cats. So needy and so haughty all at once.

      Comment by Rose | September 24, 2011 | Reply

  3. I think this happens more often than not in our world of disintegrating community.

    Comment by Lisa Wields Words | November 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Too true – though I like to hope we’re just building community in less geographically bound sort of ways, which still admittedly means I’m missing out on across the hall/street neighbourliness.

      Comment by Rose | November 17, 2011 | Reply


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