I decided to do a little community service this summer. Now before anyone pictures me picking up garbage on the side of the road wearing an orange jumpsuite, stop! (Too late—you pictured it.) A friend of mine needed a cat sitter and I figured it was some easy money. I like cats. I like cats because they require about as much maintenance as a potted plant. Basically make sure it gets some water, drag it out into the sunlight once in a while, and try not to get too dirty shoveling around in the dirt.
The friend in question had gone away on vacation in the past and another, a DIFFERENT person had cat sat. She had sat the cat. After my friend came back from vacation, we heard horror stories about the cat—basically the cat was a terror or possibly the devil had possessed said cat. I thought this was hilarious; after all, I knew all about cats (I had lived with cats my entire life AND watched LOL cats on the internet). I figured that this so-called "cat sitter" had no idea what they were doing. Why were they hiding in the bedroom, or holding out a broom in a defensive manner? I heard the details and derisively shook my head. Why were they cowering in the bathroom, praying that the "beast" would eventually leave through the open patio doors? Was crying and threatening to phone the police really necessary?
I scoffed and figured that I would be able to earn some easy money as well as help out a desperate family in need. Yes, I am a charitable person, providing my services for money. I am a giver. (And a taker.)
The mission was simple: Sunday through Friday—six days of looking after the cat. Easy. I showed up Sunday to an empty house, ready to spend my hour playing with the cat. The family had left the day before. I opened up the door to the house and called for the cat. I reached into my back pack and whipped out my cat toy on a string. I was ready to play with the lonely cat.
Only there was no lonely cat. There was a little furry beast with evil eyes hissing. I was a little surprised—did the beast not know I was on her side? I stooped down to clean out the litter box and heard a low, gutteral growl. Umm... I scooped faster and tied up the bag. Now the hard part—I had to somehow get past the cat in order to get to the patio door, which led to the patio, which led to the garbage can.
I stared down the cat for about thirty seconds, but she wasn't moving. Let me be clear here—this cat is like 18 inches long. I stuck out my bag of cat poop and litter like Captain America's shield and pushed forward. The cat didn't move—well, didn't move backwards, that is. She jumped up in the air like Michael Jordan heading for a slam dunk. This was Nike cat—and it was NOT all about the shoes! (1990s reference for those who are younger than thirty.) This cat arched her back and swiped at the bag of litter. And connected.
The explosion of stinky, urine-soaked cat litter into the living room of the family I was trying to cat sit for was definitely one of the low points of that day. It wasn't the ultimate low point—that would be me yelling and running for the patio door, a trail of sand zig-zagging across the living room and dining room floor. I opened the patio door and threw the bag outside, hoping I would not hit a random neighbour in the face. It was a chance I was willing to take. I prayed that if the authorities found my half-eaten carcass next weekend, they would be able to identify me by my dental work—or come to think of it in hindsight, my car sitting in their driveway (with my license plate). Okay, so I didn't really think that one through.
The devil cat screamed past me and bolted outside. I took a deep breath and peered out across the yard. She was sitting on the fence—literally, not figuratively—she definitely did NOT want to come back inside, so she was sitting on an actual fence. I shut the patio door and she turned and ran away.
I put my cat toy back in the back pack—I wasn't going to be needing that anymore. I wondered about offering a partial refund if the cat never showed up again.
TO BE CONTINUED...