Quick recap: I showed up at the friend's house, the friends' cat freaked out and then the cat ran away. And then I wandered around the friend's house for a half hour, shaking a bag of cat treats. I mean I was wandering around the house. Like outside. I was circling the house like either the world's worst burglar, or maybe one of those super-old people who look for Mr. Pickles, but Mr. Pickles died like 17 years ago and they still think that they punched Hitler in the nose last week. But more importantly than all that... was the cat going to be okay? And more important than even that... would I have to give back any money if the cat never showed up? This is why all cat sitting should have an eight-page contract that is reviewed by a team of notaries.
This had all happened on Sunday. So later that day I texted the friend (who I was thinking was "the client"—as in, "don't get sued by the client"—and I explained that I sort of, um, lost the cat. Apparently this was no great news. This was expected. The cat apparently just needed to "get away" once in a while, and as such would saunter off into the neighbourhood and do whatever wild, feral cats do. I am guessing activities included chasing mice, sitting on a fence and singing with other cats, and possibly playing the accordion—or maybe I am thinking of a Disney movie.
I had trouble sleeping Sunday night, because I kept wondering if the cat was going to come back home. I know what you are thinking—I got up in the middle of the night, got dressed, got in the car, drove the half hour across town and stood outside the house with the ghetto blaster like John Cusack in Say Anything.
"In Your Eyes... Kitty Lies... Kitty come home..."
- Peter Gabriel
Well, big surprise—that didn't happen. I did, however, get up in the middle of the night. Yes, I am that caring. Actually, I just had to take a pee. I drank too much iced tea. It has nothing to do with the story, but I get the feeling that you wanted to know. So, really, shame on you for being so nosy.
Monday: me at work. I was sitting at my desk trying not to think about the crazy cat. I was planning on stopping by after work to put in my contractually-obligated visit, but I also wanted to. Even if it was just to scrape a carcass off the road with a snow shovel, I felt that I owed it that much, after all we had been through together—her hissing, me getting angry and scared... okay so maybe there were memories that just hadn't been made yet.
I left at lunch and swung by the house. No sign of the cat. I opened the door and slowly, carefully tiptoed into the house. I know what you are thinking—why tip toe when the cat was not actually in the house. Well, I can say this: if any cat was mean enough to learn how to jimmy open a patio door with a screwdriver, it was this cat.
I peeked out through the patio door and didn't see anything. Well, it was done then. The cat was gone forever. Could I still bill for two visits? I swung open the patio door to water the plants, thus insuring that the client would have to pay me. After all, I drove all the way over here and checked the mail...
Suddenly, from the shadows, a figure lept up onto the fence. Okay, it was noon so there weren't really "shadows", but there was definitely a scary furry animal on the fence. I stood there, paralyzed with either joy, fear or boredom. Get in the house already. The kitty sauntered back into the house, stopped at my feet to take a swipe and a hiss and then jogged inside to poop in the litter box.
Welcome home, creep! I locked the patio door and got the hell out of there. The rest of the week was uneventful—there was some general hissing in my direction and I let her out once during the week, but I knew that the cat would come back. Well, at least I hoped she would. Well, at least I kind of hoped that she would.
So if you need a cat sitter: I have experience dealing with difficult animals, as long as you are okay with me just letting them out into the neighbourhood and hoping that someday they come back.