07 December 2007

When you are away

I stumbled across this on the way of cats via the site for National Blog Posting Month.* And while I'm not so sure that these suggestions necessarily apply to Pekoe, they do seem to apply to me.

Well, mostly. I really have no desire to smell your luggage. None at all.

Of course, I am XX, so I really like wearing clothes belonging to my male friends. Sleeping in a guy's sweatshirt? Bliss. Happy were the days when I could fit into Chort's jeans. Also long gone, alas.

But that last paragraph? About being low maintenance but not no maintenance? That could have been written about me.

When We Are Away

When we have to be away for a while, from a short overnight trip to a long vacation, we might wonder if the cat will miss us.

Yes, they will.

This is where the cat's excellent sense of time and grasp of routine works against them. They know we are supposed to be home, and we are not. Being cats, they are going to think the worst.

Whatever plans we make to take care of their needs while we are gone, we should try to make them as reassured as possible.


* Talk about the fact that we are going away, but we will be back. This will alert them that a change is coming, and we know about it, and are thinking of them.
* Discuss the changes to the routine that will occur while we are gone. If we are getting a pet sitter, have them come over and be introduced. Involve the cat in the preparations.
* I use visual aids when I'll be away. I let them smell the suitcases and watch me pack. I explain I can't take them with me. When I was away for a week, I held Mr. Bond up to the calendar, and showed him, with his paw, that I'd be gone this day and this day and this day, but This Day, I'd be back.


* If we can, call home and let the cat listen to our voice on the phone. At least they will know we still exist, somewhere. We can leave a message for them on the answering machine.
* Wear an old shirt which we don't wash before we leave. Put it on the cat's favorite sleeping area so we have a presence at home.
* Keep a soft toy in reserve which we have rubbed on our hair and the nape of our neck. Have the caretaker present it to the cat at some point and tell them we'll be home soon.


* The cat may greet us joyously when we reappear. Or, they may not. We might get the turned back so we know they were hurt by our absence. Mr. Bond has been known to keep this up for almost ten minutes.
* A cat like Puffy has a different reaction. He bounces over to get in my lap, and then he remembers I was gone. But I'm here now, so he gets over it quickly.
* Of course we are glad to see them, no matter how they react at first. Let them know we missed them and hated to be away.

Don't be fooled by the cat's low maintenance reputation. This only makes it easy to take care of their physical needs. Their emotional needs are deep and lasting, and not as easy to address, even with a temporary caregiver they know and like. If we do our best to let them know we also missed them while we are away, it gives them a pattern that will reassure them the next time.

We want to come back, and we will.

*I did okay. I posted more than 30 times during November but missed two days, once because my dsl was out. Overall, however, I was pleased as I use NaBloPoMo to apply some external discipline to posting. Otherwise, I would have to send myself e-mails with "Dude. Update." as the subject.

No comments: