Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dear Tabby,

I desperately need your help. My humans have gone off and left me in the care of a complete stranger. I am beside myself; this is totally unacceptable to someone in my position. What the hairball is going on?!! How can I undo this Catastrophe?

Signed, Princess

Dear Princess,

This is a job for Tabby– I will save the day! That stranger, the pet sitter (PS for short), should come equipped with the necessary credentials to keep you in the manner you are accustomed to. It is critical that your routine be disrupted as little as possible, for emotional stress is just not easy to withstand for even the toughest of kitties.

Your humans, sensitive to your delicate constitution, will have left PS with your regular food, and maybe some extra yummy treats and toys to occupy your otherwise idle days. A good human may leave the bed unmade, or at least a pair of used pajamas on the bed so that you may rest in luxury with the soft scent of those you love about you.

If PS is properly trained, your humans have told her where your favorite hiding spots are, so that she can leave some treats, and MAYBE even some catnip for you to enjoy at your leisure, after she is gone.

It is mandatory that PS spends some quality time with you. It will do you no good to hide and sulk behind the washing machine, for she will only tear the house apart looking for you; besides, how can you instruct her in proper cat care if she can’t find you? Since your humans are gone, you must shoulder this burden. You must supervise her to assure that your litter box is spotless, your food bowls clean and full, and the water dish refilled with fresh water. You will not tolerate ants in you dining area, and PS is responsible for disposing of them.

In order to make this daily visit truly a happy hour to remember, start by tripping her as she comes in. A quick dash out the door is not in your best interest, as you might get stuck out in the rain. But give it a good fake-out to get her heartbeat up to a satisfactory rate.

Be a good hostess: plan ahead so she will enjoy her visit. Dig up some plants and knock over a lamp or two so she doesn’t get bored. Nothing is off limits except spraying; you don’t want to get evicted from your palace when the humans finally return.

When your humans come home

Don’t make a fuss over your people when they return. Meet them at the door, but howl, scream, and roll on the ground in agony. They will be consumed with guilt, which is good for at least a week of anchovy treats. Knead a nest in their laps; walk across their heads as they sleep. They missed all this attention while they were gone.

Then ignore them. Turn up your nose at dinner and walk away, proud tail high in the air. They will double their efforts to please you.

It does no good to slobber and fawn over these people. Look where it got the dog. He’s been in a kennel the past two weeks!

Signed,

Tabby

© 2009 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

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