Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pet sitter mystery: finding the cat

This week I covered a pet sit for a fellow pet sitter, Nancy, who dared to go on vacation in the summertime. The four kitties in my care were an easy assignment except for one little detail. CJ was missing!

Nancy told me that Marcelle used to be very aloof, but he spent the entire week stomping around on my lap, my shoulder, my head and any other place he could think of to get near me. Napping and purring on my lap were his favorite things, so we watched the Home Shopping Channel together (more on that later…). Meanwhile, Squeaky and Daisy looked out the front door.

By the third day I was getting worried. What if CJ had gotten out? I couldn’t imagine how that would happen, but I couldn’t find him either. The house was small and full of stuff. There wasn’t room to hide under the bed or in a closet. I made sure he hadn’t gotten closed in the garage or the daughter’s bedroom.

One day as I was leaving, a neighbor’s tabby was playing in their front yard. What if this was CJ? I’d only see him on the meet and greet visit, I couldn’t remember what he looked like, except my notes said he had a crooked, striped tail. The cat ignored my calls, so I prayed this wasn’t him.

A few days later, as I drove in the driveway, I saw a striped tail disappearing out of the front window. By the time I got in the house, he was nowhere to be seen. Was this the missing CJ? Squeaky followed me on my litterbox cleaning route, meowing and playing and asking to be petted. “Where the hell is your buddy?,” I asked him.

I finally called Nancy. I didn’t want to call the client, since there wasn’t much she could do from Hawaii, and I didn’t want to raise false alarms. “Oh, he’s there,” said Nancy, “It took him almost a year to come out when I started taking care of him.” I was relieved, but still worried.

I always do a head count when I visit cats. Sometimes I am just counting lumps under the bedspread, or poking around a hole in the bottom of a mattress, but I want to be sure I see everyone at least once!

When the client got home, she said the first cat she saw was CJ, slinking off to the back bedroom, undoubtedly afraid I was arriving again… whew.

TV shows for kitties
I mentioned the Home Shopping Channel. I never watch it at home, but when I am pet sitting and want to leave the TV on, I can be comfortable there will be no gunshots, violence, fireworks or other scary sounds to scare the animals.

I learned this from a bulldog owner. The sounds of the TV drown out outside noises that might make the pets anxious, and also make the place feel more like home even though the owners are gone. 

Bookmark and Share
© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.


Arlene said...

I often ask the owners if there are any hiding places. The last time I sat for one client they had just put down one of their three cats. One of the cats stayed in his safe place in the basement most of the time. I even had to take his food down to him.

One client always puts the Food Channel on when leaving their dog alone because they know there will be no dogs on that channel that would cause her to bark.

Mina said...

I had a fright when I couldn't find a cat, little minx was hiding on top of the wardrobe! I always ask for hiding places as well, but they seem to invent new ones just for me!

I ask for or take photos at the meet and greet - since the time the owners of an outdoor cat came home and found a strange cat in the kitchen eating their cat's dinner. I'm still not sure to this day which cat I was making a fuss of...

Terry Albert said...

OMG that is too funny-- I never thought of taking a photo of the cats so you'd know if you had the right ones! Good idea.

Lynda said...

Good Idea! Photo' funny......