On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 28, 2017:

Cat in suitcaseDavid and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Louisiana with his family. Kitty is much more socialized than she used to be, but we trust her more in familiar surroundings than in the homes of strangers. Consequently, she spent four days and nights at home alone.

She didn’t seem to mind too much, but she’s always curious when we pull out the luggage. She climbed into David’s suitcase, and when he ran her out, she lay down on the open lid of mine. Once all the cases were packed and zipped, she lost interest and went to take a nap.

Just before we left, David scooped out her litter box one last time, and she’s always extremely interested in that process.  She watched closely to make sure he did it right, then jumped in to rearrange the litter to her satisfaction. Her interest was really piqued, though, when we put out two extra bowls of water followed by food – lots of food. She normally eats a third of a cup of dry food twice a day, so we put out her regular ration plus a little in case our return was delayed for some reason. When David set the bowls on her mat, she stood there almost vibrating with excitement, not sure what to sample first.

Before she could decide, we began loading the car, so she switched her attention to thecat at the door front door, hoping it might be left ajar just enough for her to dash outside. When that didn’t happen, she lost interest altogether, and by the time we left, she was napping in her Kitty condo.

Our trip east was uneventful except for the expected traffic. Over the next few days, we visited with friends and family, ate a lot of food, and watched a lot of football. We talked and laughed a lot, relaxed a lot, and shopped a little bit, but we didn’t do anything unusual. The last night, however, Peanut and Trixie proved beyond a doubt that Louisiana pets are just as spoiled as Texas pets.

Peanut and Trixie are tiny Chihuahuas whose combined weight may equal a pound or two more than Kitty. They belong to Debra, David’s younger sister – but as with Kitty, it’s hard to tell who owns whom. The pups are fond Jesse, Debra’s husband, but she is their real security blanket. If she is out of their sight, they become a little frantic, and regardless of where they are when she sits down, before she is settled, they are in her lap.

Saturday night Jesse went to the LA Tech game, but the rest of us opted to stay home in front of the fire and the TV. Since Jesse’s recliner was unoccupied, Debra sat there, and the two furries joined her. Trixie stretched out between her knees, and Peanut lay down on her thigh with his back against Trixie and his legs straight out to the side.

This worked fine until Trixie decided to go for a snack. With his backrest gone, Peanut stood up for a stretch, and Debra crossed her legs at the ankle. Apparently, that was not allowed. Peanut went into a frenzy, butting Debra’s leg with his head, then spinning in circles on the arm of the chair before butting her leg again. “He hates it when I cross my legs,” Debra explained. Obviously! Finally, Trixie finished her snack and returned, Debra uncrossed her legs, and peace was restored.

By Sunday, we were missing our own spoiled pet, and we began to speculate as to how big a mess she might have made and whether she would be mad at us when we got home. After church and lunch with the family, we packed the car and headed for home to find out.

I was surprised that, as we carried the bags onto the porch, Kitty didn’t appear in the window as she usually does when we come home. David guessed that she was sitting in front of the door, waiting for it to open, and he was right. She made a couple of half-hearted attempts to run for it, and her attitude was a combination of studied nonchalance and excitement, but she warmed up quickly. She inspected our luggage as we unpacked, and the first time David sat down, she sat with him – not exactly in his lap but with her backside on his leg and her front half on the couch.

She had knocked a couple of papers off the coffee table, but other than that, we didn’t find any messes. The one surprise was that she ate every bite of her food. I don’t think she finished it until the last day, though, because she ignored her supper until we sat down to eat. Still, like David and me, I think she may have added a pound or two over the holiday. I guess it’s not only the pets that are spoiled.




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