Saturday, December 25, 2004

Gone for 17 hours and 45 minutes

Last night was the first night the boys have spent alone since we adopted them. I know that a lot of people leave their cats alone for days at a time and the cats are no worse for wear, but I really didn't want to leave my boys overnight.

I was raised Jewish, but my fiancee Liz's family is Catholic and so we all celebrate Christmas together at her parents' house, which is about an hour and a half ride by train. Since we adopted the boys, Liz has visited her parents a few times and stayed overnight, but I always stayed home to keep on eye on them.

Because last night was Christmas eve, Liz really wanted me to stay over at her parents' house and wake up and open the presents with everyone on Christmas morning. This is something we do every year, but this year I didn't want to stay overnight, because I was worried about the boys. I agreed to stay overnight if Liz would take me to the train immediately after we opened presents so I could rush home and check on the boys.

I left the house around 5:30 pm last night and for the next 17 hours and 45 minutes, I had a great time but I kept worrying about the boys. Were they feeling lonely? Were they going to be messed up by getting their evening feeding early and their morning feeding late. Were they going to wolf down the dry food I left out for them and vomit? Would they get bored and chew an electrical cord?

Perhaps my greatest fear was the most selfish. I was afraid that the boys would forget about me and treat me like a stranger when I got home.

When my train finally arrived at Penn Station at 11:00 am, I walked briskly up the escaltor, hailed a cab and headed for home. When the cab let me off, I ran across the street to my apartment building, almost getting hit by at least one car. When I finally got home, I opened the door to see something like this:

The boys were curled up in their favorite perches, Arthur on top of my laser printer and Beowulf by the window. Since I've gotten home they have shown some interest in me, but not as much as I would like. They have eaten their food and become extremely rambunctious, wrestling with each other and batting at the dangling mouse and dangling ball toys I offered them.

Are they mad at me? Did they forget about me? I don't think they forgot about me, but they aren't in an affectionate mood right now. It's hard to see if that's because they're miffed at me or if they're just too rambunctious to be affectionate. Right now, I'm just glad they're ok, but I do feel guilty for leaving them alone.


ALPHACAT said...


Happy "Jewish" Holiday Avram.

I just became aware of Franny Syufy's web page in searching the web the other day for some high quality cat food for my four cats.

You are quite a Jewish Mother. I'm sure your kitties are already spoiled beyond repair, as we all do to them.

I'm single and 60 and adopted my first two kittens at age 50 (I've had dogs, birds, and cats before, but it's somehow different now at this stage in my life).

These guys are my children, and my WANTED family members!

My first two cats Miss Kitty and Gunsmoke are gone now. Gunsmoke disappeared in Helena Montana while we were traveling (some cretin killed him for jumping on his truck is the best I could find out after 12 days of searching).

Miss kitty got mauled by a dog and died after a vet waited too long to initiate her surgery.

My suggestion to anyone with a severely injured cat, as much as we love them quite literally "to death" (and I am over the top in love with my kitties)is that if the situation looks too severe, just put them down so they don't have to suffer. The cost, anquish, and final loss is bad enough. But to see them suffer is just too much pain for them and for me. And I would do ANYTHING for my babies.

I plan on having ALL MY KITTIES cremated and have their ashes mixed with mine when I expire, and only hope that if there is a heaven, that it is ONLY populated by CATS (especially mine)!

As for your somewhat neurotic worrying over your kitties while you're away, DON'T WORRY!!!!

They are happy as hell that you are NOT doting on them constantly.

How do you like being smothered with love EVERY MOMENT? Ooops, I forgot you're Jewish.....nevermind.

My cats: Dillinger (John), Baby Face (Nelson), Tuffy (he couldn't be named anything else), and Black Cat (he's a black cat and I ain't gonna call him Midnite) are the most spoiled with love cats on this planet.

I let them be cats.

We live in a trailer in Athol, (North) Idaho but travel when we can (in the country...I don't let them loose in cities) and I let them discover the world right along with me.

The cat door is ALWAYS OPEN unless I perceive dangeris in the area (or it's just too damn cold, like sub zero. My guys LOVE to play in the snow!) It doesn't seem to bother them at all. Tuffy sits on top of the trailer at night and stares at the moon when it's in the 20's!!

They follow me everywhere like I'm the Pied Piper (but I NEVER slip and think that they are doing what I WANT THEM TO DO!

They are doing what THEY WANT TO DO!




The best thing you can do in your relationship with your kitties is handle them a lot (spinal rubs and scratching around the ears and under the chin is the best bonding behavior).

My Tuffy is as independent as they come, but, as if on schedule, WHEN HE WANTS TO, he jumps on my lap, lays across my thighs, and simply waits for me to give me his spinal massage.

Wouldn't you do that too if you had someone who was as big a sap as I am who would give you a massage on demand?

Every cat has its OWN PERSONALITY (much the same as people, but far more delightful and predictable).

Enjoy each kitty for who he/she is and revel in the joy that their antics will create for you, especially when you might be at a low point in your day.

I consider my cats as vital to my physical and mental health as food, water and vitamins.

So lighten up on your "Jewish Mothering" of your babies. They're probably already far more mature than you are chronologically.

You are already their "human can-opener," so anything else you do for them is cream in their coffee!

Good have finally found the only TRUE RELATIONSHIP(s) you will ever have in this life time.

Athol, Idaho

Shirlie said...

Avram, all I can say is, thank goodness you weren't gone for 17 hours and 46 minutes! ;)

Amy said...

Avram -

To give you some peace of mind, find a good pet sitter to check in on the boys when you're away from home (probably not necessary just for one night though). I don't know of any in New York, but your vet or an animal shelter may be able to give you some referrals.

I travel for business, so having a pet sitter gives me a lot of peace of mind when I'm away. I used neighbor kids prior to getting an 'official' sitter, but they weren't always as reliable as I would have liked and I was concerned about whether or not Tigger would get medical care should he need it while I was away. He did get a nasty bladder infection during one trip because the kids didn't give him any water and if I had been away any longer I probably would have lost him. My sitter is insured and will take pets to the vet should they get sick while you're away. Besides giving pets an extra dose of attention and playtime, they will often also bring in the mail, turn lights on and off, etc. to make it look like you're still home. should he get sick while I was away.

Avram said...

If we had been gone for more than a night, I would have definitely asked my mother to drop by and look in on the boys. Since it's an hour drive for her to do that, I figured it wouldn't really help in this case. If we go on a real vacation someday (like our honeymoon, planned after our wedding, sometime in 2006), we will get someone to come and house/cat sit.

Anonymous said...

Dear Avram,

I understand your concern(s). I, too, am a neurotic worrier, but the habit has hurt me enough sufficiently to take a step back and learn to identify just what's going on.

For me, I do not want to lose the security I feel I have in my cat. She is *special*, unique, and completely loving. I personalize that she's mad when she's just being a cat. I worry incessantly-- it's hurt my brain, to be frank.

Worrying and obsessing has robbed me of my time and energy, and of good times! I hear you went home early to be with the boys. Unless you are using that as a legitimate excuse not to spend time with the fiancee's/wife's family, it's really not necessary to leave.

LOVED THE PHOTO that you showed upon coming home. (Or something like it.) It's that "What was all the fuss about?" kind of look.

Thank you for helping me know that I'm not the only neurotic worrier out there. I am hoping that you and I can get some relief from the incessant barrage of mental abuse that we've heaped upon ourselves all our years.

Life is short. It's time to LEARN FROM OUR CATS-- RELAX AND HAVE FUN!!!