Squash & Zucchini Aren’t Just Vegetables
Recently a friend asked me to take care of her 2 cats while she and her hubby went away for a week. I immediately said ‘NO’, especially as I have 2 dogs who don’t like cats and I’m not a big fan myself. Then I felt kind of bad, as she’s a good friend, and said ‘I’ll do it – ONLY IF YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY DESPERATE’. Of course she called me at 3pm the day they were flying out with this message..’WE ARE DESPERATE’. So she brings the 2 cats (Zucchini and Squash) over and sets them up in the loft while I’m out walking the dogs so they ‘won’t notice’. Ha. We get home this Sunday at about 5pm and immediately George & Gracie run into the office sniffing and staring up from the bottom of the stairs and start barking. Animals. Too much ‘nose power’.
On top of this I’ve just had the floors refinished and the place is in chaos as it’s also in ‘mid-paint’. Everything is everywhere. So there’s that, 2 dogs and 2 cats, me trying to work. live etc. A nightmare.
Today I thought one of the cats got out and ran away and naturally I was in a complete PANIC. I have no real idea about the nature of cats, what they like, what they do, where they go. I’m sure I heard Stacey say ‘they’re indoor cats’. She did, then added this. ‘They’ll just stay upstairs but…be careful when you go in an out of the doors – JUST IN CASE’. Well, they did not stay upstairs. One of them anyway – Zucchini, the green one (well, blackish/green?). The first night they were here, she comes sauntering into the living room! Well, you can imagine that scene. Dogs jumping/barking/tearing after cat kind of scenario. Tables knocked over, lamps falling on their side etc. Fun. Zucchini disappears into the fray (I’m assuming back upstairs, but who knows – maybe under a bed, in a cupboard, etc). This is Day 1 of taking care of the ‘cats who won’t leave upstairs’ . It’s now Tuesday and I realize I haven’t seen the orange one since they arrived – 2 days ago. I’ve been going upstairs to top up the food/water and clean out the kitty litter and ASSUME they are both up there. Meanwhile, not knowing cat behavior at all, I consulted a few cat ‘experts’ about where a cat might be who isn’t showing itself to me.
They said ‘don’t worry, the cat you haven’t seen for 2 days is probably hiding, they don’t like being moved’. So, I took this sage advice and thought just that. I couldn’t bear the thought of telling Stacey (and Andrew) that I thought one of their little babies did a dash. I was certain I was careful with the doors….or was I? I started replaying every move I made since they arrived in my head. As I’m starting to get somewhat paranoid, I decide to focus on something else and take the dogs for their walk before I have to go to work tonight. As we exit the back door, there’s an orange cat, just like Squash, sitting on the back gate. Our eyes meet. I thought, ‘Oh NO…this is Squash – the missing orange cat who I haven’t seen for 2 days’. He wasn’t hiding, he had escaped!!! As I slowly approach the gate, he takes off – up onto the roof and then…gone. I came running back into the house where Chris was painting; ‘Chris, I think I just found the orange cat, Squash, and it jumped onto the roof and out of sight’. He said…’Uh oh. Indoor cats going outside – looks like he’s gone for good’. Thanks Chris. But, neither of us could think how the cat got out. Immediately I go upstairs to the loft tearing the place apart and calling out ‘Squash’ in a high pitched stressed out voice – not exactly calming and endearing to a cat who doesn’t want to be here to start with. I am crazed though, as I’m thinking of the real possibility that I’ll have to tell my friends their cat is ‘gone…forever’.
Anyway, it’s now 5:30. I have to go to work. I have offers on my listing tonight so while all this is taking place, my phone is ringing off the hook with agents/questions/the office etc. A typical offer night in this busy market. In between all this chaos with the offer, I’m now rehearsing my speech – the ‘How to Tell Your Friends One of their Beloved Pets Is Gone Forever’ type. I’m imagining us face to face, me telling them their pet of 8 years is history. I’m now driving to the townhouse but my mind is on the ‘speech’. I have 3 near accidents on the way. I can’t even think about how happy my clients will be when they find out there are 4 offers on their property. I’m picturing the argument with Stacey and the dialogue – how ‘irresponsible I was’ or me saying ‘but you knew I didn’t want to take care of your cats’ fight, and then the end of our friendship. Meanwhile, I shift my focus to my clients. They get 4 great offers and decide on the one that will set a record in the townhouse complex for the highest sale ever. Beers and congratulations all round. As I’m toasting the sale, I’m REALLY picturing the memorial for Squash and decide I have to go home and email Stacey with the bad news.
I get back here, see my precious doggies, take them for their nightly walk and decide I’d better go upstairs and see Zucchini, who will now be all alone for the rest of her life…. I creep up the steps to the loft so the dogs don’t hear me and pray – one step at a time – that by some miracle, the cat has come back through the chimney (even though I have a gas fireplace so I’m REALLY grasping at straws here) and reach the top step. I have treats in my hand of course. And, miracle of miracles – they are BOTH sitting on the bed!!!
I literally jump for joy teetering on the top step of my shaky loft staircase and come running down the stairs twirling into the kitchen. I can’t believe my luck. I actually felt sick with relief. Clearly the orange cat outside was just a very freaky coincidence – having never seen one in the seven years I’ve lived here. I decide it’s a message from above. Not exactly sure what I’m being told but a message of some kind.
Then I turn around to hug the dogs (who had to experience my crazed erratic behaviour all day) and as I go to hug Gracie, she pukes all over the newly refinished floors. I gleefully clean it up singing as I do so…
Funny how things can seem so trivial compared to telling a friend you lost her pet.
I’ve decided now that I’m going take a month long trip to somewhere exotic and Zen-like to regain the 3 years I lost today fretting about that damned cat. And I know the perfect couple who can babysit the doggies..