Monday, July 2, 2012

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

I hate leaving my cat behind. Back when I had guinea pigs, I hated leaving them behind, too. Pets are capable of only so much reasoning, so when their masters leave and don't come back when they're supposed to, it adds stress to the pet. What makes it worse with Chekhov was that he was abandoned outside of a school in a cat carrier, and then he was schlepped around first to a kill shelter where he was then rescued by a no-kill shelter, and eventually was placed in a foster home. When I got to him, who knows how many homes he had lived in?

His first reaction to our house was casual indifference. He found a place he liked, under my mom's bed, and only came out at night when we were asleep. It took him about three weeks before he started hanging out in our vicinity. He liked the cat tree I got him (seven feet, three platforms, and a "jeffrey's tube" down by the bottom) and would climb and sharpen his claws, but if he wasn't in the tree, he just wasn't in the living room.

Finally, one night, he jumped on my bed and slept on top of me. I think it was because he was cold, but then he did it the next night. And the next night. He started hanging out in my room, but then, that's where the food and litter box was. I had to take him to the vet for a booster shot, and I watched him deflate. All the time I spent with him came apart in the office. We were home for about two hours before he finally realized that we were still together and that I hadn't left him behind. That night, he slept next to me and held my arm in both his paws. I don't know how long he stayed that way, but he was still on the bed in the morning.

In December, I visited my family for a week. I was excited to go since I had only seen pictures of the baby until that point. I hated leaving Chekhov, though. I packed and got everything ready to go. I explained to the pet sitter that he was sort of shy of men, and the pet sitter said he understood and would try to be quiet and not make quick moves. I still worried. Chekhov stood by the door when I left. I leaned down and put my hand under his chin. He looked up at me with his huge green eyes and I said, "I will be back. I will be back."  I have no doubt that I project feelings and emotions onto him, but my goodness cats can look pathetic when they feel like it.

When I got home, he was happy to see me. He rubbed around my legs and gave me his little burrr-purr. Then that night, he came and laid down beside me. I petted him and he put his paw on my hand. And then, very quickly, he shoved his sharp claws into the back of my hand and before I could yell or do anything, he withdrew them and gave my hand a lick. I probably should have gotten mad at him. But I couldn't because I couldn't imagine how he felt while I was gone, and if that was the worst he was going to do (my old cat would ignore me for a whole day before she would even deign to speak to me or let me pet her), we would be okay.

People think cats are really independent and aloof, but they aren't. They're just not in your face like dogs are. They're quieter about their affection.

Ai howldz ur hand nao, k?

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