SodaBoy and I are cat people--we have always had cats. We easily make friends with unknown kitties, sometimes surprising their human companions, who had expected their shy cat to hide from our intruding presence. We make friends with cats wherever we travel. I still remember the names of cats we befriended on a vacation to California in 1999 or 2000: Peppermint in Scotia, and Seymour in Port Costa; I can't remember what year we took the trip, but I clearly recall the names of the kitties.
One convenience of cats as pets versus dogs is their independence. Certainly when taking "real" trips, like the one to California, arrangements must be made. For that trip, Meshoe stayed with my grandmother. On other trips, our friend P. stayed at the apartment, looking after Meshoe and Elijah both. But for weekend jaunts, our cats have always been able to fend for themselves with little more than a fresh litter box, bowls heaped with dry food, and a multitude of water bowls perchance one should be spilled.
However, with Rhea and Reemsy, things have been different. Initially it was their tiny helplessness that caused us to dump them on my parents for a long weekend of camping, their need for constant medication. Even after they shook off the parasites and accompanying meds, there were issues with Rhea eating properly. She tricked us for a while, crunching away and appearing to eat the dry food, but when you got up close and watched her, most of it was falling right back out of her mouth. We had to start feeding her canned food, and of course you can't set out big bowls of that and take off for the weekend, so our friend M. came and stayed at the house when we visited SodaBoy's parents at Thanksgiving.
Since then, I have transitioned away from canned food (ugh) and I put warm water in dry food to make it easier for Rhea to eat. She loves the gravy train, but it does nothing for the goal of regaining our weekend independence, since someone has to be here to moisten it for her twice a day. SodaBoy insists she is eating dry dry food now, as snacks in between squishified helpings. So for our trip this past weekend, we thought perhaps we could get away with asking my sister to drop in a few times and dole out some soft food for Rhea just in case. Rhea and the eating situation turned out just fine.
It was Beemsy who caused the problem. I had closed all the windows in the house, for security and in case of rain, except one upstairs that the cats love to sit in and sniff the breeze. Sis came Thursday after work and all was well. When she returned Friday evening, however, there was only one cat. Beemsy had vanished. Sis tore the house apart looking for the cat, to no avail. She finally discovered the screen had been torn out in that one open window. Beemsy had literally jumped ship.
We have no cell phones, so enjoyed our weekend with no knowledge of the missing cat. When we arrived home, we immediately noticed the lack of the Beems, and quickly figured out she had escaped by the bowls of food and water placed on the screened in back porch. Beemsy returned to SodaBoy's worried whistle within fifteen minutes, a little wilder perhaps, but unharmed.
But my poor sister! I feel terrible about the worry she went through, she and the friend who stayed at Thanksgiving both, as M. was enlisted in a fruitless search party on Saturday. After the trauma, I am not sure I could ever ask either of them to look after our silly cats again. Obviously I learned never to leave a window open in our absence, but nothing else good came from the great escape.
These cats are trouble.