Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Carol and I spent the weekend in Denver attending her high school class reunion. I won't tell you which year her class graduated, just assume that it was a while ago. We had a lovely time talking to some old friends and getting re-acquainted with some of her classmates whom she hadn't seen for a great many years. We also spent some time with my family, most of whom live somewhere relatively near Denver. For me, the best part of traveling is getting back home where my bed, my desk, my kitchen, my cars and my cats wait for me.
We have the perfect cat-care arrangement with our friend, Stephanie, who lives in the house at the back of the property. She takes care of our three while we're gone and we do the same for her two when she goes away. As I said, it's the perfect arrangement. We know that our kitties will be well cared for while we're away so we can relax and enjoy our trip.
On Friday night, the first reunion event was a casual mixer at the Lakewood Elks Club. At one point during the evening, I was showing off some of the cat pictures I had brought along to one of Carol's classmates and explaining how we had ended up with Ebony, our hand-me-down cat. As I related how he was adapting to life with the much younger Quint and Hedge, I heard from over my shoulder, "We couldn't help overhearing your story. We're cat people and we are just about to introduce a five-year-old cat to our already cat-full home and were wondering if you had any advice on how to go about it?" Of course, I'm always ready to talk about my cats to whomever will listen and I have more than once successfully introduced new cats into my own cat family, so I explained to them my successful method. I also recommended that they read Warren Eckstein's book, "How to Get Your Cat to do What You Want," which has some great advice on the subject. I told them that what I have done and what Eckstein recommends is to put the new cat into a room where you can close the door between the new guy and the cats who already live in the house. Let them sniff each other under the door for a while, maybe a month or so, and then gradually let them come into contact with each other in your presence so you can break up any major fights should such a thing occur. Or, I told them, you can do it the way I just did with Ebony and just throw them all together and hope for the best. The only reason throwing them all together worked this time is because Quint and Hedge are so good-natured. They are perfectly willing to share their house with another cat, if that's what we ask of them. If you don't have the Quintessential Cat and his pal, Hedge, at your house, you might be well advised to go with the more gradual method.
What people would ask me what I did for a living, I told them I was a writer. Oh, they would ask, and what do you write about? Well, mostly I write about my cat, I would say. Oh, really? Most people just laugh and start to move away at that point, and then I say, "And my cars."
"Oh, and what kind of cars do you have?"
"I had a VW Beetle when I was in college . . . . ."
Everybody had a VW Beetle, or knew someone who had one. I'm one of the few people who still has a few, well, three, to be exact. Since, I didn't go to high school with any of the people I met, we could talk about cats and old Volkswagens.
The same subjects got me through the afternoon with my family. Between those and stories about my new acting career, I have enough material to get me through nearly any social event. If I have an attentive audience I can tell the story of the Cat Named Room 8, or Ebony's latest trip the vet, or how I built my dune buggy, or how Quint and Hedge came into our lives. I'm discovering that I have a whole lifetime of stories I can tell, some are rather interesting, like the time I got lost on the canoe trip, or how I lost my left eye. I might have to start another blog just so I have a place to tell those stories.
Quint and Ebony were happy to see us when we came through the front door after our brief trip to the Mile High City. Hedge was a little nervous, but he soon realized that it was us and not some strangers moving in and he's back to normal now. Stephanie continued with Ebony's new trans-dermal medication while we were gone and I see a bit of improvement in Ebony. He seems less distracted, less frantic, and a bit more aware of his environment. I didn't ask her to apply the anti-biotic gel to his gums, you really ought to know what you're doing before you put your finger into a cat's mouth. It's easy to get yourself pinched by accident. I've resumed the treatments since we returned and I think he's liking the gel. I imagine it soothes his raging gums a bit and that's got to be a relief.
I'm glad to be back home with the boys. We'll be cat-sitting for Stephanie for a few days this week, so I'll be spending time with Tiki and Ginger in the evenings, as well as with my boys. Looking back over the weekend, I survived the airplane flight, got to talk about my cats and my cars, got to see my family and some old friends, and got to spend some time with Carol, so, all-in-all, a successful trip with only good things to report. That's just the way I like it.