For the first time since adopting our cat 18 months ago, we needed to go out of town. We placed our two dogs in a crate-free kennel and flew away, leaving Waldo in the care of a pet sitter. I realized not long before we left that Waldo had not been left alone–with neither dogs nor people–for any longer than four hours since coming to us from the Virginia Beach SPCA.
My anthropomorphic tendencies went into overdrive. I feared he would think we had deserted him like his previous family had done and that he’d never see us again. I worried he wouldn’t eat or that he’d sit in the dining room window continuously crying, as he does when my husband takes the dogs out for their dinner time walk. (If I’m in another room and call to him, Waldo comes running and stays until they return.)
Despite being a cat with his typical high-level of independence–except at dinner time–I have applied to him not only human characteristics, but also those of a dog. We had lived with only dogs for so long, it just happened. Thus, I presume a level of neediness akin to a dog rather than to a cat. (Although, we’ve never had a problem with the dogs wanting to drink out of the toilet, we do with this cat.)
Therefore, because Waldo sleeps in our bed at night, I wanted to have someone stay at the house to sleep with him, to lessen the trauma I just knew he would suffer by our being gone. I gratefully received my daily text messages from Judy, with her notes and pictures of Waldo doing his normal things. I was still concerned about him, but did feel better.
Once home, though, I learned Judy had needed to go hunting for Waldo in the middle of the night. He had retreated to his own bed in our closet and was sound asleep–all by himself.
I should have known better…
[This first appeared as the “Editor’s Notes” in the February/March 2012 issue of Pet Tails.]