I’ve had cats all of my life. As much as I love dogs, I am a “cat person” or, in less PC terms, I’m a “crazy cat lady.” I’m OK with this. Cats are pretty cool. People seem to have divisive opinions on the subject of cats. They either love them or hate them. I think it’s because cats are either independent or needy. My cat, for instance, likes me when she’s in the mood, and when she is, she demands attention. If she’s not in the mood, I try to steer clear of her, lest I get a swat for my troubles (more about her at a later date).
The cat I sat for recently is a little bit of both. He’s cuddly, he purred almost constantly, and he slept next to me on the bed. However, he also has his own cat door, so he can go in and out as he pleases. Of course, like any good cat, he wanted me to open the human doors whenever I walked by one, regardless of what side of it he was on.
He’s also an especially good hunter. And he likes to share his good fortune. Through some magic I’m not familiar with, he brought chipmunks inside that were perfectly unharmed (if a little shell-shocked). The first morning I was there, I had just gotten out of the shower and he spat one out at my feet. Chasing a chipmunk around in a towel (I had the towel, not the chipmunk) is not the job I signed up to do, but I’m nothing if not flexible. The next morning, I caught one who had just been brought in and was still in the confused stage. When I let him go, he ran toward the door.
The owners of this “Davy Crockett” cat know he likes to hunt, and they provided me with a butterfly net and a Solo cup to catch these poor woodland creatures should they find themselves inadvertently inside. Unfortunately, I’m not as good catching chipmunks as my feline friend is.
The one he plopped at my feet eventually found its way outside by going into a room that had an outside door. A few days later, I found one in a window sill upstairs. He looked as surprised to see me as I was him (or her, I really don’t know, and I’m afraid I didn’t think to ask, so I’m going with “him”).
I chased him around the bedroom for quite some time. I accidentally knocked a screen out of the window. I yelled at him that I wasn’t trying to hurt him, but he either didn’t believe me or didn’t speak English, because he kept running. He finally ran into the bathroom. I shut myself and him in there, so he didn’t have any place to hide, but it didn’t stop him from running back and forth. I think I chased that poor bugger back and forth 16 or so times before I caught him. I accidentally bopped him on the head a couple of times with the net, despite my attempts to be gentle.
I’m happy to report that I did catch him alive and mostly unharmed. I bet he slept well that night; he ran the chippy equivalent of a marathon. When I let him go, he had the good sense to run away from the door, so I think he’ll be OK.
I can honestly say that as many cats as I’ve sat for, owned, or visited, this was an entirely new experience for me. I think I should put it on my resume. I’m not really sure what category it should go under, so maybe I’ll just stick with “Crazy Cat Lady” – that pretty much sums up my experience, or, if it didn’t before these incidents, it does now!
(Sarah Caton owns All Paws Pet Sitting, which serves all of Lincoln County.)