Recommended wine for today’s entry: Catena chardonnay from Argentina. “Medium-bodied, the wine is nicely balanced by crisp acidity, and the flavors are intense and persistent. Drink this outstanding value over the next 1-2 years.” – Wine Advocate, 90 points. AND it has Cat in its name …
Our long-time housesitter, Stephanie, who is WONDERFUL, is getting married next month and I’m distraught. I mean, I’m happy for her — but I’m afraid I’ll never vacation again. I have devised a pet care sheet in case anyone is interested. It’s a glam job.
Dogs: Tate, the large golden retriever mix, very low-key, personable. He won’t chase a Frisbee or a ball, but he loves soft, furry babies that squeak. His father says he’s a sissy, but that’s clearly not true because he will plant his snout in a girls’ crotch as soon as he meets her. A true ladies’ man. But if it storms, he has to sleep in bed with you and use your pillow. You will need to rub his stomach and tell him he’s “special” over and over again, until the thunder stops.
Bella, the black lab. She will play Frisbee or softball all day and night, but if you scare her, you’ll have to spend a few hours coaxing her out of the bedroom. Things that might startle her include, but aren’t limited to, clearing your throat, moving your foot fast, snapping open the newspaper or holding a shoe in your hand. And remember to pick up your bras – there was an ugly episode involving an X-ray and a hook-and-eye extraction with a former housesitter.
Cats: Meghan, the buff-and-white kitty who lives on the kitchen counter. She’s the one who pukes every time she eats, and it’s often difficult to see it on the mottled granite. So you’ll need to get at eye level with the counter and look; this works best in morning sunlight. Otherwise, you’ll put your plate in it when you make dinner and then put your plate in your lap, and, well, you get the picture. To supplement her diet, we give her a doughnut every day. You have to break it up into tiny pieces but each piece must have some glaze.
Huckleberry, the grey tabby. She’s almost normal. She does gallop through the upstairs, sounding like a large man walking. It’s OK, she’s just looking for another cat to get into a fight with.
Blackie: She’s the cross-eyed black one who is pretty much deaf and blind. If she doesn’t come for breakfast, carry the bowl of smelly food to her and put it under her nose. Then she’ll follow you to the dining room.
Blackie baby: She’s the short-haired black one with a little bit of white on her chest. She’s afraid of everyone and especially of Huckleberry. You may or may not see her. If you don’t smell anything decomposing, she’s alive and well somewhere.
Brownie: The torti, brown and black. She has a blond ring around her tail because her mother was a tramp and made it with two guys the same night. She may jump in your lap when you watch TV. Once she discovers that you’re not me, she’ll dig her claws into you. Watch your neck – it looks like hickeys the next day. There’s Neosporin in the master bathroom.
Chrissie: If you don’t get up at like 5 a.m. to feed her, she’ll start pulling her hair out. I’m not advocating you get up that early, but don’t panic when you see enough cat hair to stuff a sofa on the floor next to the bed. (It can be disconcerting.) She’s fine – she’s the long-haired black cat with the gaping bald spots. And she usually has a wad of hair stuck to her lip so she looks like Charlie Chaplin.
The outside cats, Leroy (the girl) and Anastasia (the boy) just need food and water. They may bring you a bird, a squirrel or a chipmunk. The latter two are pretty good eatin’, just clean the grill when you’re done. As I may have mentioned, if the cats eat their treasures themselves, they often leave a slippery wad of spleen on the garage floor that feels pretty gross on your bare feet. Alert anyone who may come to visit.
Food and meds: The cats are easy. Three of them (Blackie, Baby and Brownie) will automatically go to the dining room table – that’s where they eat. Blackie gets a pill mixed into her food because she’s prone to bladder infections.
The other three, Meghan, Huckleberry and Chrissie eat on the kitchen counter. Meghan only gets a tiny bit (the barf thing) and Huckleberry only likes the juice, so tilt the Fancy Feast can sideways and drip all of it in her bowl. Chrissie eats the rest, that is, if she’s not full from ingesting her own hair.
Tate and Bella eat twice a day. Tate, because he’s special, likes a little splash of milk with his dry food and we give it to Bella too, because she starts pouting and saying, “no fair.” She plays the race card too. So just give her milk.
Tate gets a pill in the morning and evening or else his larynx will freeze and he can hardly talk at all. Bella takes Benadryl in the morning and evening because she has allergies and when she sneezes she bashes her snout on the hardwood and snot flies everywhere.
That’s it. Let me know if you’d like to be considered for this coveted position.
And my husband asks why we pay more than most people.