I can’t begin to count the things people told me about cats which turn out to be rubbish.
Ok, I can begin but the list is endless..
Cats don’t care
Cats are aloof and don’t need people apart from someone to feed them
Only dogs are mans’ best friend – cats aren’t
All wrong. Just back from nine nights away and Leo and Lily gave me the kind of welcome home I’d only expect from close family or my dog. Oh I lied about the ‘endless’ list. Sorry.
It had been a longer-than expected drive back from Heathrow as a couple of roads were closed due to accidents so when we dumped the suitcases in the hallway at midnight – having had a couple of hours sleep in the previous 25 hours, we were more than ready to crash into oblivion.
Leo came miaowing into the kitchen first, obviously telling me all about what had been happening, how Ange from next door had been feeding them both, how they had no bloody idea if we were even coming back.
It was all delivered in an insistent tone. I felt like I was being lectured but I was REALLY tired, so surely a couple of cuddles and half a dozen Dreamies would sort him out?
Yeah right. He went on and on mewing plaintively on the other side of the bedroom door. There was still loads more to say, apparently and I wasn’t sleeping until he’d said it.
The miaowing turned to raspy protests it was impossible to ignore. They were sandpapering my brain. Leo was most definitely taking exception to being shut out within ten minutes of seeing me after I went absent without leave.
There was nothing for it but to let him in. He jumped on to the bed and nestled into the duvet next to me purring at 50 decibels into my hair. I must have gone to sleep because I was woken by the clatter of the catflap and then the sound of Lily mewing all up the stairs. She’d see the suitcases in the hall.
She continued with her “Eh-oh” miaowing until it was reduced to a hoarse “Ew-ew” outside the bedroom door then she started frantically digging into the carpet. She knows I can’t tolerate that because it makes the carpet all fluffy, so I opened the door and she shot past me. It was too dark to see where she went but I realised she was kneading the duvet and purring her almost-silent purr.
She too had to have significant petting before she shut up. As I dropped off to sleep I could still feel the vibrations of her purring.
Today, the morning after the night before, they are less vocal but Leo has been my shadow, following me from room to room.
Ange, who looked after them, was surprised how vocal they were with her. Although they accepted her cuddles, she said she thought they were missing me. She also thought Big Ginge had been around because someone did a poo in the kitchen – she thought Leo – and she could only think it was because he was afraid of going out. Maybe that’s why they kept going on and on when we got home “What were you even thinking of – leaving us on our own to face Big Ginge the Merciless?!”
It’s a pity that cats, like dogs, have no concept of their owners actually coming back.
A dog can get used to a daily routine of absence – and so can a cat. Both species know roughly when to expect their owner back on a regular basis if there is a well-established routine.
Longer absences can’t be understood. When you go away, they think you have gone forever. My first springer spaniel used to stay with mumsie on the very rare occasions we didn’t take him on holiday. He spent most of the time sitting with his ear against the front door…. waiting and waiting.
A friend puts his cats into a cat hotel when he’s away. Maybe that’s a better solution because it takes them right out of the familiar surroundings and familiar habits.
I really didn’t expect to be so missed by my cats. The other planned hols are shorter so they should be able to cope. I might have to send them a postcard…