A Short Skirt And A Long Jacket

Dear Catsitter:

Thank you for moving into our house temporarily to provide company and services to our feline friends. You’ve met them. That’s hunky-dory. Their schedule:

6:30-7 a.m. Fill bowls with dry food. Topaz’s bowl goes on the table next to her water. Drusy sometimes eats out of this bowl, but if you see Sweetpea there, please discourage her. Sweetpea will guard the other bowl, so if you see Drusy nudged away from the bowl, please give her a small handful of dry food anywhere she happens to be standing and issuing orders. The water bowls will need cleaning and refilling.

7:30 Give the outside cats 1 pint of dry food. They never tip. Count indoor cats.

Afternoon: Scoop the cat boxes. In the place I pointed out, you will find protest poop. It’s nothing personal. Disinfectant tools sit right next to the location where you will find the protest poop.

Dinnertime: You eat. You tidy up. Then you divide a can of cat food in thirds, place these bowls where the cats can get at them. Count your fingers.

Evening: The cats will tell you all about the boys in their French classes. At least in the beginning, Topaz will refuse to talk about anything and say, “You wouldn’t understand” about everything. She’ll come around.

Bedtime: Place dry food bowls on top of the fridge. Give each cat a small handful of treats.

Because of the bowl-guarding, the recent pancreatitis and Topaz’s oral infection, we have to watch each of the cats eat every day. In the morning, we watch Sweetpea. At dinnertime, we watch Topaz and at bedtime, we watch Drusy.

Cat yak is a normal occurrence. Puddles of yellow or green cat yak constitute an emergency. If you find puddles of yellow or green cat yak, please call the vet, stuff Sweetpea into a cat carrier and convey her immediately to the vet’s office.

Our housemate/tenant is extremely employed. If he’s sleeping, please make every effort to let him sleep.

On a fairly regular basis, please count cats. Please be very, very careful when entering and leaving the house. Do not be surprised if Topaz shouts, “PAPILLON!” and takes a flying leap at the door, especially in the kitchen. On two occasions, she’s ducked out under my feet, so even having too many things in your hands can cause unintended, time-consuming and unnerving cat drama. Likewise, please do not let the cats get into the basement. It contains many sharp things and chemical stuffs and rotating devices, which sounds like DisneyWorld but is in fact just as dangerous.

Our neighbor/tenant is a crazy person. She will not speak to you. In an emergency, you can shout her name and the emergency at her open kitchen door and she will act quickly, but there will be no aprés-emergency pitcher of margaritas unless you make it yourself and drink that. I don’t recommend it.

Please do not discuss our absence with the people next door. Our relationship is polite. They would call 911 if our house were on fire. Even so, we do not trust the guy you’ll see in the driveway all the time. Yes, the large land mammal with the cellphone glued to his ear. He’s not quite right.

The doorbell is broken. We’re not all torn up about it. Happy Halloween!

Please park in the driveway, close to the house.

You’ll find a list of contact numbers on the fridge, including my sisters’. My sisters live right around the corner and work in town. Please do not let them into our basement, as they will certainly steal the tomato sauce we jarred this summer. They are wily and will say things like, “Our St. Bernard was skunked by an entire family of skunks and needs a bath in gallons of organic, homemade tomato sauce. We saw this remedy on Dr. Phil,” when in real life they do not watch Dr. Phil and at least one of them is allergic to dogs and authority figures. In fact, don’t talk to them at all. The broken doorbell may be a big help with this.

If you count cats and one is missing, you may have to go from room to room opening doors. If Topaz is present, she will tell you where the missing pussycat is. Ask her. She’ll tell you. If however Topaz is the missing cat, the other two will look at you and ask, “Who?”

Thank you again for staying in our house with our cats. We’ve left wine and bonbons where you’re sure to find them.

Tata & Pete

3 responses to “A Short Skirt And A Long Jacket

  1. Doorbells are now wireless and you can get them, fairly inexpensively, such that they can play a variety of bell sounds (Mrs DBK and I use the Westchester Chimes bells–timeless). Anyway, you don’t have to run wires for them (wireless, get it?) and the batteries last a long time if you are as unfriendly as we are and therefore have very few occasions upon which someone actually has the nerve to ring the damned things. I mention this alarming news about doorbells in case the unrepaired doorbells were unrepaired because of a concern about running wires or powering them with electric current. Just a friendly suggestion.

  2. You’re so thoughtful. Have you considered the idea that I’d happily run wires if it didn’t mean people might come to my house?

  3. I prefer to have a working doorbell myself. On those (happily) rare occasions when someone does come to my house, I’d rather a doorbell announce their presence than have them sneak up on me.

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