I don’t have a dog. I’d like to have one, but I travel too much. You can leave a cat alone for a few days, but not a dog. And cats don’t demand to be taken for a walk when you are deep into your story and your head is in another world and the words are coming together…
Your cat may try to tromp across your keyboard while you are working, but after being put down firmly ten or fifteen times they will give up and go off to do what cats do best: take a nap. And you can get back to your story.
I have been sticking to my plan and doing my daily word count, modest as it is. The story is coming together according the my “beat sheet.” I even politely told a caller during my work time that this was my writing time and I couldn’t do whatever it was they wanted me to do. First time ever I drew a boundary line.
Then came the cat. Or rather, cats. I volunteer at the animal shelter one morning a week. A friend and I clean the cat cages. It’s a nasty and paradoxically rewarding job. We pet and talk to the cats and reassure them. Someone once asked if we got paid and I said, “In purrs.”
Last week I talked with the director, complaining that my two cats don’t get along. Both are rescues, but they are equally ungrateful. Then came Sydney, a cat I fostered until I could take her to her forever home. Jack played with Sydney and seemed to miss her after she was gone. He tries to play with Spooky, who will have none of it. Huge fights involving spitting and growling ensue (no one actually gets hurt).
She suggested I replace Sydney with another cat. I demurred, but then she said I could take one home on a trial basis. If it didn’t work out, I could bring it back. So I chose a kitten that was playful and friendly.
I thought I would have it back in a few days. Both Jack and Spooky were terrified of the little gray ball of fluff. I don’t think she weighs a pound, but she might have been a lion for the terror she instilled.
Now for a backstory. The week before, I got a call from a friend who had adopted one of Spooky’s kittens (she was pregnant when we adopted her, unknown to us). The woman was moving to a senior facility and couldn’t take the cat. Did I want him back?
I had to say no. But I did, with the help of my son and daughter-in-law, find him a home. It came time to transport him to his new owner and I had to leave my three cats alone.
I drove the two and a half hours, stayed overnight, and set out the next morning, all the while worrying about what I might find when I got home.
I needn’t have fretted a minute. I was entertained that afternoon by watching Jack and Frenchy play together. ( I didn’t name her, but if you don’t recognize the name it is from a character in Grease.) Jack, three times her size, was so gentle and sweet that I almost cried.
Spooky, of course, was hiding under the bed. But at least Jack wasn’t tormenting her. I really think she needs a little Xanax.
So no writing got done for three days. I will get back on schedule. These things happen and we learn to roll with them.
Oh, and I guess Frenchy isn’t going back to the shelter.