In November, when I went to pet sit for my dad, I’d been dealing with too much depression upon my arrival to do a proper bit of blogging on the experience.
First off, no matter how long it’s been, I still seldom feel like a proper adult. That whole ‘I need an adult – an adultier adult’ thing comes to mind. I was the only one in my family with the time available to help my dad out that way, though. I was glad I was able to do so, but felt leery about being put in a position of responsibility for the beloved lives of his cats and his worldly possessions.
My dad’s three cats are Missy, Phoenix and L.B. (Little Bit). Missy is a white cat and has a blue eye and a green eye, caused by a genetic abnormality that also causes deafness. She sleeps most of the day and stays up for far too much of the night, meowing very loudly. Missy does not have an inside voice. Staying in the same room with her won’t help, because then she’ll be loud, awake, and literally walking over you.
Phoenix and L.B. are are orange striped with white patches. They are brothers. L.B. comes across as a bit dim while Phoenix comes across as not giving a rat’s ass. They are chonks that will steal your coffee if you leave it unattended.
Our first (partial) day together didn’t seem to go so bad, until it came time to put the boys in the laundry room for the night. L.B. wasn’t pleased but went quietly. Phoenix, on the other hand, began to growl and hiss at me as I carried him. Two thirds of the way there, he proceeded to scratch me, at which point my natural reaction was to drop him, and in the process of trying to grab for him again, I stepped on his tail. In fairness to me, it was an accident and he started it.
I switched tactics and used food to bribe them into the laundry room. I used it sparingly but decided my dad would just have to live with it if they were bigger chonks by the time he returned. Phoenix continued to angrily hiss and growl at me whenever I came near him.
After a night of listening to Missy yowling her displeasure over being awake and alone and unfed, which my ear plugs could only muffle not eliminate, I got up to start my morning and proceeded to put my sock-clad foot into something wet. I knew it would be either pee or vomit and it turned out to be the latter, presumably left in front of my bedroom door by Missy, expressing her displeasure at the way I ignored her all night. It was vomit.
After cleaning that up I moved to the kitchen and got the coffee maker going. I messaged my group chat with J, A and M talking about how I didn’t feel I should be trusted with someone’s house and pets, and when I returned to the kitchen found coffee all over the counter, cabinets and floor, even having managed to get inside the cabinets and on the dishes stored there. Apparently I’d failed to push the coffee pot into position properly. The timing of the discovery was comedic, given what I’d just been saying in the group chat. I cleaned up that mess, too.
Phoenix was still not happy with me and I received more hissing and glares, the latter typically from a distance. I might look up and find him staring at me with grim suspicion from two rooms away. (My dad’s house has a somewhat open living area layout that allows you to see multiple rooms at a time while in the dining room.) So far L.B. seemed to be okay with me, but that was going to change.
Things were going okay except for the severe depression I was dealing with. I spent as much time as I could sitting on my dad’s front porch in the sunlight, which helped warm me. I figured the vitamin D would be good for me. I listened to spotify on my phone and wrote my depressed thoughts in a notebook I’d brought. Luckily for me, the depression did lift a couple of days into my stay.
I was still dreadfully bored though. My dad didn’t have wifi. I didn’t feel like switching his internet connection to my laptop, and his desktop was old enough to still be using Windows 7. He had cable but no streaming services and I just don’t enjoy watching television with advertisements. I listened to a lot of music and used my phone to browse facebook and reddit and chat with friends. I was free to dance along with the music, phone safely tucked in a back pocket and noise canceling headphones resting on my head.
It was during one of these moments of dancing by my dad’s dining room table when I looked into the living room and noticed L.B. watching me intently. He appeared to be judging me for dancing and I was so amused by this I brought my phone out of my pocket so I could take his picture. After the first, I tried to move closer and L.B. retreated to the scratching post tree house where Phoenix was lounging. He continued to stare at me intently, with an expression and posture that were so amusing to me I tried to move in closer for yet another picture. That was too much for L.B., he took off like a bat out of hell and disappeared.
I mean, it’s not like he’d be a better dancer than I am.
L.B. stayed out of sight for a long time, and then finally I saw him peering around the corner of one of my dad’s loveseats, watching me with alarmed suspicion. I found that hilarious and fortunately he stayed put long enough for me to get his picture. The next day, he kept out of my way and stayed hidden much of the time. (This incident would lead to H quipping that if I ran into actual panther in Panther Creek State Park, I could try dancing to scare it away.)
Things did settle back down by the latter half of my stay, though. Missy never stopped being obnoxiously loud at night, but she only vomited 2-3 more times and never right outside my bedroom door, so I managed to avoid stepping in it again. She also maybe tried to be friendly though I’m not sure if wanting me to pet her while and trying to gnaw on me at the same time counts as particularly friendly. Phoenix eventually stopped hissing and growling, though I never tried to pick him up again and always used food to bribe them into the laundry room at night. L.B. stopped spending the day in hiding, though he never quite lost the appearance of being ready to flee my presence if I did anything new and strange.
We all lived through the week together and now I have some amusing memories and photos, which I’ll be sharing here.