It's amazing to me and the boyfriend, but not everyone wants to have our cat Ali stay at their house. Not even if he's looked at them like this:
And so, whenever we leave on vacation for more than a day or two (in which case the automatic feeder and water distributor come to our aid), we bring Ali to my in-laws' house in the French countryside. It's a long trip, and often expensive, since the boyfriend inevitably buys the train tickets at the last minute, no matter how much I've nagged him to do otherwise.
This time, as we prepared for a week-long trip with family, we decided it was time for us to try to be a little more practical, and started to look for a petsitter here in Paris.
As I emailed potential petsitters about Ali and all his needs, I realized I'm kind of obsessed with him, an idea compounded by my friends, family, and students listening to my concerns about whether he'd think we'd abandoned him, and then saying "But...he's just a cat."
They're right, of course, but cats have feelings (okay, that sounds like the title of a self-help book - one I probably shouldn't read), and they don't do well with change. Kind of like me! I guess maybe part of my obsession with Ali is because I can identify with the cat mentality so well. I never would have thought it: clumsy, emotive, and affectionate, I've always thought of myself as a dog-person who's a cat person, if that makes sense. But more and more I've come to realize I'm a cat person through and through - just not an aloof, elegant feline, more a friendly, chubby tabby or something.
All that to say, it was hard, but we found a petsitter who seems experienced and nice, and who's willing to let Ali stay at her place. When we got her address, we found out she lives near us - and on the same street as our vet! A worried pet-owner's dream. Last Sunday, we went to meet her, taking Ali on his first purely social call. The big question was, should we bring his litter box? In the end, we didn't, and all was well - as we'd anticipated, Ali was so busy checking out her apartment that he probably didn't think one minute about his bladder or bowels. I personally love it when life is like that.
Ali, looking quite sociable.
The experience made me wonder if we could take Ali with us to other social events. After all, he's curious and affectionate towards everyone who comes to our place. Then I thought of our karaoke-loving friends' loud gatherings and pictured him hiding in a closet in one of their apartments. Probably not.
In a few hours, the boyfriend gets back from work and we'll get Ali into his carrier and (hopefully with our arms scratch-free) we'll take him around the corner to the petsitter's apartment. Hopefully he'll have a great time. In a way, I feel like our little guy is growing up, sort of like your child going on their first trip without you. Hopefully he'll have a fun, enjoyable, and safe visit. One thing we are pretty sure of is that there won't be any rudeness issues regarding food: the sitter is a vegetarian, so no tuna, ham, or chicken will be around for Ali to try to steal.
...How obsessed am I with Ali? I've just written a whole post about him going to the petsitter's apartment, and haven't mentioned much about the trip the boyfriend and I are going on. We've still got a lot to do to prepare (including getting our key to our friends P and S, who don't like cats, alas, but who will be house-sitting for us....), so I'd better get going. (Preparation highlight: Last night I went onto the Paris library system's website and once again hopefully searched the catalogue for the English edition of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - and I couldn't believe my eyes: they had a copy at the library branch right by where I worked today! The book is now on the table beside me, right by my mostly-packed suitcase. Huzzah!)
I probably won't have internet access while I'm away, but I look forward to reading you guys' posts when I get back. Have a great week, from me and Ali (well, I imagine that's what he'd say if he wasn't busy sleeping)....