cat and house sitting.
I learned several things, knowing better than to number them now, whist there.
If I lived on the ground floor somewhere...even, horrors, an apartment...I would leave it more often, if only to get some fresh air walking around the block. That is not happening now because I have really wonky and poorly-constructed stairs to the third floor (former attic) that are higher than normal steps and hurt my knees like a bitch whilst walking up and down them.
The stairway up to my flat, second floor, is made of normal steps, but I have to pass through the mold fog from the basement, foundation and crappy slapped-together walls that enclose those stairs. I would bet a nickle that they were originally an outdoor stairway before the remodel or something. On several levels it does not make sense, but there is absolutely no insulation out there. It is often cooler than it is outside. I had stored water bottles on the upper landing, right outside of my door; they froze and exploded. Good thing I took the beer inside.
Secondly, sleeping in a bed that is not one's own is a pain. Literally a huge, stinking pain. First night was find. Second and third nights kept me home from breakfast with my friends and I had to miss my grandson's basketball tournament in the afternoon. I was pissed. Still am.
Fourth and fifth nights totally did me in. My back is a wreck and even my knees hurt like crazy. So, no more foreign beds for me. Well, until the next time someone needs me to sleep over to watch the monkey brothers whilst they go out for adult fun.
Third, and the most important of the things I learned is that I do not want a cat as badly as I did before starting the cat/house sitting gig.
I can have a cat and a wardrobe that exactly matches the cat's fur colors, or I can not have a cat.
I forgot how much hair just lives in the environment of a cat focal household. Friday night I went to a play with a couple of friends and was not able to remove all of the car hair that had found its way to my slacks hanging nicely in the closet. Fortunately, it was dark the whole time, evening does have that whole dark aspect, and I was the only one who noticed or at least no one else mentioned my strangely hairy pants.
The first few months of having a cat are fairly hair-free. It takes time for cat hair to amass to critical capacity within a particular environment.
Once you get used to it, you are used to it and you develop strategies for minimizing the coverage problems.
You keep your out-of-the-house clothes safely ensconced on a closed closet. Said clothes are not allowed more than the briefest passage from laundry experiences to closet. Dressing to leave the house is left until the last possible moment, often measured in nano-seconds. I do not joke.
When returning from outside the house, clothes are returned to the safety of the closet only by developing insanely, nearly instantaneous garment divesting skills.
Once accomplished, it is a marvel to watch, although the only one seeing that show is, of course, your cat, who is not the teeniest bit impressed. Frankly, there is not a cat anywhere who will even understand, much less concede, the need for such skills.
This is proof that cats do not know everything.
Having a cat would mean resurrecting those skills and despite my love of cats, my desire to have cats again and my need for that kind of love in my life, I am not sure that I am up to the hair problem.
Cleaning the cat's litter box twice every day was a snap. Most folk might not consider it a pleasant task, but it is the most certain way of keeping up with any changes in your cat's health and habits. A clean box is nice for your cat, but it is an essential way to monitor how your cat is doing. So, no problems cleaning that box for the past week.
Cuddling and playing, well, this is where it gets serious. I miss that so much. Playing with your cat is more fun than it should be, and part of that is how wonderful it is for your cat. Cuddling is something that is equally wonderful for both cat and cat owner.
I am so torn. The benefits of having a cat far outweigh any negative aspects, but I just cannot get past the whole hair mess tonight. Maybe I will feel differently in a few days, but this feels so solidly a barrier that I think my cat owning days are most likely over.
This is sad, but I know that the hair mess aversion of going to win and I will not be getting another cat.
I do not envision adopting a hair-less breed of cat because in more than twenty-eight years of animal rescue work, not a single less-hairy cat ever came into the shelter. That means I would need to buy a cat from a breeder, something I am not going to do. Sure, there are responsible breeders who would be thrilled to sell a cat to me...I am hoping anyway..., but my heart and mind are pretty much stuck in shelter cat adoption.
I could have a small terrier, or some dog with hair instead of fur, that I could trim myself, as I did with our schnauzers. But, but, but...dogs are so much daily work.
You cannot simply play with a dog, although everyone involved in said play activity loves it, dogs must be walked. Every day, and for longer than dog owners generally want to be outside walking their dogs.
Every day. Weather permitting or not. Where I live the old saying is that there is winter and the months leading up to winter. Summer can pretty much be counted on, but springtime and fall are iffy and often rainy. More than half of the time it is either raining, snowing or the aftermath of snow. Rain flows off and soaks in nicely here, but snow is rude and hangs around long past its welcome.
Scooping after a dog would not be a problem; it offers the same health knowledge benefits as little box scooping. I used to be a dog trainer, so barking and all that jazz would not be insurmountable, same thing for behaviors. They did not call me the Cat Whisperer for nothing, and I am no slouch at dog training. Kind of bragging, but it is true.
So, I guess I am off to find another kind of pet.
I was considering a fennec fox for a few months. I know someone who raises them and I know I could properly care for one, but it has many of the same needs as do dogs, and being a mainly nocturnal animal would certainly suit my lifestyle, but it is still too canine for what I truly can handle now.
Guess I am back to bunnies or guinea pigs or rats. I rescued a Capuchin monkey decades ago, but even then, during the time I had that sweet guy in my life I knew that primates are not house pets and when he was ready to move on it was sad, but I knew that having him was temporary and he was ready to go be with other monkeys.
Some difficult things to learn in just a week.