#6: Schlepping Through The Worst-Case Scenarios

This blog has, thus far, discussing cat-schlepping as an activity one might choose to undertake for the sheer delight of it – an exercise in exploring feline curiosity and companionship in fresh air. Some folks, I’m well aware, will dismiss this as sheer whimsy. Some will scorn it. Some of these frowny folks may just dislike cats. Others may like cats very much, and feel very strongly about keeping them indoors. I can hear this last type now: “I’d never take my cat outside, and certainly never schlep it about. That’s demented.”

 

Well, you can’t win ‘em all.

 

Even so, to all you dismissers of cat-schlepping out there, let me ask you a question – what about the times when leaving the house isn’t a choice? What about when ‘adventure’ (that very broad catch-all for anything unexpected) comes looking for you? What about situations when taking your cat outside is no longer a matter of choice, but a matter of life and death?

Read More

#3: The Great Difficulty of Just Leaving the Flat

Christmas Eve, 2011. I am squatting down in a field off the 101 Freeway, about an hour south of San Francisco. I say field – it’s a very big patch of manicured grass beside the parking lot of a Target. This being the coastal side of California, it’s all blue sky, golden sunlight, clean pavement, and immaculate green lawn, even in the depths of winter.  

 

I am squatting here because of the pussy hiding between my legs. No, not like that. My one-year-old brown tabby, Aífe, has just been in a car for the first time (a rental). She has spent the last hour or so loudly and unrelentingly meowing objections from her carrier in the back seat. We still have another five hours drive ahead of us down to SoCal, and I imagine she might need a potty break, so I decide to try taking her out for her first walk on a leash.

 

This is the first time she has ever been confronted with the enormity of the open heavens, with something like freedom, and she is absolutely shitting herself. She is yowling in distress, and as I kneel down to try and comfort her, she rushes to cower under the only available shelter for yards and yards around, which happens to be my ass. I start giggling so hard at the ridiculousness of our position that I worry that I’ll fall on her.

Read More

#1: The Joy of Cat-Schlepping

The first half of my 20’s, all I wanted to do was travel. I wanted to see the world, meet people, walk down strange streets. And I was in a real rush to do it; what I was rushing towards (or from), I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) have quite admitted. But I made a pretty good go of it, saw mad and wondrous things from Seattle to Sarajevo, from Dublin to Darjeeling. But I made a lot of dodgy choices along the way, and at 25, I ship-wrecked myself onto San Francisco. I’d survived my misadventures, but they had left me thoroughly bedraggled, and broke in terms of both pocket and soul. I knew I needed to bunker down for a while.

 

And that’s when I became a forever home.

 

I spotted Aífe (ee-fuh) on New Years Eve, 2010. A teeny, brown, three-month-old tabby, sitting with her sister in the window of the Union Square Macy’s, where the extraordinary San Francisco SPCA was running its annual holiday adoption event. I went in to meet the kittens. The first of the pair seemed indifferent to me. The second, however, examined me with great interest. She sniffed at my coat and face with her tiny pink nose, delicately and inquisitively batted at my hair and spectacles with her tiny fuzzy paw, and met my brown eyes with her own bright green ones. She was easily one of the cutest things I’d ever seen, and seemed to have a wonderful, engaging little personality tucked inside. The SPCA folks told me that they had stopped doing adoptions for the evening, but I could come back for her the next morning if I wanted.

 

I did. I really, really did.

Read More