Vacation: A Crime Against Cats

In addition to sharing our home with our soon-to-be-married daughter, Kelsey, we live with 4 animals, all of them very different.

The oldest is a 17-year-old rat terrier named Randy. We were not looking for a second dog when he became a member of the family. The night we got him we had taken dinner to a family in the church where the mother was recovering from a hospital stay. We talked with them for a bit, but I remember that the conversation was distracted by a small black and white puppy that was full of energy and love for everyone in the room. One or both of us must have commented on how sweet the dog was and it was at that moment that we learned the family had rescued him and were only keeping him until they could find him a good home. So we arrived with a 2-pound chicken dinner and left with 4 pounds of fur and affection. 

It’s hard to talk about Randy without mentioning his sidekick/brother Ralphie, a fearless long-haired dachshund. Technically, Ralphie was just his nickname. As a purebred dog, we paid to have him registered with the American Kennel Club. Knowing he had to have a distinct name for his papers, I officially dubbed him Baron Ralph von Woof-Woof. (I can only imagine the reaction of the person who entered this into the AKC’s database.)

Although he had a royal name, Ralphie, the dachshund was (pardon the pun) a very down-to-earth dog (on second thought I don’t apologize for the clever pun). He readily accepted his adopted little brother, Randy. They were, of course, named after the brothers in A Christmas Story.

For probably 15 years Ralphie and Randy were inseparable. In the 2 years since we lost Ralphie, Randy has become, as my wife puts it, an old man. If Randy were human he’d have his pants buckled just under his armpits, wear coke bottle eyeglasses, and tell long stories that don’t go anywhere. He is content to sleep for most of the day and I sincerely doubt he even knew we were gone for a week.

Our next oldest pet is Ruth, a Quaker parrot that showed up on our driveway more than 10 years ago. We never planned to have a bird, but when one shows up at your house greeting you with “Hello Baby” you begin to reconsider your previous assumptions. Without spending nearly $100 for a DNA test, we’d never know if the bird was male or female. This made naming him/her a problem. As a pondered this quandary I thought of Festus Haggen, a colorful, spunky, but illiterate deputy sheriff on Gunsmoke who rode a male mule that he inexplicably named Ruth. So, I credit Festus for giving Ruth his name. Yes, we address the bird as a boy, but he has a girl’s name just in case we’re wrong.

Ruth is content with staying in his cage and needs just fresh food and water once a day. We have a spare TV in Ruth’s room and he watches nothing but old shows from the 50s and 60s all day. (Under no circumstances do I allow the bird to watch any of the many daytime “judge” or talk shows. I don’t want him to pick up any slang or ignorant opinions.)

Kelsey’s cat is named Kiara, after a character in the Lion King. She is a sweet, devoted child to Kelsey and that is where she goes for affection. She lives in the house with us, but it’s clear that she thinks of us as being her step-cat-parents.

That brings me to Maggie, our longish-haired calico girl. Maggie is also a devoted cat, but instead of that devotion being sweet, it’s overwhelming at times. If you have ever seen the movie What About Bob? you’ll get the idea.

When we are away for a week Maggie will cry and at times go a little frantic which means knocking things off tables around the house. Knowing that she suffers from separation anxiety while we’re away I always plan to make myself available to her for some extended petting time when we return, but Maggie has other plans.

Whenever we get back from these trips Maggie makes it very clear that she is shunning us like we are wayward Amish. As you can see from the photo she chose to get her emotional support from Canada Dry.

We got home before noon on Sunday and late yesterday she finally came around to sit in my lap for a few minutes. It’s clear that I’m on probation even though the statute of limitations should be running out on my crime. This morning, when I am writing this on my computer, she has decided to forgive me and go overboard in seeking my attention. It’s hard to type when a cat is sitting on top of your keyboard and gnawing on left hand, but no matter how I try to rebuff her, she won’t shun me again in favor of the ginger ale..

To get some time to write cat-free I think I’m going to let her see me planning our next cruise.

1 thought on “Vacation: A Crime Against Cats”

  1. Rusty Shackleford

    I’m almost up to date on your posts. I have to make an effort to keep laughter to a minimum as I am the only one awake at the moment. Liza would be upset if I woke either her or or Henry up this early in the morning.

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