For months I knew that I would be leaving my apartment for an extended stay at my youngest daughter’s house. I would be house/dog sitting for Chelsea and her husband Jake as they took a long road trip from Tennessee to Virginia. At the same time, my apartment would receive some much-needed repairs to my living room floor. It seems like perfect timing for both, doesn’t it? But for months, I had been worrying about one little thing, my cat Paisley.
I adopted Paisley when she was five weeks old as a birthday gift to myself. She is now four years old. She has never known anyone but me, has never been outdoors, and has only ever lived in our apartment. I live alone, and when someone does come to visit, off to hide under my bed, she goes until she is sure they are gone!
In 2020 when everyone was indoors because of the pandemic, Paisley and I became very attached. She is my best little buddy. I talk to her as though she is human. She gives me great company. I never feel lonely because she is here in my home with me every moment. Not to mention she can be pretty entertaining as well. She has a wonderful personality. Unfortunately, she has chosen only to share it with me. She acts almost as bad as a feral cat might to everyone else.
I have had cats as pets my entire life. Because of this, I have much more patience with Paisley than the average person might. I wonder if she adopted me because of this. They say you don’t find a cat for a pet, they find you. I believe this to be 100% correct. Maybe Paisley was born with the personality that she would not be a lover of people but would prefer just one human. So, as a result, she picked me.
All of this is just fine with me until there is a reason that Paisley needs to leave the apartment. When she was a kitten, it was pretty easy to take her to the vet for her medical needs. But around age one, things changed. Paisley has been an extremely healthy cat. She put up quite the fight when I needed to take her to the vet to be spayed. When putting her into the pet carrier, I referred to her attitude as the Tasmanian Devil. I knew we would not be making trips anywhere unless it was an emergency. Lucky for us both, there never was one.
So the morning finally comes that Paisley must be taken to the vet to update her vaccines and boarded for ten days. To say I prayed over our situation, I mean I prayed over our situation! I was most nervous about getting her into the car than any other problem. I had been dreading it immensely for weeks! Knowing how much she hated the pet carrier, I could not let her catch a glimpse of me near it, or she would think something was up and hide somewhere that I couldn’t get to her. This cat is smart, and I give her all the props. But I have learned to be a pretty good actor around an animal if need be. Paisley was not the first cat I needed to trick, and she probably won’t be the last.
So I took advantage of Paisley eating her breakfast, a can of Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers (her favorite!) and very quietly positioned the carrier so I could put her into it as fast as possible. When I was done, there she was, looking around the corner at what I was doing. My heart sank. I went on about my business like I do every morning, acting as though nothing was out of the ordinary. She went into the other room and saw the carrier. She sniffed, walked around it slowly, and sniffed some more. All the time, I acted as though I was doing something else.
Next, I picked up a clean bath towel and waited for her to return to the kitchen to finish her breakfast. When she did, I opened the towel, scooped her up tight, and rushed to the pet carrier fast as I could! I dumped her in head first, towel still wrapped around her so she couldn’t claw me, and inside she went. It was a real struggle to get the gate latched because she was doing her Tasmanian Devil imitation as soon as my grasp loosened.
I pick up the carrier by the handle, with Paisley thrashing about and meowing a loud hideous sound, and off pops a bolt. Oh no, I thought, she’s going to break it open. I sat it down and quickly got the bolt tightened back in place. With her still thrashing about and sounding like I was trying to skin her alive, I managed to get her into the backseat of my car.
A feeling of elation came over me. What I had worried about and dreaded for weeks was done! I thanked my heavenly father for answering even the smallest of prayers and was on my way to the vet. Once there, Paisley quickly received her yearly shot and was off to the kennel. I knew she would be well cared for, for the next ten days. She wouldn’t be happy at all, but she would be safe and fed.
This morning I picked her up. I was eager to find out how she had responded to living the last ten days in an environment with strange humans and many strange animals. I prayed that this experience would help her become more social and open her world up to more than just our apartment.
As I waited anxiously in the waiting room, the vet assistant came out without a pet carrier. She told me that Paisley was being extremely aggressive and if it would be alright for me to come back and see if I could get her out of the kennel. Of course, this is how Paisley would end her lengthy visit. I laughed inside. This is so her, I thought.
When I got to the kennel, Paisley was in a hunched position against the back of the kennel, her eyes were thin slits, giving her an angry-looking face, and she was growling. I said, “Paisley, it’s Mommy. It’s okay. I’m here.” I said this four times, and on that last time, her face softened, and her eyes opened wide, she stopped growling, and I reached in and took her. That time, she was glad to be in the pet carrier because she knew she was going home.
We left the vet’s parking lot at 8:30 a.m. Paisley meowed from the moment I put her into the car until she finally laid down to rest at Noon! It was as if she were talking to me the only way she knew how and was filling me in on all of her experiences and complaints for those ten days. It is now 2 p.m., and she is still sharing her opinions with me. My guess is she will continue to “talk” until she decides she’s ready to stop. No telling how long that will be, and I’m prepared. That’s just how she is, and I couldn’t love her more!