So NOW I know what a throuple is!
By Michael Milton / “The Art of Seeing”
I love cats because I enjoy my home and they gradually become visible Soul. ~ Jean Cocteau
“Never again! â yelled the burly nurse in pink coats that morning when I picked up my cat after a week’s stay at a very posh veterinary hotel on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
The night before I had taken the red eye to Newark after a particularly busy week at work in Los Angeles. I had been looking forward to seeing my white-pawed girl and was wondering how she felt during her five-day stay in the one described by neighbors “Katzenparadies âandâ a cat spa far from home. “
A spa !?
Would she have polished nails?
Had she learned to meow in French?
Or had she been taught to use a human toilet? I had heard it was possible to teach and I loved the idea of âânot having to clean out your box every day.
Boots and I had only been together for six months. The representative from the adoption center had told me what little was known about my foundling.
“She was barely weaned when she was brought to us. I would guess she was the run of the litter she was so small. She was alone when we found her, wet and shivering under a rusting car in the far west. “
Travel had become a big part of my working life and I had gone looking for somewhere to stay for her when I was away. This particular place was on a quiet, tree-lined back street. Inside, I smelled some kind of mild detergent with an undertone of vinegar. Everything looked neat and tidy, with macrame plant hangers hung in the corners and filled with blooming greens and an old-fashioned hand-sewn rug on the floor. It was maybe a cozy spa, more Vermont, less South Beach.
The day before I left, I brought Boots over, wrapped in her favorite blanket. I thought it would be good for her to meet the gang that was waiting for her … I mean, she would take care of my beloved cat.
Everything went well at the Meet & Greet. Boots was her perfect self; a bit primitive, calm, an intelligent observer, not too affectionate, but pleasant and polite.
Still, she hadn’t met the other guests yet.
The morning I left her at the cat hotel, tears welled up in my eyes as I said goodbye, tears that I attributed to spring allergies (it was autumn.)
Boots seemed eager for their new adventure and didn’t even look back as I slowly made my way to the exit and my waiting taxi.
The day I returned from our week-long break, I was surprised to find the other nurses and helpers at the Kitty Hotel stared at me in silence when I mentioned I was there to pick up a cat named “Boots”. They had all been so pleasant when I first met them.
The nurse who took her to the lobby from the back held my boots, but she was a different cat than the one I’d left behind.
Boots didn’t see me at first.
She hissed like crazy. She held her ears stiffly to her head and her green-gray eyes rolled into their sockets. Her small body was stiff, her tail cutting wildly through the air like a furry saber. She spat in all directions.
Then, when she saw me, she pressed so tightly against the nurse who was struggling with her that she could break free, did a kind of flip in the air between the nurse and me, and magically flew into my arms where, within in one heartbeat she became a very different animal. She calmed down quickly and within seconds she purred, huddled against my chest and looked around the room as if everything was normal.
I had started my search for a feline companion soon after my partner left for a West Coast job that would keep him away for six months. Already weeks after his departure the loneliness had become unbearable for me.
The hardest part was the endless, sleepless hours of waiting for the sound of keys other than my own in the lock on the front door. I missed having someone in the house to pamper, feed, and check out.
During the adoption search I was asked what I was looking for in an adoptee. I mentioned in passing that I wanted a cat with an unusual personality. Still, I think their Jekyll and Hyde trick at the cat hotel was more personality than I expected.
The head nurse in the pink coats said again as I fiddled with my credit card to pay, âWe can never allow it The Cat acceptance again as a guest. ”
“Can you at least tell me what happened?” I asked, now completely confused.
At that moment, another pet owner entered the reception area with a small dog of indeterminate breed, wide-eyed and trembling. Boots showed no particular interest in the newcomer and nestled even happier against my jacket.
The nurse leaned forward and hissed at me: âYours just doesn’t belong here. She doesn’t get along with the other guests. “
I giggled at the word “guests”. I tend to giggle when I’m nervous.
I mean come on! What was the misery that the little boots had brought on the staff and other “guests”? Did she scream all night? Did she eat the other kitten’s dinner? Did she dress up in a Ku Klux Klan bed sheet and take a night drive and scare the room?
The nurse leaned closer. The liver sausage and onion sandwich she must have had for lunch was overwhelming, and for every micro-inch she moved forward, I subconsciously took a small step back.
She eventually burst out with; “you scares the other cats! “
In disbelief, I looked down at the tiny ball of fur that was now sleeping in my arms.
Boots would certainly be one of the smallest of all the other cats currently living here at St. Regis du Chat.
“Doesn’t she seem a little, well, too small to be the King Kong of your hotel?” I asked the nurse.
She didn’t giggle and continued to urge, âWe can help you find other accommodations for your animal needs. Just not here! âAnd with that she stormed through the doors into the back room from which she had come.
I was able to corner one of the younger looking adjutants and asked how my gray, white and brown American short hair had managed to become the Heinrich Himmler of their institution.
“That’s how some cats manage their world,” she whispered. “Who knows what world she was brought to the adoption center from before she came here?”
May be. But still. A vilder mentz (wild animal in Yiddish) from a few weeks on the road?
The adjutant continued; âOn the morning of your departure, Boots made it very clear who the boss was. The first group season could easily have turned into a massacre. Boots was able to divide their playmates into separate corners, each desperate for a safe way to return to their own cages. Neither of them wanted to interact with your cat. ”
The news when I carried Boots back to our apartment worried me considerably, less her behavior in the “hotel” and more the way I would deal with her with my travel plan. Our production company was working on a new Broadway musical called Sweet smell of success in Chicago and we shot the film Chicago in Toronto and I’ve been away more than ever.
I’ve had shaky luck in my relationships with people over the years. And my track record with pets has also been particularly unsatisfactory.
I’ve heard that you have to love yourself before you love another. When I picked Boots up from the adoption center, I vowed to myself that she would get every little love I could get from my withered and heartfelt heart.
My partner, who temporarily settled three thousand miles away, wasn’t so happy that I was adding a third party to our relatively simple life.
“I’ll be home someday and it will be the cat” yours! â he whined. âShe won’t want anything to do with me. I will never have a chance. “
Needless to say, the cat ultimately stayed.
Still, the day I took her home from the hotel, it was time for “the conversation”.
“You have to learn to fly,” I told her.
She smiled up at me after licking my fingertips and sitting on my lap for a nap.
“No, really,” I repeated. âIf I can’t leave you at home while traveling, you must be able to travel with me. That means planes. “
She looked taken aback. It would have helped to hear her say, “I just want to be where you are, master.” But with cats, it’s all a guessing game.
My next trip was a three day visit to San Diego. I confirmed that she would travel with me on the plane and put her health papers together. I lined her travel bag with her blanket and her favorite toys.
We were hired.
And … she was perfection. No look in the car to Newark. Not even when we were waiting for our flight. Not even on the long flight. Every time I peeked into her pocket, she looked at me with trusting eyes.
âI trust that you will safely take me anywhereShe seemed to be saying.
After years of traveling with me, your trust in me remains absolute.
My partner finally got back from his job on the west coast months later.
They were a little cool to each other for a month. Then one morning, out of the blue, she sat at his feet and meowed plaintively. She wanted him to pick her up.
He did and of course love was the only thing that could follow.
Their bond was finally sealed. We must have become a throuple.
And it has remained so to this day.
The BK Reader is made available to you daily free of charge. Please consider supporting independent local news by donating here. Whether it’s $ 1 or $ 100, no donation is too big or too small!