I so envy people that can just enjoy their pets.
I remember when I was a little girl and I had a basset hound named Jenny. I was about 8 or 9. If jenny was sleeping in the room I was in, even if I had to go to the bathroom, I waited until she woke up naturally because I knew if I got up she’d feel that she had to wake up and follow me.
I’ve written about this before but I think it bears repeating. My niece Stephanie and I were driving to Montauk and there was a woman in the next car trying to drive with her head all the way forward because her cat was laying on the back of her neck. Steph said “If you had a cat, that would be you.”
It’s these many years later and when I decided that I wanted a pet, forgetting Stephanie’s dire warning, I weighed all my options before making my choice.
I knew that a dog would take over my life. I wouldn’t want to leave him alone so my new found freedom would be jeopardized. Remember how I felt tortured when I left Liz’s dog Rupert alone and mostly I didn’t. That is why I decided on a cat. They are independent and don’t mind being left for short periods.
What I didn’t take into consideration is how crazy I am.
My home looks like cat Disneyland with toys, castles and little fake mice everywhere. I watch Elvis constantly worried that he’s bored or lonely which keeps me from leaving my house for any length of time.
I realized that I could never go away for even a weekend with someone only coming in once or twice a day to feed him so I asked my doorman if he would stay in my apartment if I had to go away which is a distinct possibility because as you know I’ve just been hired by Yahoo Travel to write about, shall we say, MY TRAVELS!!!!
Now my latest nightmare, my terrace. I have a terrace with about a 3 or 4 foot high brick wall and about another 4 feet of iron fence above it. Now that the weather is nice I sometimes sit out there. When I did this Elvis sat at the door watching me and last week I decided to let him out. Liz’s cat Puss used to go out on her terrace all the time.
Mostly Elvis walked around looking at stuff and then he’d find a shady spot and just curl up. When I’d go inside he’d usually follow me a short while later.
The other day I saw him walking on the brick wall, outside the fence (the fence has bars spaced far enough so that he can move back and forth easily). My heart stopped. I forced myself to stand there quietly so as to not startle him. He looked over the side, walked a short distance and came back onto the terrace.
That was it for me. No more going on the terrace for him. Then I started thinking about quality of life.
When people have outdoor cats they risk predators and cars and all kinds of things but they let the cats out anyway. Elvis spends a good part of his day looking out onto the terrace, either in front of the glass door or on the window sill.
Last night Julie was here and saw Elvis walking on the wall. She froze and said “You can’t let him out again” she added something about the damage I did to her heart to have her watch him do that wall thing.
I know she’s right. I’ll try to keep him inside but it will break my heart to watch him look longingly at the outside world. Remember I said I was crazy.
The truth is I just don’t know what to do. I know I’m opening myself up for a million horror cat/terrace stories but please don’t. They will only make me crazier.