A little older

When I think of Donna, I can already hear her little paws patter on the laminated floor. Especially at night it’s such an unmistakable sound. She approaches, stops for a while and then it won’t be long until I feel the weight of her warm body on the foot end of the bed. Or on top of the pillow next to me. Never too close, it’s just not like her.
Unfortunately, Donna doesn’t do – or barely does – heights anymore. She has gotten a day older. She has been suffering from arthritis for a while now, but after she had to be anesthetized for a treatment, the problem has gotten far worse. You can see her waddling along and you hold your heart as it looks as if she’s going to fall over any minute. But it doesn’t happen.  
“She’s doing well,” her owner says, “she moving a bit more often now”. For a little while, that was quite different. She was mostly lying on her floor pillow, as that didn’t involve any jumping. Luckily she’s doing much better since she’s gotten her medication. “As long as she’s doing well, she’s staying with me,” her loving owner says. And Donna is a cat to love!
For that reason, her owner got her a step stool. It took her a while to figure out the purpose of that new ornament. Placing her on the bottom step did the trick! 
So these days, she’s scrambling up and down the step stool to get on and off her favourite chair. And when the sun shines, and no one is watching, she sometimes dares to jump up the couch to have a little nap. 
She doesn’t jump on the bed anymore these days. But her owner has already ordered another stool for that purpose!


The First Cat

Donna was the very first cat I looked after. It’s been two years now, and we spend a week or long weekend together every now and again. 
She’s quite a modest creature. It hardly ever happens that she asks me for something, but if she does it’s barely audible. When I come home from work, she’s often waits for me at the top of the stairs. Usually she’s the first one to greet, although the ever-passing traffic makes it hard to hear. Otherwise, she’ll respond my greeting with a somewhat crackling-sounding “meeeeooowww”! That’s usually all she has to say, because Donna is not the type of cat for a lot of public display of affection. 

Initially I thought she didn’t like me very much. Or at best: she didn’t seem to have a lot of interest in me. By now, I’ve had a change of heart. So whenever we meet, I tickle her fluffy neck and she… turns her back on me. Her tail rises and her rear end is trembling lightly. I don’t take offense, I consider it as her shy way of saying: “You’re absolutely my favourite cat sitter in the world, but that’s enough with the fussing”! Later on, I learned that this phenomenon is indeed a display of affection, going by the name of ‘dry spraying’. It happens exactly the way I described. 

Every once in a while, her affection goes a bit further than usual. The bedroom door is always left open; her owner does that, and I don’t want her to feel left out. So every now and again she comes and keeps me company at night. I hear her little feet tripping down the hall, sense her jumping on the bed and climbing on top of me. As I’m usually a side sleeper she is than lying on my hip. A point from which she can overlook the whole bedroom.

After that, falling back to sleep is usually impossible for me!


“A cat or no cat; that is the question”

Some people have a thing with babies, cats have that effect on me instead. They’re extremely cute in my eyes and they make my oxytocin run wild. Do I wish to have a fluffy four-legged friend at home? Not fulltime, I’m afraid.

A few years ago, I wanted to take a trip. My finances made me doubt whether or not this was a good idea. So, I got creative and started thinking about looking after other people’s houses and pets for the first time. It was bulls’ eye: house sitting has brought me places I would have otherwise never been and as an added bonus I get to hang out with cats!
It all started with cat sitting close to home. Ever since I started working as a teacher I’ve commuted. In spite of a considerable travel time on top of my working hours I’ve never considered moving. Instead I thought it a good idea to start cat sitting close to work. It felt like a mini break, not having to sit in public transport for hours, even if only for a few days.

Travels further away from home soon followed. Cat sitting brought me to a variety of places in the world. Flexibility is key, as I’m restricted to school breaks and therefore cannot accept any sit I’d like. However, whenever I can and wish to leave, all I need to do is find out who needs a sitter someplace in the world.

Not a care in the world, as long as there is a balance between offer and demand!