Grizelda and Friday, who allegedly despise each other. Also, kids who like to sit with the sitter.

One day I’ll travel, as early as next month when I visit my home town for a couple of days. Given the brief time frame it’s a trip targeted for family but if I run true to form I’ll sneak in some time with friends, too. That’s the scheduling challenge of traveling to your home town. Lots of people there know you, and, if you’re lucky, some of them like you, too.


The last time I traveled to Port Townsend was June 2018, for Mom’s 75th high school reunion. Only a rat would have missed this event and I was feeling less than ratty at the time. 2019, though, has been a ratty year for leaving home, even for a few days, largely because none of us are getting any younger. Especially my 4-legged kids.


Last June the eldest, Grizelda, suffered a seizure days before my planned departure. We got her to the vet; nothing obvious going on so we were told to wait and see. She seemed fine once the isolated seizure had passed, had, in fact, jumped over a six-foot fence the next day and taken me on a tour of the neighborhood searching for her. In true cat style, she was lounging on the patio when I returned. Her expression suggested one word: What?


Still, I was worried to leave her with this new condition. Bruce would take care of her perfectly, of course, and I’d get updates about that and everything else at home every few hours. It seemed hard at the time, but, wow, did I ever have it easy back then!


A few months ago Grizelda started having seizures regularly. Fortunately, this can be controlled by a tiny daily dose of gabapentin. Griz is cooperative about receiving her medications once you get her swaddled in a towel, not a big challenge for an experienced sitter. But when it comes to feeding all five of them. . . A years-long mash up of spoiling through treats and chronic medical conditions makes pet care at my house a wee bit complicated.


How complicated? Here’s an excerpt from my sitter instructions:



                Doc Holliday-The dog, who will protect you to the bitter end

                Grizelda-The small tiger tabby and the only girl

                Friday-Large tuxedo cat with all black face; a real mush bucket

                Piebald-Large tuxedo cat with white on face; feral, lives outdoors

                Hoosegow-Large tiger tabby who looks somewhat like a bobcat




                                Doc-scoop of kibble, approx. ¼ can wet food, ¼ sheet American cheese in hoof

                                                Food and water dishes are by sliding doors off dining area

                                Grizelda-c/d kibble (large canister with orange lid) and about 1/9 can c/d wet

                                               Serve first in master bedroom with door closed to prevent Doc from scarfing it down;

then move to low bookcase in living room

                                Piebald, Hoosegow-same as Grizelda, but:

Hoosegow’s dish on “cat stand” in dining area

Piebald’s dish in “cat room” off patio; he also gets 2-3 dried shrimp

                                Friday-he won’t eat c/d; serve him Iams kibble (round Tupperware with blue lid in

                                                the yellow cabinet) and Friskies or Fancy Feast wet (a spoonful) BEHIND

                                                CLOSED DOORS. This is crucial, as Hoosegow has a urinary condition and will

                                                get crystals in his bladder and a UTI if he eats non-c/d food.

                                                Also, Friday gets just a smidge of American cheese, rolled into a ball.



I know why I do all this stuff. The fab five are family and much of this is family tradition. We’ve been through a lot together. People feel reassured when they get consistent treatment. In Hoosegow’s case, strict dietary control is imperative to his health. I do what any pushover parent of 4-legged kids would do, but a sitter for my kids must be a saint. Fortunately, there are a few nearby.


If they happen to read this, I hope they’ll still return my calls.

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