The basics and minutia of cat-sitting

Below is an excerpt of my directions on how to deal with my cats. It was written for a 16 year-old young man who loves cats, has none of his own, and therefore makes a great cat-sitter. I am only sharing it because it apparently gave him quite a chuckle, and I realize that people without cats may find all of this very strange. To all of my friends with cats in their lives (past and present) you may be able to relate. Feel free to let me know if you’d have to add anything. And yes, aren’t you feeling relieved that you are not the poor person that gets suckered into watching the beasts?

…Feel free to leave the back porch light on so that you can see when you come back after dark. Help yourself to any snacks. I believe that Michael is going to buy you some root beer or something. Knowing Michael, he’ll leave little notes out for you as well. Watch tv, hangout, read a book, or just pet the kitties, feed them and leave.
Food (wet and dry) is in the blue cabinet. Cats get a scoop of dry food twice a day (a.m. and p.m.). In the evening, we dole out one can of wet on top of their dry food split 3 ways (so they each get 1/3 of a can). Michael “prepares” their food on top of the blue cabinet and then serves it to them all at once. This is completely unnecessary, but if they look at you awkwardly if you don’t do this, that is why. Also, it is best if you stand there and keep Hushpuppy and Otis from knocking Carter off of his bowl. Carter is a wuss and will not defend his food. Please note the large girth of Otis — he’s fat because he eats Carter’s food. It’s an issue that we keep trying to remedy.
Fill up the water bowl on floor every time you go. Kitties get thirsty! We also keep a glass on the kitchen counter that they like to drink from. Fill it up as well.
Litter boxes are in the office room (the one with carpet). Please scoop at least once. Plastic bags for poop scooping are under the sink on the left hand side. If needed, there is a bag of litter in the office as well (usually under the library table/desk). The rectangular box has some issues with its cover, so please know that we know that you are not the one that broke it; it came that way. The other dome shaped ones are easier because you just lift the lids off and scoop into plastic bag. Please do not be alarmed if all the poop is in one litter box — honestly, we don’t know what goes on in their heads, but sometimes they just pick one and stick with it. Cats are weird.
Hushpuppy is the white one and is the only girl. She is very friendly usually and will purr you to bits if you pet her. She is also a charmer and, at times, looks like a complete angel. However, Hushpuppy is prone to fits of madness. If she starts bolting around the house and knocking furniture over or bouncing off of walls, do not be afraid (maybe cover you face if you are lying on the coach). It seems odd at first, but we’ve gotten used to it. Other than that, I promise she is the sweetest thing in the world. She just has this crazed wild streak in her.
Otis is the fat grey tabby. Otis is also sweet, but looks incredibly grumpy even while purring on a lap. He’s really trying to work on his social behavior. I do try to give him positive body image reinforcement by calling him “Slim Shady” or “Skinny Boy”. These attempts are worthless. However, he does seem to know his name “Otis” probably because we yell at him a lot for trying to move Carter from his bowl. Don’t take his disinterest personally. He really does like people, but he just doesn’t know how to express himself very well. And, well, he is a cat. By the way, he occasionally gets on top of the kitchen cabinets and will stare at you like some sort of cat/owl gargoyle hybrid. Please try not to pee on yourself if this happens. It is way more startling than it sounds.
Carter is the very handsome fluffy Siamese cat. He knows he is handsome, and will occasionally pose for you. That is, he will pose if he ever comes out from under the sofa. Carter also happens to be in love with Michael, so really, please don’t be offended if he does come out and smell you and then walk away nonplussed because you are not the right person. He used to love me, but I’ve come to accept that I am second fiddle to Michael. However, if he gets near you and you give him some good chin scratches and pet him and talk to him in a sort of Bugs Bunny voice, then he may be fooled into believing you are some sort of Michael incarnation and warm up to you. Carter just wants to be loved and to have some reprieve from the younger two. They torment him. But he sort of loves it at the same time.
I know Michael mentioned the neighborhood cat we call “Clipper” and the raccoons. Please don’t feed them. Thank you so much for taking care of our little beasts. I hope they will come out and let you pet them. They will all be very interested in the food for sure.

And yes, I’m very aware this could have easily just said, food is in the blue cabinet—feed them twice a day. 🙂

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