Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gomez-shaped Hole in my Heart

I know I've talked about the dog, Beckett, a lot here. I don't think I've talked about the cat, Gomez, as much. Probably because she's better behaved, so the stories aren't as wild and crazy as those of Beckett.

Mostly Gomez stories go like this, "I was sitting on the couch and she came and sat on my lap and purred and told me that she loved me. It was great." She's not an angel, of course—she has escaped outside the house several times and none of the yarn in my knitting basket is safe from her attention. But she's a wonderful cat and I love her.

Over the past few weeks, however, there's been a Gomez-shaped hole in my heart. When I went to my parents' house after my mom's surgery, I took Gomez with me. That was December 10. On December 14, Keith and I left for the wedding and Gomez stayed at my parents'. Then, coming back from the wedding, the blizzard conditions prevented up from stopping by to pick up Gomez. So she stayed all last week, too.

We saw her for a few hours on Saturday, when we went over for my family's Christmas festivities. But we once again left without the cat, as Keith and I were heading out the next day to actually spend Christmas with his family. Gomez spent Christmas with my parents and many other pets.

I had no doubts that she was being well-cared-for and enjoying her time with my parents. I got regular updates about Gomez frolicking with the other cats, and adopting the cat tree as her own personal playground. She was having a great time. But the house felt empty without her. My only fear was that she wouldn't be all that bothered to come home once the time finally came.

Yesterday we drove back from Keith's parents, and we made the pet circuit. We stopped by my sister's to pick up the dog, and then headed to my parents' for the cat. By this time, she'd been there for more than 2 full weeks. She greeted us at the door, but then ran away on important cat business. After a bit of catching up with my parents, I went in search of the cat and squeezed her into the cat carrier. She was NOT happy about it.

She complained during the entire ride home, which is typical. But once she got home, much to my relief, she seemed glad to be back. I think a big positive on our side is the fact that she has a litterbox and food all to herself. She spent much of the evening running all over the house, re-acquainting herself with all her favorite haunts.

Even better, when we gave up on the unpacking and settled in the basement to watch a movie, she joined us. Usually she's pretty independent. She likes to be in the same room as people ... but she doesn't actually want to be touching you. If we're on the futon in the basement, she curls up on the recliner. If we're on the couch in the living room, she settles onto the back of the loveseat.

But I suspect that she may actually have missed us during our long separation. Because last night Beckett curled right up with us (he's not shy about cuddling), and a bit later Gomez padded over, and laid on Keith's chest for most of the movie. When he moved too much she punished him by leaving and settling on the recliner ... but then returned a few minutes later to curl up on the futon in front of him.

When Beckett changed positions and moved to Keith's end of the couch, she again left. But after sniffing around the basement, she came back and laid on me for the rest of the movie. And last night she snuck into bed after the rest of us were asleep, and curled up in the crook of my arm for most of the night. She didn't get up until I'd hit snooze for the third time this morning and reluctantly started stretching.

It was so wonderful to have the whole family together and home again. I know when my pets are staying with my parents or my sister and her husband, they're happy and well cared-for. But who is caring for me? Keith is a fabulous husband, but he insists on "working" and "running" and doing other human activities. And although he offers to let me pet his well-coiffed head, it's just not the same as a pet's soft, comforting fur. I'm very happy to have both pets back!


FitGeGe said...

You sure are lucky you can leave your pets with people you trust. I understand your feelings, though - sometimes I miss my cats during the day and want to run home and hug them. I can't imagine not having them for two whole weeks! Glad everyone's back home. :o)

M. Lubbers said...

Wow GeGe, that was a quick response! You must have a feed reader, too. I'll keep an eye out for your next entry so I can return the favor;)

It was hard to be without the pets. But the past two days, being back home and cuddling with them, have been wonderful! It makes me appreciate them even more.

Jonathan said...

Our cat is the same way in terms of his deciding when he is going to be your friend - and there being a link with if you have been away.

We have never left him with anybody else though - he would freak out. He was a rescue cat anyway, and it took months just to get him to socialise with people normally (if you can call ANY cat behaviour normal)

M. Lubbers said...

Jonathan: We are very lucky in that Gomez enjoys staying at her grandparents. We tried leaving her with Auntie Erin once, however, and she was NOT a fan of the two large dogs.

All cat behavior is normal. Unless it's like dog behavior (loyal, trusting, follows you around) and then that's just weird.