Who knows what a cat is thinking? This morning, I found the Qatari Cat’s baby by my side of the bed. Sometimes I find him at the foot of the stairs. Never in the Qatari Cat’s chair. But when we came home, I saw this:
Before I left, my bible study group promised to pray for me, for safe travel, and for travel mercies.
What are travel mercies? Travel mercies are blessings you don’t even know you need, small interventions that make a big difference. So many times on this trip to Kuwait, I smiled, thinking “I know my friends are praying for me,” I could feel the travel mercies.
The trip down to the Mubarakiyya for dinner – a serious travel mercy. It wasn’t a life or death thing, and I didn’t even dare to bring it up, AdventureMan was so busy. And yet, we got there, we had a wonderful dinner with friends, we got to see the lights of the Seif Palace. Oh Wow, and thank you, Lord, for these blessings, these unexpected mercies.
Our trip home was flawless. Flights on time, and although we were on a flight I don’t usually like, it was fine. Sometimes on this late-night flight you’ll get a blow-hard or two, guys that want to drink and share all their insights and knowledge in a loud voice, long into the flight, when everyone else wants to sleep. Not this time. This flight was quiet, even the babies were quiet. Everyone slept. And slept. And slept. Perfect travel mercy.
Schlepping through immigration and customs was about as painless as it can be, given that it is a pain-in-the-neck. More travel mercies, the kind you can fail to even notice – unless these little things go wrong, so terribly wrong.
“Welcome home,” our immigrations guy said cheerfully. We grinned. It is good to be back.
We got into Pensacola with enough time to run out to We Tuck ‘Em Inn to pick up the Qatteri Cat, who let us know how annoyed he was to be left behind. We knew – from experience – that dealing with his annoyance was waaaaayyyy better than dealing with a traumatized cat at the end of those brutal flights. He is in great condition, maybe a little bored, but happy, and his fur is clean. Mercy. Merci.
Home again, home again. Our son and his wife had left AdventureMan’s car at the airport for us, and had left a delicious chile, vegetables and dip, and apples in our refrigerator for us, such a loving welcome home. We were able to drop by and hug the Happy Baby before he shut down for the night. All is well. Infinite mercies.
By the Grace of God, and in his mercy. I thank God for my believer-sisters, whatever their faiths, that keep me wealthy in travel mercies.
I had to take the Qatteri Cat to a boarding facility today, and I had a really hard time with it. First, when I got home, he was all stretched out in his heated bed. I had unplugged it earlier, and I had not filled his bowl at noon, and I figured the combination of hunger and not-warm bed would encourage him to come downstairs, where I waited for him with his cage. I had brought the carrying cage out several days ago, because he always freaks out when he sees it, so I leave it out until he gets so he can walk past it without running.
But this time, I kept going upstairs to check on him, and even though his bed was no longer heated, he just kept stretching and turning over.
Finally, I took his bird/stick toy, and teased him a little, at which point he was wide awake, and chased me merrily down the stairs and around the house until we got to the cage, where I scooped him up and popped him in.
As we drove to the inn, he complained a little, but he was lying down in the cage and looked pretty relaxed. I had a big pit in my stomach. I felt bad about tricking him out of his bed and turning his toy into a manipulation to get him into the cage. I know, I know, I am over-thinking this and feeling bad over not much.
So we get to the inn, and QC goes right into his upper berth, a two room suite with a special covered area for his litter. He steps right out of the carry-cage and into his room, and doesn’t even look back. We fill his dish with lunch, and shut the door. The tech brings out the kitty-treats and QC’s eyes light up.
I don’t know which was worse, feeling bad about bringing him to the boarding place, or feeling bad because QC didn’t appear to mind it that much, LOL.
Thanks be to God, it was only a bad 24 hours. I thought it was something I ate that had maybe gone bad, but I was also so tired, and so cold. I huddled under layers of covers, including a feather bed, and slept and slept and slept.
I worried that sleeping on and off all day, I wouldn’t sleep at night, but again, I slept and slept and slept. Woke up this morning to the Qatari Cat coughing up a hairball, and felt like my normal self.
LOL, at one point last evening, a plumber came by to take a look at some little things we need done, and he referred to “the dog sleeping on the bed.” I laughed and said “that’s not a dog, it’s our cat!” He was astonished. The Qateri Cat is a very long cat, with great big fur, so he does look a lot bigger than he really is. (He doesn’t look like a small dog, either, but more like a very medium sized dog.)
As many of you who know me may know, I am mildly obsessive-compulsive. I like things to be in their designated space. I like a clean house, down to the baseboards and the hidden places. I suppose it gives me some mystical illusion of control in a world where there is little (I believe) that can be controlled.
I believe my faith is pragmatic; I have learned – at least in my life – that God is in control, and that his plans are far better than my plans, although when I am in the midst of chaos, I have problems clinging to that belief, LOL.
But he sends me messages. As I have ended the old year and started the new year in a frenzy of cleaning out and organizing, I have come across lists from nightmare times in my life, mostly getting ready to move or settling in to a new location. Lists and lists of things to be done, things to be checked on . . . and I am comforted to know that what – at the time – was overwhelming, the details sorted themselves out. Things got done. Little by little, we ate the elephant.
As I came across notes and lists this morning, for buying this house and getting settled in Pensacola, I was able to take a deep breath. We survived. We got it all done. Lists and lists of details, and we got it all done. All of a sudden, things assume their proper perspective, and I thank God for this view of what my life looked like a year ago compared to what it looks like today.
We are settled.
I have friends.
We can pay our bills.
We have a house to live in and cars to drive.
We are in good health, and we have a good doctor.
We have a place where the Qattari Cat can stay when we go out of town.
We are registered voters, and have driver’s licenses and pay our taxes on time (insh’allah.)
We have a strong and rewarding family life, and activities we enjoy.
Life is sweet.
Oops. I totally forgot. I wanted to show you my Halloween pumpkins.
What? ? ? Really? ? ? Halloween was almost a month ago? ? ? Time just flies these days.
I carved my pumpkins only a day or two before Halloween because with the heat and humidity here – like in Qatar and Kuwait – pumpkins can go moldy and soft if you carve them too soon.
I was OK, except for the ears. The ears – even just in a couple days – got all shriveled, but I kind of liked the effect. These were supposed to be cat pumpkins:
Happy Baby is learning to feed himself. He does great with Cheerios, with rice, with little things he can pick up and put in his mouth. Not so great yet with the spoon, but he is learning to love BBQ:
He thinks the flash on my camera is hilarious. Other than that, he likes me OK, but AdventureMan is his favorite right now.
The Qatteri Cat has a new bed, and oh, he just loves it. It has a tiny heating pad inside and is just warm enough to entice him. He sleeps so happily in his new bed, and he puts his baby in the bed to keep him warm, too, LOL:
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Panama City Beach, but my sunset photos are in the other camera and I don’t have the thing to download those photos. You have something to anticipate.
Great breakfast this morning at Andy’s Flour Power on Panama City Beach, one of our favorite places to go for breakfast:
We hope all our friends who celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday will take it easy on the Black Friday shopping, don’t get too excited, don’t fight over those great bargains. Have a great day.
The Qatari Cat occasionally has a little problem with cleanliness and hygiene, and since we don’t know if it might be a sign of something serious, we booked an appointment with a vet, the vet everyone talks about as being the best vet in town, so caring. We’ve visited her operation on open house day and we were impressed with her professionalism and knowledge, so we called her.
It was a really really good thing we did. When it came time to take him to the vet, I just plonked the cat cage down next to him, picked him up and put him inside, before he even really knew what was happening. He complained all the way to the vet, but nothing serious, like our diabetic cat who hated car motion and always threw up and defecated when we would take her places.
We signed in, visited with the three little kittens seeking adoption, and then, our name was called. We took QC into an examination room where the assistant weighed him and stroked him and told him how sweet he was. He ate it up. He was as good as gold.
The vet came in, and took a look, said it didn’t look serious but that sometimes you see this problem in big cats and long haired cats, so they would just clean him up a little and shave his bottom.
“Hold him down like this,” she showed her assistant, and the Qatari cat cooperated. Er, well, he cooperated until the first vibration of the razor hit his hind-end hairs, at which time he did an instantaneous transformation into The Demon Cat From Hell, twisting, howling, hissing, trying to bite or scratch, little legs going in reverse, back writhing . . .
“I can’t hold him!” the assistant cried, and she hid her terror, but her voice trembled.
“Get the towel,” the vet said calmly, as she held him down with her two strong hands while the demon-cat-from-hell told her he intended great harm to her as soon as he could get free. She threw the towel over his head, which only made him madder and squirmier, but as the vet tech struggled and held the Qatari Cat down, the vet calmly continued with the “grooming.”
“We use these to clean the bottoms,” she said, pulling out those antiseptic wet-wipes we all carry around to wash our hands when there is no water around.
I just laughed. I have chased the Qatari cat around with warm wet cloths, with wet wipes, with towels . . . he does not like anyone messing with his bottom.
“Now that you’ve shaved him, I think he’ll be OK until the next time,” I said.
Trust me, Qatari Cat, when he is rational, knows I am the alpha. He obeys me. I can tell him to come in out of the garage and he will come; I can pat the bed and he will come lie down next to me. He knows my signals and he acknowledges my Queen-of-the-food-supply-and-warm-body status. Mess with his bottom, however, and all rational thought (in cat terms, rational thought, not our terms) flies out the window as the basest of instincts takes over.
Here is the sweet part. The clinic wrote us a thank you note for our visit. When it came in the mail, I was almost afraid to open it, afraid they would tell us that unfortunately, their practice is full right how and that they would like for us to find another vet for the Qatari Cat. Not so. It was a genuine thank you note, thanking us for our visit. They are totally a class act.
We have had some beautiful drives on this road trip, but I would have to say that my absolute favorite drive of the trip was from Lafayette to Baton Rouge. About 18 miles of the drive was along a 1930′s era freeway over miles of bayou and swamp land, it was beautiful, just lovely. I was driving, so I couldn’t take any photos, and the lanes were a little narrow so I was truly focused on the driving, but couldn’t help but notice the beauty we were driving past.
Our stay in Baton Rouge was a little noisy, there were LSU alumni gathered in our hotel to watch a football game, which is great except their children were running up and down the halls and screeching, oh aarrgh.
Another hour crossing Mississippi, then another hour crossing Alabama, about a half and hour and we are home in Pensacola! It is barely noon, we unload the car and go to pick up the Qatari Cat, who moans loudly to tell us how annoyed he is with us for abandoning him. Once home, he is quickly settled and happy again.
It’s been a long, fun, trip and we are glad to be home. AdventureMan is airing out our old carpets, cleaning some which our cats threw up on (previous cats, not the Qatari Cat. Big Nick. Morganna. Cinnamon. Merlin. We’ve had a lot of sweet cats.) There is work to do, bills to catch up with, doctors to see (oh aarrgh) and meetings to attend. We have to catch up from our trip AND we have to catch up with our ‘normal’ lives. The best part is catching up with our son and his family and Baby Q.
For four months now, since we moved here, AdventureMan and I have been looking for a good cat hotel for the Qatari Cat. When we are away for short times, our son and his wife look in on QC, making sure he is well fed, well loved, etc. but if we are going anywhere for a longer time . . . we don’t want to burden a family with two working adults, a baby and three cats of their own.
Seeking a good cat boarding facility in Pensacola has been daunting. The very best one we found prior to today had a separate, quiet floor where the cats were boarded, but the cages were sterile. There was one cat, who looked just like QC, and the veterinary technician said he was a BAD CAT, and poked her finger in at him and told him he was a bad cat. They had great dog facilities, play times, etc. Cats were . . . chopped liver
And that has been our experience, desperately looking around Pensacola for a GOOD place to leave QC. We have visited so many places, veterinarians, grooming places – cats in steel cages. One place had larger steel cages, but cats in dark, damp, smelly rooms, cats warehoused in the same dank, dirty place with DOGS, cats in steel cages, looking miserable. Honestly, how can we travel? We can’t leave QC alone too long; he gets really depressed and stops eating and stops taking care of himself. And visiting all these boarding facilities was just depressing. We would walk out with a pit in our stomach.
Today, we passed one place – it looked cute. AdventureMan said “you run in and see if they board cats” (it looked like a dog place). I walked in, and there were three women grooming dogs, and it was quiet. The dogs all looked really happy. No, they don’t board cats yet, not yet, because they want to do it right, had I ever heard of cat condos?
Yes! Yes! Like the Kitty Ritz in Kuwait, a place that understands cats, understands their need for security, for privacy in their litter, for some variety and some stimulation under controlled circumstances. We loved the Kitty Ritz, and we loved the cat hotel we used to take our cat to in Germany, where they had kitty condos and a cage full of mice that kept the cats fascinated for hours. Our cat loved to go there! They even knew how to give her insulin shots twice a day.
So we went looking, one last time, and we found what we were looking for, at Village Groomers and We Tuck ‘Em Inn in Pace, less than half an hour from our house.
The place is CLEAN. Orderly. The cat dorms are roomy, one room for sleeping and observing, another room with litter and food. Each cat has his or her own drawer with his or her name on it with special foods and cat toys and blankets – anything from home to help the cat be content and secure.
We reserved an upper dorm for Qatari Cat. It gives us so much peace of mind knowing he will be well taken care of.