The worst thing about traveling is missing my cat

I’m feeling it now, that stomach-churning excitement of imminent travel mixed with fear of flying and…guilt.

janacek

Guilt has whiskers and four paws—meet our cat Janacek.  Janacek is a big, lovey fellow whose hobbies include shedding, begging for dinner, shedding, sleeping in sunbeams and by the radiator, shedding, sitting like a pumpernickel loaf, playing hockey with his catnip mouse, shedding, reclining on his side with a picturesquely curved paw, and shedding.  We adopted him ten years ago from a local shelter, where he’d been previously adopted, de-clawed, and then returned to the shelter.  It’s hard for me to imagine why anyone would adopt and then return such a sweetie pie it was because of the shedding, though their loss is our gain.  We are unclear about how he old is, though one thing is certain, Janacek is no traveling cat.  Janacek does not want to go in his cat carrier.  Janacek does not want to stay at my parent’s house.  Janacek does not want to visit the apartment next door.  Janacek wants to stay home in his own damn apartment and shed.

So we leave him at home.  Fortunately, we have help: my parents are good for for a few kitty checkups (during which they usually rearrange my furniture) and for the rest of the time we hire the world’s greatest pet-sitter.  My parents and our pet-sitter keep us up to date on Janacek via email and that lessens my anxiety, but still, he’s always on my mind.  I start to see him everywhere, especially in art.

guildlamb

On viewing Luca della Robbia’s Emblem of the Arte della Lana on our first trip to Florence I shouted out”It’s Janacek!”  You can appreciate the remarkable resemblance for yourself since we recreated della Robbia’s masterpiece with our own furry Lamb of God.

beholdthelambofGod

How do you cope with pet related travel guilt?

23 comments

  1. I miss our dogs when we are away….though until last year i had to travel on my own to sort out stuff in Europe and Leo was at home with them.
    Last year we both went to Spain and the man who works for us moved into the house to care for them…they know him well – he’s in to lunch every day – and he is a real animal lover, but it didn’t stop me missing the heavy lumps on the bed, the nose thrust into the hand when supper is late in arriving and even the three in the morning thumps on the bedroom door as the Alsatian decides he needs to go out.

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  2. You had live in pet care—now that’s classy! No guilt, even if you miss the lumps and thumps….

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  3. I have this same problem when I’m traveling. Every time I called my boyfriend to say hi and catch up, I would always ask how my kitties were doing. He thought I missed them more than him! It’s hard because you can’t skype with them or talk to them on the phone, like you can with people. It helped me when my boyfriend would send pictures of them, or tell me stories about their antics. But it never really got rid of my guilt. That will always be there. But you when you return, it will feel just like old times and he will still snuggle up on you and love your presence. It’ll get better, I promise!

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    1. Ha–I’m laughing at the idea of skyping with Janacek. You’re right, he does give me a big cuddle when I come home and that makes me even more guilty!

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  4. Ha Ha, no guilt here, should be the other way around, our three small dogs go to live with our neighbour, who runs a dog shelter. But our dogs get their own double bed to sleep on, and don’t have to share it with Mum & Dad, they love it, spoiled rotten they are 😀

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  5. My approach was to photograph dogs of Europe.
    They featured in some of my lists and then in a Top 5 tribute to city dogs like ours!
    http://www.browney237.com/my-top-5s-favourites-essentials-meals-just-odd-annoyances-and-dogs/

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    1. That’s a good approach and I see you found some cute ones! Have you ever been to Istanbul? I think you’d enjoy photographing all the friendly street dogs there.

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      1. no we haven’t got there yet, however we loved the dogs who roam in Pompeii and the African dogs in Palermo.

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  6. I am all too familiar with the feeling of guilt… I just make sure I cuddle my pet a lot before leaving haha

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    1. Me too, though I think he appreciates the gigantic bowl of food I leave out more than the cuddles….

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      1. That’s always how they act, but deep down they miss us. At least that’s what I tell myself…

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  7. I’m loving the feline lamb of God! 😀 I don’t have pets of my own, but I did once live in a shared house where you had to hide any evidence of packing for a trip from the cat because she’d pee on any suitcase left around. I guess that was her way of saying “don’t leave”??

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    1. Peeing on your luggage is that cat’s way of keeping thieves from stealing your bag!

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  8. We have one cat, Pinball, who doesn’t shed (much) and my step-daughter lives close enough to move in when we’re away. Last trip the cat slept by Christina’s head, which she never does with us! Pinball has never been a very cuddly cat, but when we get home, she even gives us the cold shoulder for a couple of days before agreeing to our ration of petting and head scratching.

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    1. Pinbal is a great name for cat (and how lucky for you to have a non-shedder). Janacek is cuddly, but just on his own terms.

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  9. Possibly get Janacek a friend? I go into conniptions when I
    leave my two cats, even though they have a sitter who stays overnight with them most nights. But when I get home, they barely give me a glance at first. They say, “Oh, you again! We were fine without you.” (Of course they talk). But after the first hour or so they become even bigger nuisances than usual, hopping onto our laps, jockeying for position on the bed, rubbing against our legs, and so on. At one time I had four cats, and it was the same story. Anyway, a second cat might do wonders. Twice the shedding, at least four times the entertainment!

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    1. You know that’s exactly what I want to do (and I even have a candidate picked out from the same shelter Janacek came from.) The problem is I don’t think I can afford another cat and I already have a commitment to take care of Janacek and his–expensive!–prescription diet.

      How hilarious that your kitties pretend they didn’t miss you at first and then get all touchy feely!

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      1. Yes, our precious shedding machines have expensive tastes. When I had four of them, they really broke the budget. Plus my kids thought I was nuts. My grandchildren loved coming to my house but I
        noticed some people stayed away.

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  10. No guilt. We have two cats…brothers. They love it when we go out of town because they get basically unlimited food and the run of they house. They get all excited when we get the “trip” cat set-up out. Plus, they’re cats… ‘Nuff said.

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    1. Oh yeah–the unlimited food is Janacek’s favorite part too.

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  11. Good point! I love coming home to my smiling pup after a trip. I always leave him with a family or friend that will spoil him rotten while I’m away 🙂

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    1. Aww, you have a smiler–they’re the best!

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