Even though I travel infrequently, I cherish a silly ritual while I’m away from home. I tuck snapshots of each of our ten cats into my purse, and once I reach my hotel room and begin unpacking, I display the photos on the night table closest to the side of the bed on which I’ll be temporarily sleeping. Lucius commands the first position, of course, and it’s a pleasure to see his frowning face almost beside me as I awaken in a bed other than my own.
Reversing course, en route to Houston, just as soon as the food-and-drinks cart makes its way down the cramped aisle of the airplane, I breathe a sigh of relief and say to myself, “I’m coming home everybody.” I know, this part of the ritual sounds especially ridiculous. But I also know that our cats are guided by their intuitions and instincts, and that they are on full alert to expect me home on a certain day, by a certain time. Perhaps they even can tell when the plane’s wheels touch ground.
My moral dilemma arrives when I approach the door to my home. I’ve got to stroke Lucius first. “Honey, I’m home,” I announce happily while my husband watches forlornly. He retreats to play second fiddle while Lucius nearly gallops to greet me. The other cats are waiting patiently, wondering whose name I'll call next.
Lydia will be upset if I don’t give an immediate shout-out to her. But what about Leo, who has been hiding in a closet for two days, too scared to emerge when I'm not there? And I can’t wait to acknowledge the adorable Linus, the resident feline/he-man L.B, and the innocently sweet Alvar. I check on Lillie, T.J., Perkins, and Miss Tommie in the garage apartment after I have made my way through the house.
Although one of our air-conditioning compressors unexpectedly died while I was away for the past few days, I overlooked the discomfort because “there is no place like home.” Mine will always be in steamy Houston, surrounded by multiple felines, and in a special place named Catland.
Query of the Day: Do you greet your firstborn cat first?