Posted in Family, Personal life

Where Do Cats Go For Their Summer Holidays?

The calico cat and its new bed
The calico cat and the lesser-spotted girl

Like most parents of school-age children, I’m counting down the days till the end of term. I can’t wait to ditch the school-run/clubs/homework routine in favour of the anarchy that is the school summer holiday. But planning for the holidays this summer will be more complicated, because we now have a cat.

Dorothy Purrkins, as my daughter christened her, moved in on the snowiest day in January. An adaptable, sociable animal, she’d go with the flow, whatever our chaotic household threw at her. So quickly did she adjust to our routines that I wondered whether she’d previously had us under surveillance.

When other cats entered “her” garden, she’d chase them off her territory with gusto. When we had human visitors, she’d greet them on equal terms, confident that they would be pleased to see her (which they always were).

The Mona Lisa.
Like Mona Lisa’s, Dorothy’s eyes follow us around the room. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After six months in residence, she’s calling the shots. When her food bowl is empty, she sits next to it, politely but firmly pinning me with a laser-like look until we replenish it. After an outing to the garden, she stands on the window-ledge staring with the intensity only a cat can muster until we open the window to let her in. Seated companionably in the sitting room of an evening, her eyes follow us proprietorially around the room. We should have called her Mona Lisa.

But what will happen when we go away to Scotland in the summer? I worry that, thinking we’ve abandoned her, she’ll move on in search of a more dependable home. I could send her to a cattery for the duration, but a cat with a huge rural territory would not enjoy a fortnight penned indoors. Even with a kind friend happy to feed her while we’re away, it’s a tough call.

Monarch of the Glen, Edwin Landseer, 1851
It’s a pity Landseer didn’t have a cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or so I thought until this morning. After despatching husband and daughter on the school run, I was standing quietly in the utility room, enjoying a calming cup of tea before work. Dorothy Purrkins sauntered confidently past my feet, heading for the cat flap. Strolling leisurely up the garden path, she chose the best vantage point before settling down on the lawn, surveying her territory. She was a tortoiseshell Monarch of the Glen. Spoiled for choice by the many pleasurable opportunities that the garden held in store, she lay quietly considering her options. Snooze in the hammock in the shade? Warm up with a sunbathe in the greenhouse? Gaze at bits of blossom falling from the fruit trees? Chase butterflies fluttering around the gooseberry bush? Sprawl on the patio, absorbing the sun’s heat stored in the stone paving slabs?

Whatever was on her agenda, Dorothy Purrkins looked utterly contented with the prospect. And so my decision was made: for her it will be a holiday at home. In fact, I might even join her. Who needs travel anyway?

The calico cat on a cushion
As Dorothy always says, there’s no place like home

This post was originally published in the Tetbury Advertiser, July 2013

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Author:

Optimistic author, blogger, journalist, book reviewer and public speaker whose life revolves around books. Her first love is writing fiction, including the new Sophie Sayers Village Mystery novels (out 2017), short stories and essays inspired by her life in an English village. She also writes how-to books for authors and books about living with Type 1 diabetes. She is Author Advice Centre Editor and and UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) Advice Centre blog, an ambassador for the children's reading charity Readathon, and an official speaker for the diabetes research charity JDRF.

6 thoughts on “Where Do Cats Go For Their Summer Holidays?

  1. I just love how animals ‘find’ us and then become so much a part of our household you’d think they’d always been there. I think everyone should have a furry creature in their home. It’s a strategy for world peace. Dorothy’s gorgeous, and she’s lucky to have found you and your family.

    1. I consciously didn’t seek one out, despite wanting to have a cat again; I knew if I waited long enough one would find me! I think you’re on to something with world peace there, by the way – Dorothy is definitely a calming influence in our household!

  2. We have the same problem with The Toof, Debbie. We’ve now had him 7 years and we are both totally under the paw. We used to take him with us when we had a camper van but since we sold it we now only go out for days or I leave the husband at home to look after him when I go to my son’s.
    It is getting beyond a joke and we need to learn to take him to a cattery. We left him in one once to go away to a funeral and he looked so cowed and beaten that we haven’t been able to do it since.
    And it’s just as hard to leave him home alone with a neighbour feeding him as he is such a people person he just goes next door and moves in with them!
    A house sitter is the answer I think …

    1. I know where you’re coming from,Angela – sometimes it does feel like the cats own us, rather than the other way around! Can’t imagine your cat ever leaving home though if you go away – it sounds like he has got you too well trained to easily replace you!

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