Boarding pets has always been traumatic for me. I have memories from childhood of going along with a parent to the kennel where our dog, Penny, was to be boarded. The whole ride to the kennel was pure anguish, as over and over I rehearsed in my head having to say goodbye. I would picture my best friend being stuck in a small cage for weeks on end - being apart was torture, I figured for both of us. I went along to the kennel so I could get every extra minute with my wonderful dog.
In the lobby of the kennel I would hold her, telling her repeatedly that I loved her, I would miss her and I would be back in a matter of weeks. I remember the kennel attendant once commented that Penny was picking up on my angst and therefore was also anxious. Before that point, I am not sure I was aware that my emotional state could impact the emotional state of an animal.
The time has come to board the cats. I have been looking forward to this vacation for a while now, and I was keenly aware that this time of parting ways for a time would come, it always does.
The details were all worked out in advance. The paperwork completed, medications, prepared and placed in their appropriate pillboxes, food packed, and one each of their favorite toys (Nahum’s string, Willow’s sparkly ball, Theo’s mouse and Rose’s fish), along with detailed instructions on how to care for each cat. All that remained was harnessing and transporting the cats.
Theo doesn’t mind having his harness on, he acts like he doesn’t even notice. Nahum and Willow suspect something horrible is about to happen to them when they see their harnesses. Willow huddled under the couch, requiring me to dig her out – never an enjoyable experience. Once out, she gently resisted in a very Willow-like manner while allowing me to complete the task.
The cats get boarded at the vet’s office, which is a short walk from the house. As I carried each cat over, one at a time, I held them close, peppered them with kisses and calmly explained what was happening. “This is your yard and right over here is the vet’s yard. See, you are not far from home. You will be staying here just a week and then we will come back and get you. Your friends will be near and the staff will give you some good loves.”
Seeing the cats scared is difficult, especially knowing that I am responsible for creating the situation. However, knowing and trusting the veterinarian staff relieves a lot of my angst. They are good, kind people who will look after our cats well.
I will miss all my cats, but I know they will be ok. Willow and Nahum share a super-sized kennel where they usually snuggle-up together and comfort each other. Theo will meow in his complain-y manner for hours on end driving everyone crazy and Rose will squeak her tiny meows, begging for someone to hold her or play with her.
I do like getting away for vacation and I like returning home to a house full of cats.