My friend, Kent, just returned from a six month sabbatical from his stressful job as a trial lawyer.
I told him that our cat just returned from a three month sabbatical. To get her back, we had to have our neighbors shut the cat in the tack room in their barn when it went in there for food. That enabled me to catch her. She was sitting on a saddle when I opened the door. I had to be quick, and I am. She was captured without incident. It was Sugar’s good idea to stuff her in a pillowcase for the ride home. However, she seemed scared.
So, when we brought her home, we locked her on our screened porch. We put her bed and litter box in there. We feed her there. We give her water. They say it takes a cat a couple weeks to familiarize itself with its environment enough to consider it home. In our case, it is to re-familiarize the cat with our home.
I called Kent’s office and suggested to the receptionist that if Kent seems frightened about being back there in his formerly familiar surroundings, she might try locking him in his office until he re-familiarizes himself with those surroundings. Otherwise, I warned, he might try to get away. I did not tell her about the pillowcase trick.
I told Kent about the cat and our efforts to help her back into the life she once knew. He wrote: “I’ve been into the office once this week, but I instinctively alerted when I heard our receptionist’s keys rattling as she made her way toward my office, and fled. I’m not sure when or if I’ll go back. I’m wondering if I can spend some time on your screened porch to calm my jitters.”
I welcomed him. “Sure, Kent. You can hold the kitty on your lap and pet her to calm yourself and her. It would be a win/win situation. We can even fix up a cot for you on the porch. After all, she has her own bed. You can exchange stories about your sabbaticals. It could be very therapeutic. Plus, the weather is getting warmer. Your respective water bowls won’t even freeze.”
Gradualness is the key. Sugar and I are glad to help with the transition. Well, I am confident that Sugar will be glad once I tell her about it.