Michelle got up at 4:30 a.m., as she often does in order to get ready for work and hike out to arrive on time. As usual, I lay in bed a bit longer, half dreaming, listening to her move quietly around the cabin.

Spice, our cat, cried as she often does, mournfully, unnecessarily, almost as if out of boredom. Michelle chose to put a positive spin on it, then called her by a secret name:

“Are you saying thanks for the yummy breakfast, Cat-Who-Eats-Before-Me?”

Well, if that doesn’t sum it all up, I don’t know what does.

sleeping cat

“Cat-Who-Eats-Before-Me” takes a postprandial nap that will last almost all day (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger)

Spice has been the center of our efforts lately, as we try to find about a month’s worth of local housing for her while we travel in the near future. With one potential keeper’s successful “interview” of the cat yesterday, we think we have it sewn up.

sleeping cat awakened

“Cat-Who-Eats-Before-Me” does not suffer photographers gladly during nap time (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

In the past, we’ve had people stay here at the homestead while we travel but this trip bridges the seasons, from warmer to colder weather, which requires a lot more delicate operations for anyone staying here. We’d rather not teach the process to someone. Instead, friends will look in regularly; some will glean the remaining garden produce as it ripens in our absence, others will make sure no one bothers the property. We’ll turn off all the systems, and drain the water against any possibility of freeze up—we learned that lesson long ago (see Danger and Opportunity).

We’ll haul the cat out a day or so before we leave, and deposit her at the sitters. Then, we’ll try not to worry about her when we’re away.

She turned 17 years old in June. She’s getting on in years; there’s a chance she may not live through our journeying. But, given that my favorite cat, Lissa, died young years ago (see Remembering Lissa) leaving the less comfortable and quiet Spice, I have a sneaking suspicion she’ll be here waiting for us when we return.

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