Bonny and I have known each other for years, but it wasn’t until last week that it finally happened. That’s right: Pirate Annabel Bonny (her full given name) decided I was worthy.
As the owner of Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution, I’ve seen my share of skittish cats but Bonny takes the cake. There’s a reason for that: Miss B has been through it. To add to her painful history of recurring urinary tract infections, she has moved four times in the past few years, feels threatened by other animals and all humans, and has even attacked her mom. When you literally bite the hand that feeds you, there’s something seriously off.
Ever the dedicated and loving mom, Nicole has gone to great lengths not just to appease Bonny but really to please her. When Nicole is around, Bonny turns from a growly, swatting mess into a normal, well-adjusted feline. Nicole has even taught her to roll over and picks her up regularly. Sadly for both cat and mom, Nicole’s job in education requires her to travel a lot. That’s how I met Bonny in the first place and it hasn’t been easy.
It took a long time before Bonny would let me brush her, touch her, or even sit near her. She was certain I had come to the house to kill her, or at the very least, that I was the reason her mom—the only human she loves in the whole wide world—was gone. Lucky for us, she was food motivated so would endure my talking and general nearness in order to get her precious treats. And after Nicole and I realized Bonny needed longer visits in order to calm down (one-hour rather than half-hour), I even found she would play with me. We have now had great playtime with her interactive toy (a mouse dangling off a string attached to a wand) and she has even let me pet her between the eyes.
What happened last week? Well, Nicole was away in Japan for two weeks and had set up a care team for her princess- her neighbor Heather and friend Connie to check on Bonny daily and the professional (that’s me!) to come in every few days to provide as much love as she would allow. After the first week, it was clear to everyone that Bonny had entered a depression- she was barely moving around the apartment, was uninterested in playing, and didn’t even come when the food was served (as you can tell from Bonny’s extra poundage, she loves food more than anything else in her world). Nicole sprung into action and requested Bonny’s first overnight visit.
My business has offered “slumber parties” for quite a while but until this Fall, no one had ever booked one for their cat. Dog parents often find it hard to think of their furry babies alone in bed so my team has been spending nights with the pups for ages, but cat people know their kitties are independent and often book fewer services for their non-human children.
As a cat-mom myself, I’m guilty of thinking they’ll be fine when I’m away, but cats are just as much companion animals as their canine counterparts. And my cats, like many others, get their best human time at night. From crazy races across the room to frantic hunting of catnip mice and old shoelaces, late night is both their and my favorite time for playing. This makes sense of course; although cats aren’t naturally nocturnal, their prey are and they adjust their schedule in order to be awake when the best yummy morsels can be found, plus their eyes are well-designed for lurking in darkness to pounce.
I have found that the kitty cat slumber party is the same for our clients’ cats. The skittish Riley who we stayed with in October became bravely curious come nightfall: playing with his toys, with his pet sitters, and with his sister Raspberry. He even let us pet him which have been unheard of during daylight where he merely leered at us from atop the dresser. Raspberry curled up beside us and enjoyed our warmth at night, helping her to feel that her dad would be home soon and that his substitute would do just fine in the meantime.
So what happened with Bonny when I spent the night? We had rousing play sessions for hours. In addition to our usual play with toys, she got me to join her game of hide and seek,
we chased each other around the apartment (just like she does with mom Nicole), and I discovered her swatting wasn’t ill-intentioned- in fact, she was just trying to play the swatting game! I brushed her longer than ever, petted her on her back not just her face, and even worked up the nerve to pick her up. I expected her to run away as soon as I put her down, but she just looked up at me from where I placed her on the floor. And she even woke me up with a loud MEOW one morning to let me know it was time for breakfast.
Nicole knew she had done the right thing for her Bonny and got to relax on her trip. I was overjoyed to have finally met the real Bonny. And Bonny got exercise, ate normally, had fun, and relaxed. Calling all crazy all crazy cat ladies (and gentlemen): this service is for you!
Written by Sarah Covert, Owner of Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution