Meet Arthur the Cat.
He's chronically stressed.
I'm sure you can see how stressed he is.
This is basically Arthur's life. He eats, he sleeps in the sun, he snuggles up next to me at night. And then he starts all over again.
Oh yeah, and he travels a lot.
And I travel a lot.
Which is apparently what is causing all this terrible stress.
When we were staying at the mansion at the end of the summer, Arthur saved me from 2 near-deadly bats attacks on 2 separate occasions. Simple as pie. I duck out while bat is flying around looking to kill me, I shut the door leaving Arthur to the wolves, and he apparently (though we shall never know because the door is shut) jumps up and grabs killer bat and brings him out to me within 1 minute, not quite dead. More as a squirmy, little, evil, present. You'd never know Arthur was a city cat. I was so proud.
But after "the bat incidents" I took Arthur to the vétérinaire because I figured I probably needed to bring him up to date on his shots. Bat rabies and all that. The vet took one look at him and announced that Arthur was stressed.
I said, "of course he his, I shoved him head first into his kitty carrier, descended 3 flights of stairs, walked half a mile to the parking garage, put him in the car, left him in the car while I stopped at the grocery, and then brought him here. He's not laying in the sun this afternoon. That's why he's stressed."
No, she said, look at his stomach and his butt. He doesn't have any hair. He's licking it off. Watch him. This is chronic stress. Has there been something stressful in his life lately?
To self: "Well, he's French. The French are more stressed and depressed than anybody in the world. I'm sure it's that French thing. You know, 35 hour work weeks, affordable health care, 8 plus weeks of vacation a year. French cats probably take on all that French stress."
To her: "Well yeah, but he's like that sometimes. He was partially plucked when I rescued him from the Cat Refuge. And he's always slightly bald after I've been away. Or when he has to go away. Or when the two of us go away together.
Have you been away much?
Let's see…this year? Ummmmnn…United States for a month, The Seychelles for 2 weeks, Switzerland for two weeks, England for a week, United States again for 7 weeks, Morocco for 4 days and, of course, several weekend trips. But he has really good babysitters. Lots and lots of really good babysitters. And he started obsessively bathing when we went to the mansion as well, and he was so content there.
"He's stressed. Cats are territorial and change is really hard on them."
Big bout of animal owner guilt. What have I done to this poor cat? Oh my, I'm going to have to find a better owner for him; one more deserving? I can't stand to do that. I need him. He needs me.
Then I looked down at Arthur, sitting on the floor of the clinic, eyes nodding in half-sleep, which is apparently the way he looks when he's stressed…and when he's not, and said out loud, "get over it".
Oops, did I say that? Yep, I did. Get over it, Arthur. You've got a great life, you've met lots of wonderful people who generally like you unless they hate cats or are allergic to them. You get fed the best food there is, you have your own cat terrace complete with wicker chair and cat cushion, and you rule over all the other roof cats on the block. You sleep under down comforters and on down pillows, you have a cache of kitty toys and occasionally bats to play with and you're the only cat I know that goes on vacation every year to live in an 18th century manor house with your own 300 year old kitty door. For god's sakes, we all refer to you as King Arthur. So…just…get…over it!
I talk a tough game, but in the end I spent more on that damned, stressed cat than I have this entire year on my own health care. We now have natural medicines to help him feel more comfortable and a lovely little kitty pheromone diffuser that not only cost me at the outset and every month thereafter, but also uses expensive electricity to release calming voodoo into the air wherever he may be staying or whenever he is stressed, which is, apparently, always.
As I exited with all my expensive, guilt induced medicines, I asked the vet if there was such a thing as a pheronome diffuser for people.
She said, "No, sadly not. Because French people could really use them."
ba dum bum!