My Travels with Cats

My Travels with Cats

By Harry Burrus


As I walk past the SPA cattery I’m greeted by Bob, a handsome ebony lad, who always has something to say, delivered in a strong voice from his high shelf perch. Bob ignites my mind with spinning movie cat moments, not in newsreel footage, but vibrant “Wizard-of-Oz” color. When I see Onyx, a similar recall phenomenon occurs.


CUT TO: I’m carrying Charcoal to a Cub Scout meeting two houses up from where I live—our first road trip. He’s never been out of the house. Mrs. Brown is the Den Mother. It’s a show and tell event. I show the group how when I open a box of crayons at the top of the stairs and spread them out, Charcoal separates the blue and yellow ones and flicks those two down the stairs after which he proudly meows. To their amazement, he repeats this cool act in front of them three times without a hitch. This generates a lot of conversation when we eat our devil’s food ice cream cake roll. Peter Brown, Mrs. Brown’s son, now wants to get a black cat.


THE FLASHBACK ROLLS: I’m playing the National Grass Court Tennis Championships at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia. I have Roberta, a black and white domestic short hair, and Natasha, a petite grey Persian, with me. The hotel doesn’t allow pets. Covert action is required. After checking in and casing the lobby floor plan, I return to the parking garage and position my beauties under my Burberry trench coat, appropriate attire for the rain. I’m a touch nervous in the elevator for the 10-floor ride to my room and am relieved when no one steps in. I learn what time the cleaning lady comes in the mornings, put the girls under my trench coat, and head down to the parking garage to wait. Of course, Murphy’s Law soon appears. Guests consistently get on the elevator and Roberta’s tail somehow manages to always snake out and form a question mark. Natasha discreetly meows, but still is audible. I clear my throat or mimic her voice. I swish my hand around and stick Roberta’s tail back under. Some riders frown with raised eyebrows, clearly annoyed, accusing me of bad form. A few toss smiles and tell me about their cats. 


When sunny days arrive, my camouflage is more difficult to pull off. I befriend the cleaning lady, which I probably should have done in the first place. This move works out great. She shows me photographs of her cats, Bella and Dimples, and Roberta and Natasha no longer have to be smuggled back and forth.


I invite you to make an appointment at the SPA to adopt one of our wonderful cats (4151526124, Los Pinos 7) ( Perhaps one will remind you of your own past feline experiences and motivate you to begin a new chapter by adopting a companion to share your life. It certainly merits a try. No trench coat necessary.