Anniversary party (pet stories)

Stack Exchange has a Pets site. For its first anniversary, there was a meta thread that invited people to share favorite pet stories, funny or heartwearming or otherwise. I made two posts:


In 1993 I adopted my first cats, a pair of 10-week-old littermates named Erik and Baldur. They both brought many many years of joy to my life.

When they were about 13, Erik developed sudden medical problems and required emergency surgery. He came home from the vet's with a feeding tube and an assortment of medicines that needed to be given at different intervals. Bottom line: he'd need something every four hours, 'round the clock.

I work full-time, and given the schedule and the locations, going home mid-day to administer food and meds wasn't going to work.

But! We had just moved into new office space and parts of it were not complete. Specifically, we had a shower that was still missing some of its plumbing, so not usable as a shower. My manager arranged for me to be able to use that room for a week, stashing Erik in there and just going in when I needed to do stuff to him. This was neither a secret nor widely-known; people who saw me walk into the building would have seen the carrier, but it's not like there was an announcement. (Though a couple people who knew about it made visits to the room too.) I put a sign on the door saying "please don't open; find me if this is a problem" and signed it.

My (previously small, start-up) company was, at the time, in its first year of having been acquired by a large company. Large companies are not always as casual as the small companies they buy. We had, fairly recently, had a manager from the mothership transfer to us, perhaps to help steer us in the right direction in the larger world.

I only heard about this incident some weeks after it happened: this manager and one of our software developers were walking down the hall past this room when Erik meowed. The manager stopped, looked at the door, and said "you have a cat in there". The developer looked at the sign, said "must be Monica's", and continued walking, having given this fact all the attention he felt it deserved. Apparently the look on the manager's face was special.

At the time the manager had no reason to know who I was. Later that changed, but I infer that he'd forgotten all about the cat in the office. Or, if he hadn't, he had declined to bring it up. :-)

Erik was with me for 18.5 years in the end. After that episode he had assorted and serious medical problems that required regular treatment, but he didn't give up. He was the sweetest cat I've ever known.

Erik, an orange tabby with golden eyes, closeup

Orlando: Because I read with my butt, that's why

brown tabby sitting on magazines in front of bookcases

This is Orlando. He was brought into the shelter with about 20 other cats who were all living together under less-than-wonderful conditions. Now he only competes with one other cat and two humans, but he still specializes in being on top of things.