Congratulations! You have been entrusted with the greatest responsibility of your life: Taking care of Buddy the cat!
Buddy is a stubborn young lord who likes things just so and is accustomed to many comforts, so it will be your job to anticipate his needs, see to his whims and keep him content in addition to serving his food, cleaning his litter box, playing with him and telling him he’s a good boy.
For simplicity and reference this guide will be broken down into sections outlining your responsibilities, with a short quiz and essay at the end which are due no later than two days before I depart for my trip.
I – Responsibilities
Section One: Meals
Buddy’s favorite food is turkey, and turkey comprises the main part of his diet. However, it’s important that His Grace consumes a well-rounded diet, so you will be responsible for rotating meals in a way that will meet his nutritional requirements while also providing enough variety to keep him interested.
Turkey will be your lead-off and go-to meal, but it must never be served twice in a row. It’s also imperative to strike a good balance between poultry, fish and beef. See the detailed Guide to Feeding for more information.
Section Two: Litter Box Maintenance
His Grace requires a clean box, and it is your responsibility to scoop at least once every two hours. After scooping you should use the poop spatula to make sure the litter is evenly distributed throughout the box and smooth out any imperfections. When you’re finished it should look like an undisturbed beach without any dunes or ripples. This is important.
When His Grace is ready to use the litter box, you must accompany him and station yourself outside while he disappears through the flap to do his business. If you hear him grunting with effort or suspect he’s dealing with constipatory issues, he may require words of encouragement.
Afterward when he emerges from the litter box, you’re expected to clap politely and tell him he’s a good boy.
Section Three: Play Time and Entertainment
As Buddy’s temporary guardian you are expected to provide at least three (3) play sessions of at least 45 minutes daily. These should be interactive play sessions involving wand toys or balls. Directing Buddy to a solo toy is not acceptable!
Buddy’s favorite games are swatting bouncy balls and playing Mighty Hunter. The latter will require you to manipulate the wand toy to mimic prey. It is extremely important that you allow Buddy to “capture” his prey and simulate disemboweling it! Again, upon success His Grace should be politely applauded and told he’s such a handsome, strong and good little boy.
Section Four: Meal Locations
In addition to his traditional dining nook, in the warm weather Buddy sometimes takes his meals in his solar, also known as the balcony.
In that event, you are to bring him his meal and beverage on a tray and set it before him. Be sure to clear it when he’s finished. He doesn’t like tardy service.
Section Five: Sleeping Arrangements
Buddy is accustomed to curling up with his Big Buddy for warmth and comfort. Often, he sleeps on top of Big Buddy. You will be required to snuggle with His Grace and act as a substitute Big Buddy. Nothing can compare to the real thing, of course, but it’s important for Buddy’s well being to have a human to burrow into or sleep on.
Locking His Grace out of the bedroom at night is cruel and is tantamount to animal abuse. Do not be an animal abuser. Do the right thing.
Section Six: Doors and Other Physical Impediments
Closed doors are unacceptable to His Grace. Do not place him in a room with a closed door, and make sure you keep the bathroom door open when you make use of the facilities so Buddy can stop in and supervise as needed.
Section Seven: Proper Petting Protocol (PPP)
Lord Buddy prefers a soft, rhythmic petting pattern and enjoys it when humans stroke his chin, his cheeks and the top of his head. Do not pet his belly under any circumstances. If he bites you, that means you’ve erred and should promptly apologize.
Always take care not to over-stimulate him. If you see his tail swishing that means he’s agitated and you should stop!
Section Eight: Well-Being Verification
You will be required to send a daily email with a photograph of Buddy next to that day’s edition of the newspaper, with the masthead and date clearly visible. Your daily correspondence should also include a record of His Grace’s bowel movements, meals and activities.
II – Personal essay
In no less than 500 words, describe how you would take care of Buddy in my absence. How would you spoil him? If he’s frightened by a garbage truck, how would you comfort him? What do you admire most about Buddy? Describe your reaction to the honor of being trusted with his care. Provide specifics.
III – Quiz
1) You awake at 2:45 a.m. and realize not only has His Grace relegated you to only 32 percent of the bed, but he’s claimed almost the entire blanket with the exception of a small corner. Do you:
a) Go back to sleep.
b) Carefully exit the bed so as not to disturb Buddy, walk to the closet and retrieve another blanket.
c) Retire to the couch and let Buddy sleep on the bed.
2) You’ve just returned home after running errands, but you’re more than an hour late because of heavy traffic. You’re famished, and so is Buddy. What is the appropriate course of action?
a) Ignore your hunger and immediately prepare and serve Buddy’s meal before making dinner for yourself.
b) Ignore your hunger and immediately prepare and serve Buddy’s meal, standing at a respectful distance as he eats because you know he feels safer eating when someone is watching his back.
c) Ignore your hunger, prepare and serve Buddy’s meal, attend him at his litter box and play with him for 45 minutes before making dinner for yourself.
3) Oh no! A natural disaster! You and Buddy are trapped in the house without access to the kitchen. You’re left with only a bottle of water, a can of tuna and two Slim Jims. How do you ration your supplies?
a) Reserve the entire can of tuna, half the water bottle and one Slim Jim for Buddy, leaving one Slim Jim for yourself.
b) Reserve all consumable food for Buddy, knowing that His Grace requires a considerable amount of protein.
4) You’ve invited several friends over to dinner, but one of them mentions she’s allergic to cats. Do you:
a) Rescind the invitation.
b) Tell her she’ll have to deal.
c) Offer to put her in a room while Buddy socializes with the other guests.
5) You’ve accidentally stepped on Buddy’s tail. How do you rectify the situation?
a) Prostrate yourself before His Grace and beg forgiveness.
b) Apologize profusely and tell Buddy he’s such a strong and fearless cat for enduring the pain.
c) Immediately retrieve delicious treats, make an offering of them to His Grace, and beg forgiveness.
6) You need to go to work, but Buddy is lonely and meows at you to stay with him. What is the proper solution?
a) Take a sick day and stay home with Buddy.
b) Take a vacation day and stay home with Buddy.
c) Bring Buddy into the office where people will lavish attention on him and tell him what a good boy he is.
7) You’re watching a movie and Buddy is napping on your lap, but you need to heed the call of nature. How do you proceed?
a) Resolve to hold off any bathroom trip until Buddy wakes and moves.
b) Cruelly wake His Grace and use the bathroom.
c) Wake Buddy, present him with turkey treats as an apology, and proceed to the bathroom.
8) Your friend texts you to say she’s won a pair of tickets to see Eric Clapton, one of your favorite musicians, and she wants you to go with her. What do you tell her?
a) “I’m sorry, I wish I could go but I have to take care of my son’s cat.”
b) “Do they allow cats at the concert venue?”
c) “I’m sorry, you know how much I love Eric Clapton, but I’m currently taking care of my son’s cat and he is absolutely delightful. Thanks for the offer, but I’m going to stay in and hang out with Buddy.”