As we drive to Maine, I start looking at their photos on my phone before we hit Route 95. By New Hampshire, I'm sorry we left them behind. I'm sure they're already missing us, despite having each other for company amid the extra toys, empty boxes, and lengths of kraft paper strewn around the apartment for their entertainment.
They know we're going away when they see us take out our bags the night before we leave, when their big nylon play tunnel also gets unfurled. Possum sits on the bed and watches us pack, lying on whatever clothes are waiting to go into the bags. Toffee and Harris look mildly alarmed and ask for more attention. The next morning, Lion gets the last word by disappearing before we do — he hides right after breakfast so we can't say goodbye.
The cats do like our cat sitter, though. She comes twice a day, and plays with them and takes photos, which we look for eagerly, at all hours, just in case we missed some.
Several hours out of Boston, we stop to visit friends in Thomaston. They have four cats and we are so cat-starved by then that we are thrilled by any attention they give us, although they are usually not that interested in us. This year, we saw three, and one sat on my foot.
Naturally, we start looking for cats as soon as we get wherever we're going. There's usually an indoor-outdoor cat or two living on the Clark Point Road near our inn, and we search for them as we walk back and forth to town. For a few years we enjoyed a gorgeous cat named Ruby, who jumped in our laps at breakfast on the porch and joined us poolside, until she met an untimely end crossing the street. We still think of her often.
This year, I discovered a regal Maine Coon down by the harbor:
Instinct told me this was a female from her attitude and pretty facial features. I find that male cats tend to be sociable. She wouldn't let me get near her, sauntering away and meowing a warning whenever I got too close. This didn't stop her from putting on a little show:
How I wanted to stroke that fluffy white belly of hers, but it was not to be.
A few days later we spotted her again in someone's yard. She gave me a few more photo opps, and more meows, but no contact:
She went under the bush and knew I couldn't go in after her, so she posed nicely for me as I came closer:
And she was the only cat we saw except for someone who meowed at us from a screened window one day. Even that helped.