We came home from our trip a week early, because:
Basically, something was wrong with Hobbz (oldest kitty and Ed’s one true love). In the weeks before we left, he had started peeing on the floor in the downstairs bathroom. We’d catch him in the act, he’d stop for a few days, then start up again. Nothing else seemed wrong – he would just very deliberately pee on the floor, then leave like nothing happened. He hadn’t done it in the few days before our trip, so we just hoped he was being a prima donna about the state of his litterbox.
Unfortunately, the floor peeing got a lot worse. Our neighbour and cat sitter both reported in that he was a veritable fountain of pee; hosing down the bathroom at all hours of the day and night. He was also being unusually skittish, wouldn’t let anyone touch him, and was looking pretty rough. All of these are highly unusual, but when pee started to appear outside the downstairs bathroom, we knew something was seriously wrong. We asked our cat sitter to please take him to the vet, which went about as well as expected: he fear-peed all over everything to the point where he had no more pee for the vet to take. Blood was drawn, then they were sent home so Hobbz could be put in isolation in an attempt to capture some pee for testing (didn’t work – puppy pads are REALLY ABSORBANT).
Meanwhile, Ed and I are in Lille and feeling like horrible cat parents and terrible people all around. We discussed it briefly, and made the decision that we would cut our trip short and fly home as soon as possible. We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere, which complicated matters – but I searched through every possible combination of cities, trains, and airports and managed to come up with a return trip home that didn’t cost $2500 each, leaving on Saturday. It was Thursday at this point, so we left Lille and headed to Brussels as originally planned. We’d get a day and a half in Belgium (better than nothing), then leave from Brussels early Saturday morning to take a train to London and fly from Gatwick at noon.
Brussels was truly lovely, but both Ed and I were really distracted with worry about Hobbz so we didn’t get to see nearly as much of the city as we normally would. We made the best of a bad situation with many beers (for Ed), statues of small children peeing, crazy waffle concoctions, and huge epic castley things. I ate a weird taco. Pay toilets are both awful and great. Tourists are fucking rabid about Manneken Pis, which is surprisingly tiny. A great gay store named Boris Boy reminded me of my long-standing grudge against women’s sex toys and roused my outrage all over again. I drank the Diet Coke I smuggled into the country smugly. Angst aside, we had a lot of fun.
I was struggling, though. There’s a 9-hour difference between Brussels and Vancouver, and our cat sitter would arrive around 3pm each day so I’d be awake well after midnight, waiting for updates and passing along information for the vet. We had to be at the train station by 7am on Saturday for our train, so I was up at 5:30 to shower and finish packing and make sure everything was ready to go. Worry for Hobbz, stress about being so far from home, lack of sleep, angst over cutting our vacation short, and wracking internal sobs about having to return to the reality of my work situation a full week earlier than intended has taken a huge toll on me – I am not myself, something Ed has repeatedly noted over the last few weeks.
Still, we made it home. Our plane landed on time, all our luggage arrived, and by 4:30 we were pulling into our garage, desperate to see our cats.
All of whom were totally fine (and beyond ecstatic that we were home).
The vet thinks Hobbz has a slight kidney or bladder infection, or possibly a stone. Most (but not all) of the peeing has stopped, leading me to suspect he was being a complete fucking drama queen because Ed wasn’t home. We had to collect a urine sample from the floor to take to the vet, but that’s happening today and we’ll get a course of treatment for Hobbz .. who, incidentally, perked up a thousandfold the instant he saw Ed.
I am trying very hard to be pragmatic about our melodramatic diva of a cat, but there’s a liiiiiittle bit of resentment there. I’ve STILL never been to Amsterdam, damnit.
I know we did the right thing, and Hobbz isn’t out of the woods yet. Still, I can’t help but feel cheated out of what was supposed to be a complete distraction from the last few months – it kinda feels like I can’t catch a break. I wasn’t supposed to return to work until the 17th, but since we’re home and I don’t get paid time off, there’s no reason for me not to work the week. We’ll also need the money to cover the extra train tickets and flights home, because even though we had trip insurance, I don’t think it covers pet illness or emotional manipulation via floor urine. I haven’t been able to submit the claim yet, but I’m not hopeful. And I feel just weird overall – I’m glad to be home, but at the same time this is the last place I want to be.
I’m trying not to be all fatalist about this maybe being the last vacation we’ll ever take because once I lose my job we won’t be able to afford stuff like this (not to mention this trip was booked with proceeds from the sale of Sparta), but I am REALLY GOOD at being fatalist.