The natural evolution of a story is one of my favorite things in the world. The evolution of the “Cat Story” has been quite remarkable. I will share this evolution with you now. You may want to take a moment to grab a snack and a beverage of choice. This story is rather long.
If you haven’t had the chance to read the previous post, “I Fell in Love in a Motel Room Once,” this story will be lackluster. Honestly, for this to make sense, the previous post is a required prerequisite. (I’ll pause here for my readers who have some homework to do).
As you remember, I left the story considering maybe, a strong maybe of going back to get Four Points, 4P, from Maintenance Marvin. I tend to leave stories with cliff hangers even if they aren’t really going to happen. I suspected this was one of those cliff hangers. Over the course of the following two weeks, I couldn’t help but think about 4P. I kept trying to shake it with extra Melatonin and an extra glass of Russian River Chardonnay before bed, but she had me tossing and turning at 3am wondering how she was and missing the playful spirit that she provided me in those three days.
I decided I would call and check on her. If nothing else, I could talk to Marvin and be reassured that she was okay. I called Four Points, the motel not the cat, and asked to speak with Marvin. Respectfully, the front desk clerk (same one I stumped with my questions upon my original arrival) transferred me to Marvin rather than providing me with his direct cell. I left Marvin a message, and I never heard back. That made me sad.
About 10 days passed, and I decided to ring up Captain Check-in again. I was a bit sterner this time asking that Marvin come to the front desk and speak to me on the Captain’s landline. He didn’t like that request and, to be honest, I didn’t like the rejection. In my predicable fashion, I called back. This time I offered them three options:
- Track down Marvin to talk about the cat.
- Transfer to me Manager Chris.
- I’ll call my Ambassador (fancy “stayed in way too many Marriotts last year” status perk) and have her contact Marvin or the manager Chris for me on behalf of corporate. Somehow those sneakies found a way to not do any of the three.
After this awkward, non-productive chat, Captain Check-in did drop a casual line that took me aback. “The cats all got taken to the shelter anyway” he said in what felt like an attempt to make me cut it all out. This was the first time I felt my heart truly drop to the floor. Why didn’t I take her when I was out there? Is she ok? How is Marvin? He must be devastated. What about 4P’s siblings and mom? Maternal Mer came out strong, something had to be done!
I woke up the next morning and frantically waited for 9am PST to hit. As the clock struck high noon EST, I tapped into the Google Machine and found the phone numbers for all of the shelters within 15 miles of the motel and started calling one by one. I quickly learned that tracking down an average looking grey tabby cat was not as easy as it may have seemed. I explained the way she played, the back of her ears and her intense admiration for frozen green peas all to no avail.
Finally, I reached an Animal Police lady that cared a little. We can call her “Cat Police.” She at least pretended to try to find 4P. She asked a few questions but also told me over the last few months more than 400 cats were checked into the shelter. Gosh, she was nice, but also informed me that the only way I could even attempt to track her down (should she even be there) was via her cat ID, whatever the heck that is.
As a final attempt, I found my way to the manager at the Four Points. Manager Chris was his name, and honestly, he seemed fairly interested in my mission. After 4 voicemails and 3 emails, Manager Chris and I connected. “Ah the cat lady… I’ve heard about you,” he said as if I was some wacko the Four Points employees laughed about in the break room. I knew I had to cool my jets and hold back my non-filtered response because I knew I needed him on my team. I pleaded with him that if he could at least ask Marvin if there is ANY way he may have the cat ID on 4P, it might help me track her down and would be greatly appreciated. To be honest, at this point, I had given up hope, but I knew I went down fighting. I also knew I was likely not welcome back in the motel for my future trips to my corporate office. I’ve had larger heartbreaks in my life though.
But then get this! A few days later, I received the following email from Manager Chris. You must be kidding me! Marvin kept the cat ID and the address and phone number. What a stud!
Immediately, I called back and Cat Police answered. She said, “Are you the Hotel Cat Lady I spoke to last week?” After a moment of internal reflection and acceptance, I said “you know I guess I am. I am definitely the hotel, well motel, lady but I’ve never applied cat as an adjective to myself…until now.” All stereotypes aside, she couldn’t believe I tracked down 4P’s cat ID. I would imagine in her job, albeit incredibly rewarding, this provided her a touch of entertainment and some great water cooler chit chat. With a touch of research, she learned that 4P was still there and that day was the first day she was legally available for adoption. Boom! I’d found her, and I was going to be a cat mom or so I thought.
I asked the Cat Police if I could put down a deposit and scoop her up in 10 days. This is where it gets interesting. She said she couldn’t put her on hold no matter how much money I was willing to put down. She simply said, “it doesn’t work that way.” I was shocked. After weeks of tracking down this cat, I was so close, yet so far away. She also informed me that it was “kitten season” (whatever that is, I mean there is a season? Like there is for apple picking or football?), and kittens don’t normally stick around for more than a few days. Oh and to add fuel to the fire, I also had to get her in the “spaying line”, and that only happens once a week AFTER they are adopted.
Boy I was in a pickle. I recapped the scenario with a condescending “help me understand” tone. “So help me understand” I said. “In order to get this cat, I have to have someone come by and adopt her, keep her there until next Wednesday when she gets spayed, pick her up after spaying her and then keep her for another week until I get out there on December 18th?” “Yes ma’am, that’s exactly right.” Cat Police lady said.
That’s not really her. I was too scared to snap a photo of real Cat Police. That’s the results of a Google Image search for “Cat Police”.
I was at the point of giving up, but I was feeling okay that I tried my hardest. I have a large group of friends in the area, but none that like me that much. As a last-ditch effort, I had a far-fetched idea.
Pleasanton, 4P’s hometown, was a pretty animal friendly and semi-hippieish part of the country. At Workday, we have a intra-company communication tool in order to non-verbally communicate with our peers. I thought to myself, “what if I keyword search ‘cat’ to see if there are any local cat groups that may be willing to help me?” Believe it or not, there is a Slack group at Workday called #cats.
“What the heck?” I thought to myself. I joined the #cats channel and posted my need to get 4P and the backstory blog post which you just read as your prerequisite to reading this one. Within 3 minutes, I had 10+ people willing to help. I was shocked! I reiterated that I needed her to be adopted, that day nonetheless, spayed the following week and then housed for another week just in time for you to fall in love and let her go.
Readers, meet Cat Saving Todd, 4P’s local hero.
Cat Saving Todd was willing to help even considering the strict criteria of the above-mentioned scenario. He sacrificed his lunch break, drove to the shelter immediately and adopted 4P on my behalf. I am dead serious. She was spayed the following Wednesday and moved in with Cat Saving Todd and his husband that evening. Can you believe there are people out there like this who truly just have kind, good and giving hearts? Cat Saving Todd kept me posted on her well being and kept her safe until I was able to come and get her myself. The transition from Cat Saving Todd to me was perfectish. We did have to lure her out of a few hiding spaces before we could get her close enough to me to hop into my handy dandy cat carrier. Cat Saving Todd represents a few things: good people, the power of company communication and the culture of Workday. The world needs more Cat Saving Todd’s, that’s for sure.
Now the adventure truly begins, relocating 4P all the way across the country. Mind you, I wasn’t a cat person. I was the muckity gal in the Sky Club, sipping a Prosecco or four while still being productive and non-social. Honestly, I am guilty of a few eye rolls to people traveling with their cats, ferrets or Saint Bernards. I am now officially the subject of my own eye-rolling judgement. There I sat, at the Sky Club bar with my cat meowing her face off. Mer had officially turned into Cat Mer. Goodness Gracious.
I was overly worried about my seatmates being irritated with 4P, so I brought them Starbucks gift cards to proactively keep them from getting catty with me. However; I boarded behind a couple with a full-grown Golden Retriever, no lie (see photo evidence). I was starting to feel better about 4lb 4P.
I had a middle seat. The dude on the window, slept the entire time. Literally he was asleep when I sat down and he was asleep when I deplaned. The aisle guy said he would let me keep the gift card if he could tell me jokes. I took the trade but after the first 45 minutes, I would have gladly given 500 gift cards to have had a second chance at the trade. He was a 70+ year old man who literally told me wildly inappropriate jokes for the entire flight from San Francisco to Atlanta. He did so in a volume that made me say “huh?” a couple hundred times. 4P was silent, never made a peep. Boy did I get gypped!
Needless to say, 4P made it home safe and sound and quickly became a part of the Foster Girls. Four Points Foster is now officially a Georgian, and we love her, name and all!
Remember to always clean your tray tables, and your paws.