Recently I was asked to cat-sit for a Dutch lady while she was away on a holiday. The idea was that I live in the house for a month, as the cats ‘don’t like to go to other places’. It meant living rent-free for one month in exchange for taking care of two cats.
A couple of weeks before I moved in, the lady sent me a five-page word document. The first cat, Joey, has mouth cancer, so he eats diet food. The cats have their main meals every day at 8:00 and 18:00. At 23:00 ‘they like to have a snack, just a quarter of a cup’. Joey eats fast, then he waits for Pipi who usually can’t finish her food and he tries to eat hers. I should pay attention so I take it away immediately otherwise he will get fat and die. The water in four bowls around the house and yard should be changed every three days. The cats puke sometimes. If it’s just once, I should just clean it. If it’s more than that I should call the good vet. If it’s an emergency I call another vet, down the street. In either case I also call a third vet, who’s a friend of theirs, just so he can give an opinion too. They left me three vets’ addresses and phone numbers. Besides these vast instructions, there were also rules about managing the pond in the backyard, sprinklers and watering plants, a routine to scare off intruders when I leave the house.
I just got through the month and then I feel freed. This process confirmed my theory that Dutch people leave nothing to chance and are over-organized in all their activities. Now I have a Dutch girlfriend and she’s great. But I’m scared as hell for what is coming next.
Stefan Petrutiu, MSc Urban Environmental Management, Romania