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Instructions for My Cat Sitter

“Frank is great at hiding. Do not look for him. It’s a trap.”

by Nikki Palumbo
October 25, 2021
maine coon lounging on fancy sofa
nikkytok / Adobe Stock

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

Dear Cat Sitter,

Welcome to my home! Sorry, our home! I obviously don’t live here alone, otherwise why would you be here? I’d like to introduce you to my cat, Frank, or as I lovingly refer to him: Francis, Frankenstein, Mr. Big Man, Stinky, Captain Stink, Big Stinko, Jonathan, Bubba Boy, President Stinkman, and Officer. He responds to none of them.

Frank is super chill so I doubt you’ll need these instructions, but just in case, Frank eats six times a day. His schedule is as follows: 5am, 9:30am, noon, 4pm, 7pm, and midnight. If you’re even a minute late for any of these, he projectile-vomits everywhere because he’s starving and he’s never eaten before and how could you do this to him?

All of his cans are in the cabinet to the left of the stove. There are also cans in the cabinet to the right of the stove. Those are not his. Serve him either a full can, half can, quarter can, third can, or one-sixteenth can. You’ll have to guess what he’s in the mood for. This is his game and there are no hints. Leave it in his yellow bowl and do not make eye contact with him. He will refuse to eat it. That means he’s happy!

Frank adores sitting on the window ledge. No, not that one. It’s the one across the apartment in the office with the bird feeder set up outside. He loves to watch the birds. I think they’re somehow his goons and they do his bidding outdoors. I can’t be sure and I’ll never ask. I’m no stooge.

Frank is allowed to sit, sleep, stand, and breathe literally anywhere he wants. Nothing and nowhere is off-limits. You should never leave the couch, except to leave or feed Frank. And even then, make it quick.

Frank is great at hiding. Do not look for him. It’s a trap.

Frank wants you to wear the long, blonde wig in the coat closet. No, not that one. Please just do it. It triggers a memory from his past life and he’s much calmer “then.” If I had to guess, he was married in that one and it reminds him of his wife.

Frank loves to play. He’ll tell you what, when, and how. I probably don’t have to say this but, let him win.

Frank is fastidious when it comes to cleanliness. Do not wear shoes in the house. Clean his litter box after every use. If you don’t… I can’t bring myself to write it down. Just don’t forget.

That’s about it! Super easy, super chill. I think you and Frank are going to be inseparable after this week and if not, I totally understand and we never have to talk about it again.

Oh right! Frank wanted me to tell you to eat this note once you’ve committed it to memory. We’re a no-evidence, recycling household!

Thank you so much!

nikki palumbo

Nikki Palumbo

Nikki is a writer and comedian. Her writing has appeared on The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Funny or Die, Reductress, the Google Assistant, and her folks’ fridge. She was named one of WhoHaha’s “35 LGBTQ Creators We Love” in 2018 and a Yes, And Laughter Lab finalist in 2019. She worked as a story producer on the YouTube Originals weekly music show, RELEASED, and wrote for the inaugural 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards: Unscripted, hosted by Nikki Glaser. Nikki hosts the monthly-ish standup show Queer Tiger Beat, which has been recommended by The New York Times and featured in Time Out.