I’m fortunate that I often have someone else to go with me when Cupcake and I go on outings. It makes a huge difference. I recently had a a few solo outings with Cupcake and was reminded there’s a lot more to things when it’s just the two of us.
Getting Food or Drink
Cupcake’s favorite coffee shop doesn’t have a drive-thru window, so when she and I are out alone, we have to figure out how to get an order from inside the coffee shop to the patio. Normally, I wait outside with Cupcake while a friend orders for us, but that’s not possible when there isn’t a friend along for the outing.
My options at that point aren’t the best. I can’t very well leave her outside by herself, even in her carrier. There are too many chances for people with inconsiderate dogs to wander by. On the other hand, the coffee shop has a no pets sign. It’s a health department rule, and I want to respect that. Usually, I end up carrying her inside in her carrier and retreat outside with her as soon as I have my drink and her whipped cream.
Another of Cupcake’s weekend activities is accompanying me to pet-friendly shops. This is so much easier when I have someone else along.
When Cupcake was younger, she used to enjoy riding in the shopping cart. Once she reached a certain age, the princess decided she wanted to be carried. Carrying a cat while also pushing a cart one-handed is a bit of a trick, especially when you get that shopping cart that decides it doesn’t want to go around corners smoothly.
On one shopping trip, I figured out I could use my hip to bump the reluctant shopping cart around the corners, which was a big help. Then Cupcake draped her tail down by my hip and it got pinched between my body and the the cart. Talk about a cat shopping fail!
When Cupcake wants to walk in the store, that presents its own challenges. I can drag the cart behind us, or I can leave it and hope no one thinks I abandoned it in the aisle.
Cupcake is rarely on her best behavior if I put her on the checkout counter, so I try not to do that. She isn’t ready to go back in her carrier yet, either. That can make it challenging to dig out my credit card to pay for purchases from our shopping if I don’t plan ahead and make sure it’s readily accessible in my pocket.
Never Enough Hands
I don’t like to use the shoulder strap for Cupcake’s carrier unless she isn’t in it. She is always more restless in the bag when I use the shoulder strap, and it feels like the carrier bumps along against my body instead of being carried smooth and level. Other people seem to use a shoulder strap with a carrier fine, so maybe I walk funny.
My not using the carrier shoulder strap means no matter where we are, it’s one hand for her, one hand for me. I can solve this most of the time by using a backpack to carry her necessary stuff, but it only takes one additional complication to make me run out of hands. I noticed this immediately when it started raining and I had to carry Cupcake’s carrier under an umbrella. When I reached the car, I was momentarily stumped about how to proceed without putting her carrier down on the wet pavement. Finally, I opted to hold the umbrella semi-sideways under chin so I could get to my car keys and unlock the door.
All of these little details have made me really grateful for having extra hands so often. It has also made me admire those of you who make solo trips with your cats all the time. Those little details are a lot more work than they seem!