When you love your pet, it's hard not to take them everywhere you go. Just imagine their sad little face as they wait for you come back home, unsure of why you left or when you might be coming back. Taking a dog along with you has become fairly commonplace nowadays, but cats are another matter entirely. One Reddit user made the mistake of taking her admittedly well-trained cat along with her for a day of shopping with friends in New York City. It was only after the group's plans dramatically changed that she realized how badly she'd messed up.
When Taking A Cat Outside Goes Wrong
When you love your pet, it’s hard not to take them everywhere you go. Just imagine their sad little face as they wait for you come back home, unsure of why you left or when you might be coming back. Taking a dog along with you has become fairly commonplace nowadays, but cats are another matter entirely.
One Reddit user made the mistake of taking her admittedly well-trained cat along with her for a day of shopping with friends in New York City. It was only after the group’s plans dramatically changed that she realized how badly she’d messed up.
A Very Well Trained Cat
The Reddit user, who we’ll call Jenna, lived in a tiny New York City apartment. When her boyfriend brought home a kitten for the house, the first thing she did was strap her into a leash and take her outside, in the hopes that she’d have “a happier life” than she would if she was trapped in a small apartment day in and day out.
In about a few months time, the kitty was well-trained on her leash and so used to being included on the day to day runs that she’d nose her way into being included on road trips. She’d snuggle down in Jenna’s bag, content to snooze as her human rode the train around town. She’d also follow Jenna outside, careful to keep close to her.
It was, in Jenna’s words, “pretty much as good as cat training is likely to get.” That training would definitely come in handy for the day ahead.
Her Snap Decision
Though cats can be trained, and trained well, they tend to lose their newfound skills if those skills aren’t practiced often. As a result, Jenna and her boyfriend tried to take the cat out at least every two weeks or so, just so their little kitty would remember her training.
One day, Jenna made plans to go shopping with her friends, maybe stopping to pick up some bubble tea and cakes while they were out. Jenna was getting ready to leave when she spotted her cat crawl into her bag, looking up with, as she describes it, “I-am-ready-to-go-out-and-oogle-pigeons eyes.” Jenna was ready to leave the cat behind when she remembered, “Oh crap, it’s been almost two weeks! Ah, I better take her, or I’ll have to wait until next weekend.”
With that thought in mind, Jenna just picked up the bag, cat and all, and ran out the house to catch the train to meet with her friends. This, Jenna wrote, was, “Mistake number one.”
A Sudden Realization
As she was riding the train and texting with her friends via a group chat, Jenna made the horrifying realization that her friend Hannah was coming along. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but Hannah had a severe cat allergy and had specifically asked Jenna not to bring her cat around on group outings that she was a part of. Jenna hadn’t noticed the fact that Hannah was supposed to be coming this day, so she had a choice to make. Either she could catch the next train back to her apartment, drop the cat off, then take another train to meet up with her friends, or she could simply stay the course and pretend like she hadn’t brought her cat with her.
Jenna hated being late, however, and that’s exactly what would have happened if she’d taken the cat back home, so she just made a mental note to try and keep her cat hidden away. At this point, that was pretty easy to do. The kitty had gone to sleep almost as soon as Jenna had stepped out of the apartment, as she often did when Jenna took her out in the bag. She figured that her cat would sleep straight through a few hours of shopping and no one would be the wiser.
Unfortunately, cats often have plans of their own.
The Day Passed By In A Blur
The cat remained asleep as Jenna walked across the Upper East Side to meet up with her friends. You couldn’t even see the top of her fuzzy head. “I don’t know if it’s the rolling motion as I walk, or if she just finds it warm and soft with all the freshly laundered scarves and gloves in there,” but not even the busy New York street, the store traffic, or the Uber rides the friend group took woke that cat up. Plus Hannah didn’t realize what was going on and didn’t sneeze, not even once.
Soon enough, after a blur of an afternoon spent shopping, chatting, and dashing across the city, Jenna forgot herself that she had her cat with her. It was just then that Jenna’s friends made a suggestion that would change the trajectory of the entire afternoon.
A Change Of Plans
The group was complaining, good-naturedly, about their hunger. It was decided that bubble tea and cakes wouldn’t be enough for them. As they were having this discussion, they passed by a popular New York restaurant. Positively cooing over their good luck at finding a place, the friends piled inside what turned out to be a very small, but very posh, restaurant.
“Now this place is PACKED. The chairs and tables are so tiny that the bottles and plates can barely fit on top. The tables and chairs are crammed, in huge amounts, into a quaint little room so as to maximize the restaurant’s profits made while paying astronomical NYC rent. This place is obviously very popular and people are squashed in here, to the point that the door can barely open.”
Clearly, this isn’t the best place for someone to be with a cat that they are desperately trying to keep secret. It only gets worse from here.
It All Came Rushing Back To Her
Luckily, or maybe not so luckily depending on your point of view, a table was leaving right as Jenna and her friends walked in. It wasn’t until a waiter came by, asking for their coats and bags, that Jenna finally remembered that she had something on her that would probably be frowned upon in this environment.
“As I’m about to hand it over, I look into my purse…and a furry face looks back up at me. Crap. I forgot about my secret cat. I panic, say something about being cold, and run over with the coat and bag to sit at my table.” Thankful that the restaurant was so dark, Jenna settled into the corner of the booth, hoping that the position would hide her predicament from those around her.
There was a hook right beside where she was sitting, so she placed the bag there, hoping that the kitty would snooze right through the meal. The hook, however, was situated right beneath a light, which only woke the cat up more. Mentally berating herself for getting into this situation in the first place, Jenna shoved the bag onto her lap, where it was hidden by the table.
At this point, the kitty was wide awake and ready to come out and explore. Jenna tried to calm her by petting her from beneath the table, but the bag kept her from being able to comfortably fit her hand under the table. So, making the best of an already bad situation, Jenna took the cat out of the bag and placed her on her lap. When the waiter came by again to take their orders, the cat did something that nearly exposed her presence to the entire restaurant.
You Know About Cats And Curiosity…
The waiter asked what they’d like to drink and the cat, likely thinking that a new friend had arrived to greet her, decided to poke her head up to see what was going on.
“My heart is thudding in my chest as I gently push the fluffy head back under the table, checking the waiter’s face for any sign of having noticed her. I’m pretty sure this is illegal.”
There was no sign that the waiter figured out what was going on, but Jenna’s struggle was far from over. To distract the cat, Jenna grabbed a piece of string from her bag and dangled it above the kitty’s head. Taking this as a sign that it was officially playtime, the kitty proceeded to bite both the string AND Jenna’s hand. Cringing a bit, Jenna put on a brave face and soon enough, the cat was half asleep and purring on Jenna’s lap.
Right when she was just starting to relax, the waiters started up a commotion that startled the cat right out of her sleepy state and into a biting ball of fur and stress.
She Only Had Herself To Blame
Several servers poured out onto the busy, restaurant floor giving a rousing rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song. They banged on pots and pans, incessantly dinged a bell, and sang as loudly as they could.
“Whereas up until now, things were sort of okay, that was no longer the case. I sat there, re-evaluating my whole life and all the bad decisions I’ve made, as the cat was startled into full-on biting my hand. Despite this cacophony from Hades, she was surprisingly not afraid, just a bit startled and very awake. All I could think was, ‘PLEASE SEND HELP.'”
Twice that night, for two different guests, the waitstaff performed their loud, cat-startling rendition of Happy Birthday.
“My hand was basically a distracting chew toy for the cat until she finally fell asleep belly upwards, hugging it.”
In order to dull the pain and ease her nerves, Jenna had been imbibing herself with several glasses of Pinot Noir. In fact, she might have polished an entire bottle by herself.
Finally, dinner was done, the bill was paid, and all of Jenna’s friends were standing up to leave. Jenna stood up herself and was surprised at how buzzed she was.
“You know how when you’re drinking and sitting down, you don’t really feel it? And then you stand up and it hits you that you’re wasted?”
That’s what Jenna was going through at that moment. In her condition, she struggled to hold on to her coat, the bag, and the cat at the same time. She ended up standing straight up, still holding the cat in one arm, with her coat draped over it in a clumsy attempt to hide it, and bag in the other. In trying to get out of the booth, she knocked over two chairs and dropped her coat on the floor.
There she was, standing in the middle of the restaurant, clearly clutching a cat to her chest.
All Eyes On Her…And The Cat
A man had been holding the door open for Jenna’s friends, who were already outside and waiting for her. At the sound of the chairs hitting the floor, he’d looked over to see what was happening. When he spotted Jenna standing there with her cat, his face soured. As she noticed his reaction, Jenna also realized that while the man clearly worked at this restaurant, he wasn’t dressed as a waiter. She assumed that this was the owner and he was not very happy to see her.
Moving as quickly as she could, Jenna picked the chairs back up, grabbed her coat, and made a beeline for the door. All she could think at that moment was that what she’d just done, bringing an animal into a dining establishment, was highly illegal.
“I am so scared, I effing run for it,” she wrote. “I am now never welcome back at one of my favorite restaurants.”
While this experience probably didn’t end the cat’s outdoor adventuring, it probably encouraged Jenna to be a little more prudent about when and where she brings her cat in the future. After all, she doesn’t want to be the stereotypical cat lady, although she might have already crossed that line.