Part IV: Cats? What Cats?

Susan McCorkindale
4 min readSep 21


My son’s cats. Tanner, standing, and Trigger, in the window. Photo by the author.

When I finally got my son on the phone, after the two missed calls, after the email Rob sent to the jail, and after my call to the attorney, when I was still crying and shaking and hurling Italian invectives at the individual responsible for sticking my sweet, gentle, beautiful first born behind bars, the very first thing that came out of his mouth was,

“Who’s taking care of the cats? Why aren’t you on a plane right now to go take care of the cats?!? Mom, you’ve gotta take care of the cats!!!”

Not, “Mom I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to get thrown in jail!”

Not, “Mom, I didn’t do anything wrong! I have no idea why they arrested me!”

Not even, “Mom! I’m scared! Please come get me. I want to go home!”

I was totally prepared for all of those greetings. I was going to tell him not to worry, mommy has you. We’ve got an attorney. We’re going to get you out. I was going to ask if he was ok, was he being treated well, were any big thugs bothering him. I was going to reach through the phone and kiss him and beat the crap out of anyone who came near him.

But he pounced on me, pardon the pun, about the cats. I didn’t even remember he had cats.

It took everything in me not to call the attorney back and say, “Skip it. The kid can stay in the cell.”


Taking care of Trigger and Tanner (aka the cats) required getting into the condo. Since neither my downstairs neighbor nor my dear friend Sandra who lives nearby had a key, it looked like both might be dieting for a day or two.

But then I remembered Bob Sweeney.

Thank God for Bob Sweeney.

Bob takes care of the buildings and the grounds of my condo complex. He is, as my Jewish friends say, an absolute Mensch. Can’t lug the bag you overstuffed with garbage out to the curb? Bob will help you. Petrified you’ve destroyed your garbage disposal with a stupid piece of junk jewelry you shouldn’t have bought but just had to have? Bob will help you. Awaken to discover your bathtub’s become a lap pool thanks to your upstairs neighbor’s burst pipe? Bob will help you. And…