TRAVELING WITH SAM & IZZI. . . the cats
I’ve never owned a cat before. My last two pets were Dobermans. They were so very cool. Smart, obedient, protective. They heeled in sync, sat down in sync and when they were gone I couldn’t bear to get another dog.
Sam the cat came to me as a surprise. He was abandoned at the age of 5 weeks. Sam has attitude. Later I added Izzi so they could be friends.
When I decided to move from California to North Carolina, most of my angst was over moving Sam and Izzi. Neither of them are particularly social animals because they have never been told that I am not the only human on earth. On the rare occasions that other humans appear at my house both cats disappear and don’t come out until the next day.
We started our travel rehearsal with a couple of cat carrier bags. I was careful to find out exactly what would be allowed on the airlines. Oh, you thought they would travel in the baggage hold area? NO, NO. NEVER. I actually bought a ticket for Sam and they allowed Izzi to fly free. Even though Sam had a seat they wouldn't let him sit in it.
Anyway, Sam and Izzi were not keen on the traveling carriers, but with a few treats and leaving the bags around the house and pretending they were new pieces of furniture, they eventually got used to them and even cased them looking for stuff to eat and toys I put inside.
The second stage of the rehearsal was a trip to the vet’s office. They had to be checked out, and I wanted drugs. Yes, I had every intention of drugging them.
On the morning of the move, they each received drugs in a quantity prescribed by the vet, just prior to our one- hour drive to the airport. Apparently Sam doesn’t assimilate things very quickly because on the way he ripped his carrying case and was prowling around my rental car and it was dark outside and I was driving on the freeway and I was late and I just went nuts. I finally had to stop and try to catch him and stuff him through the hole he made, but it didn’t work.
We had to get a new carrier. No, I could not put him in with the other cat; they would have killed each other. So, I missed the plane. I had to turn the rental car in and call a taxi to take me to the nearest Wal-mart where I purchased a new carrier, a litter box, cat food, and water bowl. Then the taxi driver, who was a real dear and trying so hard to help this frantic woman and her two drunken cats, drove me to a motel. He carried one of the cats to the room for me.
I was able to get the same flight the next day and the same taxi driver showed up at 4:00 AM to take me to the airport. The cats were totally stoned, couldn’t even focus their eyes, nor could they walk, and they didn’t give a crap what I did with them. It was all good at this point.
It was the going through the baggage inspection that things took a turn for the worse. I assumed they would simply put the carriers on the belt and let the cats bump along through the X-Ray machine.
Wrong! I’m a quiet person, and don’t like drawing attention to myself, but when they told me I had to remove the cats from the carriers, I lost it. “WHY?” I screamed. I had visions of a cat escape and running through the terminal after a drunk cat.
The answer was, “Because that is how we do it.”
Much to my surprise, Sam just hung limply on my shoulder and snored as we waited for his carrier to be searched for drugs and weapons.
Then it was Izzi’s turn. She wrapped her arms around my neck, her eyes got big as saucers at all those people, then in absolute terror she sunk her claws into my hair, which was long at the time and up in a bun in the back of my head. Those claws sunk into my hair and they curled under and there was no way she was letting go.
I tried desperately to free her claws from my hair as probably 100 passengers stood by and watched my contortions and gyrations and cussing. Yes, all 24 inches of my hair came down and was over my face, over the cat and I was really sweating at this point and grabbing at Izzi but she just hung tight. It hurt too, which made my eyes water and my mascara ran down my face with the sweat from my head. All the folks in line were really getting tired of the show I was putting on and they were grumbling. They just wanted to go through the detectors and get on with their lives. As did I.
Then, miraculously my prayers were answered and Izzi went limp from exhaustion and the drugs. I stumbled to the conveyor belt and threw her into her carrier and stomped off.
I really wanted to give the finger to all those people in line, but I controlled myself. Like I said I’m a quiet person and not given to making spectacles of myself.