I'm still here.
I'm... getting used to it?
But first let us talk quietly, in hushed tones and with brows furrowed about a part of the trip I was dreading. There were many parts, actually, that I was dreading, but this one in particular I think many of you can dread right alongside me with sheilds raised: driving cross country with a cat.
Gadzooks! You know? Who does that? I mean, besides EVERYONE under the sun.
We've all heard the horror stories... cats gone haywire in the yugo and peeing all over everything in site while throwing up on the driver's shoes; cat gone sadistic and clawing everything (humans included) inside the lumbering cab of the moving truck; cat fast asleep who bursts to life the very second the car door opens at a much needed rest stop which turns into a fruitless 4 hour search for kitty who has by then run at light speed back across four states...
We've ALL heard the horror stories.
My kitty cat has a heart condition, so we didn't dare use sedatives which could 1) work just fine, 2) kill her, 3) set her into an opposite reaction of panting and hysteria which would then kill her.
We thought about the pheromone thingy that you plug in and is supposed to smell like nothing to humans but like serenity on ice for kitties. We found a coupon for it.
We bought it.
It could be just mineral oil for all I know but for all I care it was pure magic from the gods. We plopped our crate-bound kitty into place in the jam-packed subaru and drove out of denver expecting to hear yowling and horrible, screeching complaints. What we heard was a few whispered grunts, lots of kerfuffled disgust, and naught else. We even opened the door to the crate and she happily explored the seven inches of free space in the car that she had access to. She crept into our laps as we drove (and passenger-ed) and she made wild, wide-eyed faces at passing truckers. She was stressed, to be sure, but NOT hysterical.
She was... as best I could diagnose... serenely distressed.
The cat-oil worked. It was... it was better than magic. It was better than a snow day. It was better than the best sale-priced shoes that fit just-so.
It was Awesome.
Even at the hotels, she was nervous, but calm. She ate. She drank. She pooped heartily. She used the litterbox every time and never missed even though it was so much smaller than she would have liked. (trust me, dog people, you can tell).
On the last day, however, things started to change.
She was incrementally less pleased with the idea of being re-crated and re-inserted like a lego into our little car of chaos. She had previously, however, gotten over that resistance pretty quickly and settled in for a few naps, a few laps around the ever-reducing free space in the car... you know... cat stuff.
But on the last day... the day we had 150 miles to drive to reach our apartment ... she decided to set her boot-up to "batshit". Cat hormones be damned, she wanted OUT and she was going to let all passers-by know.
Which, by the way, was absolutely adorable to all passers-by. To us, not so much, but to the other drivers we must have been the cutest carload of batshit they had seen all week.
Kitty decided that she wanted to go laps around the car. She kersnuffled her way back between our luggage and the back window with no planning as to how she'd get back out. After what had to have been a VERY unpleasant amount of time upside down and smooshed between pointy suitcases and the back hatch of the car... she re-kersnuffled herself (yowling intermittently) back on top of our stuff and started strutting her cramped self toward the driver.
We're in 5-lane traffic by now, gentle readers, driving TOWARD Washington DC. You know, where ALL traffic is rush-hour traffic. She heads toward my beloved husband's shoulder. His left one. Well out of my reach. And decides she'll perch herself there, panting with teeth bared just inches from his face and about twelve miles into his left-side peripheral vision. She was not to be budged. Her breath fogged his glasses.
I begged. I cajoled. I pleaded. She just panted, teeth bared at me. She looked like the world's worst scary-pirate-parrot.
Eventually she made her way SLOWLY to my beloved husband's lap. She took her damned sweet time too. She made sure to flip her tail across his nose and point her little pink asterisk of a butthole directly at his face for as long as she could before I snagged her forcefully and jammed her back into her crate. She had conveyed her message to us. Now all we had to do was go the remaining 20 minutes to the apartment. Traffic was well past "holy shit" and getting into "WTF" territory but at least our little complaining yowl-monster was back in her crate. She clawed at the plastic. She pulled at the sad little silver bars. She panted and coughed into my ear (that's where the crate door kindof ended up).
We arrived at the apartment a little more frazzled than we wanted to be but we got there. WE had about a half hour of paperwork to do at the leasing agent's office before we could let our furry little tyrant out of her crate for good and it was getting hot in the car - so we brought her in with us.
She pawed, she clawed, she mew'ed with piteous sadness and those big disney eyes for the room full of onlookers. They were all convinced we had purchased her for snake food, I'm sure.
Finally, we got to the apartment and let our pathetic little kitty free. I fully expected her to stand full up and kick each of us squah in the shins. She did not. I fully expected her to hide under... well there wasn't anything in there yet to hide under ... but like, in a corner or something. She did not. What she did was yowl once, step onto the brand new carpet, look hard at each of us and the leasing agent, and give the leasing agent a buffling of a lifetime.
We were home.
She knew it.
All is well now. Days later.
She's asleep on top of the new Ikea computer desk and our funiture POD is due to arrive sometime in the next two hours.
Soon we'll have tables and chairs and sofas and books in here and everything will be where it is supposed to be. Not put away, mind you, just here.
Thank the gods, we're here.
We're all here. We made it.
and in hindsight, and with the blessed gift of selective memory, it wasn't that bad.