Travel Tips & Tales from TCM Readers (Pt 1)
A lot of readers were kind enough to share their stories about traveling with their cats during our recent series on Traveling with Your Cat. Today and tomorrow I'll be sharing those stories with you.
I heart Rosie and Cheeto! Hoo knew dey wuz so wurldly!
Mai sistur, Luna, refused to drink oar use the litterbox on the furst leg uv their move from NY to SD, so she spent the whole first nite in the hotel drinking and turning the clumpy litter into one giant boulder, and in between, guarding the door standing liek a meerkat.
Teh next day in teh car she slept all day.
One of the best things about getting reader input is in discovering things that never occurred to me. Like training your cat to brace himself when going around corners.
Sue clued me in to the "Here we Go!" trick:
"The trick is to start small - drive your kitty around the block, etc... then work up to longer trips. My kitty just made a round trip to/from Denver and went on a plane! He was purrfect - no meows, no clawing, just sleeping and purring. He is the purrfect traveler.
When we drive to the vet, he knows how to brace himself in his carrier so he will not fall down when we go around the corners! I taught him this by placing my hand in the carrier and supporting him, then saying "here we go!" and bracing his body for him. Now, whenever I say "here we go!" when we are driving, he braces himself against the carrier! No kidding! He's smart!"
Gandolf is a veteran Florida-to-Midwest Traveler. His mom Sheryl wrote:
I have an older Manx, Gandolf, born 3/1/01 who has traveled with me and on occasion with my grandsons and my adult children on many trips from Florida to the Mid-West. Since he is an epilepsy medical companion he has also gone via plane domestically on Airtran but doesn't like the noise of the engines very much.
The most memorable trip was in 2005 when I drove from Sarasota FL to Moline IL for my 30 year class reunion. This was suppose to have been a trip just for myself and of course Gandolf, but at the last minute (and I mean a couple of hours before I left) my grandson's mother decided that she needed me to take Nathan, then age 2, with me! Well Gandolf and I adjusted our plans and packed Nate's things and we set off in my Mazda for Illinois. I had packed a quilt and pillow for Nate so he would feel comforted by home things on the long trip so we secured his car seat on top of them with an extra strap so that he would be able to see out of the windows as we traveled the long distance. Gandolf had his travel litter and food/water things on the floor in the back and once we got on the road Gandolf was allowed out of his containment to sit with Nate. He sat quietly on Nate's lap and purred and they both slept most of the trip, even during the awful traffic jam outside Atlanta that took us 4 hours to negotiate. Gandolf sat in the car and patiently waited while I went to my class reunion (Nathan stayed with his Aunt). He was very sociable with all of my friends and relatives that we visited while in Illinois and we calmly packed back up at the end of our 10 days and headed back to Florida and all was well.
The second memorable trip was the trip we made from Florida to Iowa this January. My husband was diagnosed with a rare disorder and required treatment at University of Iowa Hospital so I packed up our meager belongings in a rental truck, signed the house over to my sons, put Steve, my husband, and Gandolf in the truck and off we went to the cold north.....he doesn't appreciate the cold weather though and has decided that "kitty in the blanket" is a good thing and will crawl under the blanket next to me so he can stay warm.
The illness caused my husband to lose more than 100lbs and he was completely catatonic the entire trip. My feline companion made sure that I was aware of the medical condition of my other companion. If Gandolf felt that there was some issue with Steve he would insist that I attend to it before we could continue with our travel. We are now living in Iowa so we can be close to University Hospital and Gandolf does his very best to take care of both of us now, but he still likes to get in the car and go....a couple of weeks ago we went to visit with friends about 30 miles from here and they have a small bar in their home. Gandolf made sure that everyone was on their best behavior.
Peggy told a hilarious cat sitting tale of woe:
I have a 16 lb., extremely spoiled, male Bengal , who walks on a leash and loves golf cart rides.
I had to leave and hired a gentleman to come to my home and take care of him for a week. My request of him was to take "Chin Chin" out on his leash everyday and let him watch birds and be sure he had golf cart rides.
Calling home each day, I was told all was well.
Upon returning home, my "sitter" picked me up at the airport and seemed strangely eager to get away from me when he drove to my driveway. I handed him his $500 and he told me it was the worse week he had ever had.
I asked why and he replied that he took Chin Chin out each morning at 9 and it was really difficult to stay outside and wait on him to watch birds until about 4 or 5pm and that he hoped he never saw another golf cart because Chin Chin hopped on it 5 or 6 times during that period and he had put many miles on that cart. He said he would appreciate my getting another sitter next time.
Such is the power "Chin Chin" has over people to force them into obedience.
The only time we've stayed away from home for even a night was a few years ago. The house needed flea-bombing, so Mommy and Daddy arranged for one of their friends to take us for a night so they could treat the house and let it air out completely.
Mommy and Daddy put us in carriers and a bag (Tabby & Carbon in one carrier, Skylar in his own carrier, and Lydia in a backpack that she preferred over a traditional carrier) and took us, with toys and a litter box, over to the friend's. The two resident cats inspected us, and were very nice to us, then we were introduced to the spare room and shown our litter box. Mommy and Daddy said goodbye and told us they'd be back for us the next day, gave us hugs and kisses, then left.
The lady was very kind to us. She fed us on our schedule, made sure to lock the resident cats out of the room so we had it all to ourselves, and even came in to play with us. We explored every corner of our temporary digs, finding the empty packing boxes and the deep closet.
When Mommy and Daddy came back the next day, they were so happy to see us and we were very happy to see them. We all started purring and ran to greet them. They realized that we hadn't used our litter box at all during the time we'd been there, but as soon as they came all of us hopped in and used it! Then, they collected us all, even after Lydia ran into the deep closet and they had to step in there to get her. She wanted to stay!
Top and bottom photos are of Ansel, whose owner says, "Ansel travels like a complete rock star. We made three trips between California and Texas, plus several other trips for work in 2007."
Looks to us like Ansel's a Road Warrior, too.
Don't miss Part 2 tomorrow!