Daughter was practical and businesslike in her approach to the problem of moving. However, she needed to bring her cat. Lady Jane Grey is a great lover of food and a hater of exercise, which combined with her main coon ancestry has produced a large animal. She long ago outgrew her cat carrier, so I offered to let her use our medium sized dog carrier. Have you ever tried to get an empty pet carrier through the airport? At least six people stopped me and inspected the crate, then revoked my usual TSA pre-check status.
Eventually, I arrived safely in Burbank and retrieved the dog crate from luggage. We prepared to set off early Friday morning. First step was to put the cat in the dog carrier. My daughter actually did this quite well. She didn’t cuddle or stroke the beast in a manner that would alert Lady Jane to impending imprisonment. She picked her up and said, “Okay, time for you to go into the box.” What genius! She called the crate a box. The cat was inside the crate and the door was secured before Lady Jane could discover that the fiberglass crate was not in fact a cardboard box. Score one point for the human.
We decided that we could secure the crate in the car with the seatbelt. This process required that two women break their fingernails holding the seatbelt at its maximum stretch while maneuvering the lap belt over a lip in the crate. Once secure, we headed out of LA making good time.
We’d been on the road about a half hour when I started to get chilled. I thought this would be a nice toasty trip riding with someone accustomed to sunny California temperatures. Nope, Lady Jane wore her heavy fur coat. We must keep the car somewhere near the freezing point of alcohol so Lady Jane would be comfortable confined in a crate in the back seat of the car. My daughter drove the first stretch, and for reasons I couldn’t quite fathom the warm sun, which came up in the southeast was always on her side of the car while we drove I-5 north. I huddled wrapped my wool coat and a blanket and froze.
When the sun started to set, I took over the driving. Traffic still rolled along at eighty miles per hour. The poor Hyndai screamed to keep up with the traffic. I have to admit that the valiant little car shuddered and bumped over the rough road, but it kept up with traffic without too much trouble. The cat slept.
We finally hit what I consider normal I-5 traffic outside Sacramento. We slowed to a stop then crept along at five miles an hour just like in Seattle. That didn’t last long though, soon we were sailing along at a speedy twenty miles per hour. This is the point at which I realized my bum was in serious trouble. Sharp stabbing needles pricked at the tender parts and cramps ran up and down my legs. Being cold didn’t numb the sensitive parts.
Eventually we arrived at our hotel. I gratefully emerged from the Hyundai to discover that I couldn’t stand up straight and walking became a stiff legged shuffle with my legs far apart as if I’d just dismounted a horse-a rough riding horse with gait issues.
Once we fed the cat and gave her a litter box, I gratefully turned out the light and went to bed early with the needles still stabbing the backs of my legs and bum. Now was Lady Jane’s turn for revenge for being confined. She jumped on the bed. She ran over the top of me. She stood on me with all her considerable weight on one foot in my tender parts. She played hot lava as she jumped from bed to table to the other bed and back to my bed.
The following morning, Lady Jane was not about to be fooled by the word box. She hid under one of the beds. We coaxed and called. We talked baby talk. Lady Jane remained unmoved until both humans slid under the bed. I blocked her exit on my side while my daughter secured the sharp bits and pulled. The cat managed to wrap herself around the bed frame. With her cheek smashed into the carpet daughter slid further under the bed to extract the cat who appeared to be making an attempt to crawl inside the box spring through some loose fabric. I don’t want to know how the fabric got loose.
At last, daughter was successful at dragging the cat out from under the bed. Next came the project of getting the cat into the crate. Did you know that cats have the same movement as an accordion? Daughter put the head and front legs into the front of the crate and shoved on the back end. The head and front legs didn’t move as the accordion collapsed. Thus, daughter needed to stretch the head and front legs to the back of the crate before shoving the back end into the crate. For a few seconds, I debated which one would end up in the crate, but daughter eventually emerged red-faced, triumphant and too exhausted to drive.
We set forth for a second day much like the first except for forcing the poor Hyundai over a series of mountain passes at eighty miles an hour. The car performed remarkably well, the sun was on my side of the car, and my bum grew numb after the first hour on the road. All was well except for the occasional complaint from the pet carrier. Lady Jane convinced my daughter that she was dying of constipation. Poor daughter became worried and started an internet search about traveling with a cat. She learned that a cat could indeed spend seven hours in a crate without dying of urinary tract infections or constipation. One experienced traveler warned readers to not let the cat crawl under the hotel beds.
At the end of three long bum deadening days and two nights of the lively cat playing hot lava all night, we arrived home. Lady Jane once released from her imprisonment looked around her new surroundings, remembered she’d been here before and settled down to watch birds out the window. The humans might take longer to recover. My bum is no longer numb, but that is not an improvement.