It has been a few days since my last post– a few days where suddenly our plans changed and instead of Brian and I caravaning across the country with all of our pets,  he and Beowulf stayed behind to put the final touches on our house in Seattle and I took the 4 cats and drove to Bebbanburg alone.

Loki and Katie Snuggling

Loki and Katie take a nap together.

It was quite an experience.  And by that I mean I hope never to have to repeat it.

My plan was to put a large wire dog crate in the SUV and zip-tie a smaller but still roomy plastic crate to it, end opening to end opening, to provide an annex of sorts.  I had two smaller crates located separately.  This is the plan we put into place.   The side opening of the wire crate faced the right rear passenger door, so that I could open the door and get access to the cats.  We zip-tied a plastic container of water to the edges of the crates so that they would not be knocked over.

In the large crate I placed a small litter box with a disposable litter pan inside.  It was all just about done when I realized that the door for the side opening of the crate could not be used because it is one that lifts up and back onto the crate.  No room to do that!  So I MacGyvered a cover using an over the door hook set onto which I put the unused door to the second-largest crate.  There was a 3-inch opening above the hooks that was not covered, and I decided that was ok.

I would come to regret that decision.

Off I went on Wednesday afternoon, driving to Spokane as the experimental and initial part of the trip.  I had given all the cats a dose of gabapentin that the vet had prescribed to keep them calm.  But for the first hour and a half, Stonewall wailed from one of the smallest crates.  I finally reached the rest stop at Ellensburg and put him into the large crate.  Off we go.

Next, Katie started complaining from the other small crate.  Fine.  Found another rest stop, added Katie to the large crate– now all cats are in the large crate with the annex.  Back on the road, within a few minutes Stonewall escaped from the crate, followed soon by Spencer.  As I had predicted would happen should a cat be loose in the car, they both got under my feet.  Luckily they did not interfere with my braking or accelerating.

Katie in the Sink

Katie in the sink at the Seattle house, her morning routine.

It was a while before I could stop again, so for the next several miles it was like being inside a box while giant beings poked holes in you and shifted you around from time to time.  There was not a part of my body that wasn’t pierced by claws to some degree.

I’d be driving along and suddenly my seat would go forward or lay back when one of the cats decided to play with the seat controls.  Once, one of them decided to open a window.  I was just about to give myself  a dose of gabapentin when I spotted an exit I could use.

Spencer Slouching

Spencer hanging out on the back of the chair.

This tomfoolery continued until I got to Spokane.  I cracked the windows a bit and left them in the car by themselves while I escaped to my room.

The next morning, after locating escaped cats and returning them to the crate,  I dug out the large grate that we had put in the car in case I needed it, and made it work flawlessly to keep the cats in.  Of course, the cats wouldn’t eat or drink, and even though they used the litter box very very occasionally, they also thought it was fine to use it as a bed.  Poor Katie had dipped her tail into the water, then into the litter and as a result had a sort of cast on part of her tail.

Perhaps I have conveyed a bit of the nightmare I endured?  I drove from Spokane to Rapid City, South Dakota and the next day drove to Columbia Missouri.  I smelled like cats and looked like a bag lady. I am almost sure I saw a pinched nose and slightly curled lip on the clerk as he checked me into the hotel that night.

The third day, 2700 miles from the beginning, I made it all the way to Bebbanburg.  I found my bottle of vodka, toasted the sunset with  a Poor Man’s Martini (vodka over ice), and thanked the gods this trip was over.