Home > Family, Pets, Pre-aliya > The Quick Vacation

The Quick Vacation

I thought it was a good idea.  Even though we had a gazillion things to get done and not a lot of time left, I agreed to visit my sister-in-law and family at their North Carolina Outer Banks beach house.  I thought it was a good idea and I’m glad that we did it.  The trip forced us away from all the issues and gave us some time to just enjoy a few days.

  • Sunday: 6 hours of driving and a late hour at the beach
  • Monday: Beach, beach, and more beach
  • Tuesday: 5 hours round-trip driving to Busch Gardens
  • Wednesday: Beach + incredible thunder and lightning show
  • Thursday: 6 hour drive back to Maryland

We had a great time at the beach and Busch Gardens was a lot of fun, although it was too hot and the driving was a bit too much.

In part, I thought this trip would be good for the Tabby Cat. I really want her to get used to traveling long distances in the carrier bag.  Also, I thought it might be helpful if she has experiences showing up in new places with new people.  The cat plan went perfectly at the beginning of the trip.  I stuffed the cat in the bag and we drove to North Carolina without any real issues.  I was very pleased with myself at how well I trained her.

I was so pleased, I even documented traveling with the cat on the trip back to Maryland.

First, you need to find the cat. This is not always easy to do.  Cats know when something weirder than normal is happening.  When all our stuff is packed and stacked by the door, she knows it’s time to hide.  Luckily, she always hides in the same basic place: under the bed.

If I stay very still, maybe you won't see me

Next, I pulled the cat out from the hiding place and attached the harness.  Tabby Cat is very sleek and hard to hold.  The harness, on the other hand, is easy to hold.  This harness was the smartest cat travel thing I ever bought.  And, as an added bonus, the cat is now resigned to wearing it.  She used to go through all sorts of antics in a crazy attempt to get the harness off.  Now, she just deals with it.

The harness is now easy to wear

Once the harness was in place, I grabbed the bag and stuck the cat into it. Then, I pulled the bag out, ignoring the hissing and flailing razor-sharp claws, and jammed the fur-ball with teeth in the bag.  I have tried different strategies: head-first and upside-down seemed like they should work best, but cats seem to have claws in unexpected places.  So, I have found that the best strategy is to do it in two steps. First, get the cat seated in the bag and then push her head down while zipping the bag closed.  Pretty simple.

Sit, stay, no..., STAY!,... down...

Once the cat was in the bag, I was pretty much home free.  The cat might make a lot of noise and look really angry or irritated, but there is not really anything she can do about it (or to you) once she’s in the bag.

Two annoyed eyes peeking through the screen

The next few stages were not photo documented because the events happened too quickly. The cat (in the bag) was carried to the car and partially buckled into a seat belt.  Then, my son says something like, “What’s that smell and why is the seat belt wet.”  At that point, I realized that there is something the cat can do while in the bag.  The bag was yanked out of the car, placed on the driveway, and carefully opened for inspection.

I was even more thankful that the cat had a harness since she was covered in urine.  So, we raced the cat into the wash room (in the basement of the house) and tried to clean her with paper towels. This didn’t really work at all. Finally, we decided the cat needed to get a bath. It was her first bath. Purrfect. Warm water was turned on in the wash basin; the sound of water, naturally, caused the cat some distress — especially when I started moving her toward it.  Again, the harness was a very good thing.

I managed to jam the cat into the basin.  At that point, I realized that sticking the cat into the bag wasn’t really that difficult — holding a cat in a basin of water, on the other hand, truly is difficult.  There was only room for one person at this wash basin, so I was holding the wet bundle of teeth and claws with one hand while rinsing various body parts with the other hand.  This activity progressed without any real incident until Tabby managed to get a claw in the shoulder area of my shirt.  At that point, she turned into a world-champion mountain climber working her way out of the tub by way of my shirt.  That pretty much ended the bath.

Next stage: I was given a dry towel and wrapped it around the cat, paying special attention to covering up all the areas with claws.  Only after the cat was covered did I dare to dry the cat with the towel.

Finally, after this additional 30 minute delay, we really needed to leave.  The cat carrier had been cleaned, but it was still somewhat wet. I didn’t have the heart to put her back in the bag again, so the cat was able to ride home without the carrier.

The best way to travel - purrfect

I really hope we haven’t taught Tabby a strategy for traveling without the cat carrier, because the next trip is the one that really counts.

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  1. LJC
    2010-08-15 at 5:37 pm

    Ah, grasshopper, there is a MUCH worse smell that can emanate from a cat carrier… One of mine had a bodily function which took place within minutes of the carrier leaving the house… Do you know what it’s like to tool down the road in a driving snowstorm to get to the vet’s with the windows wide open so you don’t puke???? Extra towels (yes, even your best towels become disposable after these trips) are a good thing… might want to pack some baby wipes for that plane trip!!! A little Febreeze… some clothespins for your nose…

    I’m thinking good thoughts for you!

  2. Dad
    2010-08-15 at 5:47 pm

    Why do you torture that poor mollygrinder?

  3. 2010-08-15 at 9:15 pm

    She enjoys the attention.

  4. LJC
    2010-08-16 at 1:07 am

    I’m just sayin’ …..

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