Saturday, June 14, 2014

I swear I'm not the Cat Lady....

People ask me all the time how I manage to travel with my cat.  The story goes that my brother's dog found her just a couple of days after she was born, eyes and ears still closed, and he called me to see what I could do to help the poor abandoned thing.  The first few weeks were interesting, and created an incredible bond between the two of us... maybe along the lines of ridiculous co-dependency.  For a while, I was putting her in a hoity-toity pet hotel whenever I had to travel... she had her own huge private suite complete with a massive window that she could watch all the birds.  But the staff always had an issue with her, and whenever I would pick her up I would find something like this on her door: 


So not good!  I'm not sure exactly what was going on during these stays (I know it was no fault of the staff... my cat is just truly co-dependent), but I hated that my cat was getting stressed out because I had to work.  At one point I planned a move from Miami to Portland OR, and I had no choice but to take her on the road with me since I don't believe in putting animals on planes.  So I put her in her carrier, found a spot for both the carrier and litter box, and hoped for the best!

Can't do a road trip without veggies and nuts!
After a while, she wanted to be let out.  So I let her out.  This first trip ended up taking ten days to get across the country.  And she just camped out like nothing new was happening for the entire drive.  I think I fell in love with her all over again.  :-)

Yes, I know the truck is a mess.  But that's what happens when you move.  Also, the blue thing is a leash attached to her harness.  I don't bring her on the road without it.  Safety first!
So this became our habit.  If I was to be away for more than twenty-four hours, my cat came with me.  She's probably been across the country more times than most American's have!  I would be lying if I said it wasn't stressful at times.  There are moments (long moments) that she wants nothing more than to sit on my lap, and those moments usually come at times when using cruise control just isn't an option for reasons of safety.  But once I'm back on long empty stretches of road, she gets her cuddle time.

She loves to cuddle between me and the console.

Hotels are another issue.  More often than not, I'm not ready to get off the road until 2am, when one of three things happens: 1) hotel lobbies are no longer open, 2) the hotel either won't take a cat or charge a ridiculous amount of money to let me have a cat in the room, or 3) there are no hotels around and I'm just too tired to keep going on the mission to find one.  Major issues!  But on the few occasions that I have found a hotel that would take my cat without asking for my first born in return, the time and energy it took to get my cat, her litter box, food, and water, and my computer and suitcase into the room was exhausting.  Being on the road is difficult enough, so to try to eliminate some stress I took to sleeping in my SUV.  At major truck stops.  With the semi's.  

The first time I did this, I was pretty uncomfortable.  First, it was one of those times that a hotel was no where in sight, so I wasn't prepared.  Second, I was in an SUV... at a truck stop... in the middle of no where... alone.  Wasn't exactly feeling safe about any of it.  But I managed a few hours of bad sleep, and realized the next morning that the efficiency of getting back on the road from a truck stop was so worth not having to deal with a hotel.  So now, unless I'm meeting with a realtor or client the next day and absolutely have to look 100% presentable, I stay at truck stops.  With the semi's.  And my cat. 

My beautiful cuddle-bug.  :-)

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