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Travelling With Cats

September 2004

Two years ago I decided to pick up and move across Canada, from east coast to west coast. 5500 km of driving.

I took my three cats with me. They are all about 8-10 years old and had never travelled before. They were quite miserable for the first hour of the drive until I let them out of their cat carriers - then they settled down and went right to sleep.

I drove for days and while they weren't happy campers, they were pretty good little soldiers. At one point, I stopped in the province of Quebec at a Burger King. I went inside and waited in quite a long line for my meal. When I came back out, my korat, Indy, was nowhere to be seen. I realized that, while the doors were locked, I had left the window down about 4 inches, enough for someone to reach in, open the door and steal her.

I thought for sure someone had taken her because I searched that car. I called the police-yes, the police. They came and while they did not speak much English, I got my story across. The male officer looked at my little Echo, piled up with suitcases, camping supplies, the miscellaneous debris of a lifetime. he got down and looked under my seats. I said "Oh, she can't be under there, my keyboard and other computer parts are under that seat. He said "I see eyes."

There she was, wedged into the tiny space left over from bottles, cord, keyboard etc. Never underestimate the power of a cat determined to get to the coolest spot in a car. I thanked them and left, the two officers probably shaking their heads about the crazy English tourist who thought someone stole her cat.

I stopped at several motels along the way and they were good-no escape attempts while being moved into the rooms. However, one particularly hot day I decided to stop at a rest stop in the province of Ontario. I put two of the cats on a leash and foolishly thought I could walk them.

They hated it and Thomasina promptly did a Houdini flip and slipped her harness, running right over the embankment into the bushes. I grabbed Neko and threw her back in the Echo and went looking for Thom. I called and called, climbing down the embankment as far as I dared, Xena, warrior idiot, rappelling down on raspberry bushes, breaking manicured nails and getting twigs in my hair. I searched and called her for over an hour and it was getting dark. I said "I'm going back to the car NOW and if you aren't in sight by the time I get back to the car, you can darn well find yourself a new human in Ontario." I meant it - a female driving alone, I wasn't driving after dark on a bet.

I was about 20 ft from the car when she pops out of the bushes looking so innocent. "Me, you were calling me? Oh, THAT Thomasina." I grabbed her and threw her in the car and lectured her all the way to Sault Ste. Marie. I got a motel room - the clerk didn't say a word about the dirty, broken nails, two scraped knees and twigs and leaves in my hair!

By: Edith Tippett

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