Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cats On A Plane

Well the biggest hurtles of the move are over. Yes, it was a little touch and go for a few days. Kinda Charlie Brown Christmas feeling, in the "CAN'T ANYTHING GO RIGHT IN MY LIFE?!" milieu. There might as well have been a little droopy tree with a red ornament. There was definitely walking like this:

But I'm in San Francisco! And Regina is in San Francisco! And all of the trees are's very weird. It feels like the Land That Time Forgot. How do you mark the passage of time here? Wrinkles? I mean, would anyone ever know it was fall if they didn't change the coffee and beer flavors?

Anyway, I want to tell you about the trip over. I'm not sure I've mentioned on the blog about transporting Regina. Or maybe I have a million times. I don't know, moving is all I've talked about with anyone for a month, so I can't remember what transpired where and I'm too lazy to read my old posts. Although you are welcome to. Read and share. Read and share. (Not to be confused with "LIIIIFT! And SLIIIIIDE." God, I really need to lay off the Friends references. OR DO I. Shut up, shut up.)

So the way they recommend traveling with cats is to take them on the plane with you as a carry-on. You buy an airport-approved soft case with mesh sides for breathing and just take her on board with you. And yes, that also means taking her through security. I had to leave the case on the conveyor belt, and take out Regina, putting a cat leash on her just in case. She didn't try to escape because she was in such shock, but I felt better knowing she couldn't get far. So no problems there. It was slightly embarrassing feeling like a cat lady holding tightly to my cat while walking through a metal detector like I couldn't make it through on my own. John suggested dressing her up. I think a pilot's hat really would have sealed the deal, actually. It cracks me up to no end thinking about my cat, already donning her natural mustache, also in a pilot's hat. Awesome. In faaaact...

But anyway, the security part was fine. It was the plane ride where things got harried. Or should I say: HAIRIED!!!!!!1 (Oh my God, what is wrong with me.)

So here's the thing. The case I bought Regina was not TECHNICALLY airplane-sanctioned, in that nothing on the store tag indicated that it was. And it also only specified that it was for dogs. Dogs shmogs, I thought. What's good enough for Fifi is good enough for Regina.


Well this particular pet case had the parallel zipper on top. You know, like on a duffle bag. And where the zippers closed was a little latch. I forgot to take a picture of it and I'm at a coffee shop right now so you have to use your imagination, SORRY. What I'm saying here is: there was a gap. There was a gap in the top of the bag. Now, your typical traveling Yorkshire Terrier is probably too stupid to realize the consequences of a gap in a bag. Your typical cat is NOT. Hence the case's dog specification.

So here we were, taking off. I'm looking out the window as all of Chicago starts to come into view. Tears begin to well up in my eyes, when I hear a distinctly louder "MEOW??" than the muted ones I had heard coming from her case earlier. I look down at my feet, and there is Regina's head, sticking up out of the bag.

We had a bit of a conversation. It went like this.

"WHAT?!?!?! NO!!! No! Get back! Get in there! Stop it. GAH! Get back in there! Ow! Stop squirming!"
"Meow! Meow? Meow. Meow! Meow. Meow?"

So out pops Regina like an alien out of a dude's stomach and I'm powerless to stop it from happening. Luckily, I had chosen the right place to sit on the plane: the very back, with no one in the middle seat and a cat-loving guy sleeping in the aisle seat. Since even the flight attendants were safely buckled in during takeoff, no one saw as I sat with Regina on my lap for a good 5 minutes, her pupils so big they were taking over her face. I calmed her down and then gently, geeennnnnnnnntly shoved her back into the case. I made sure all zippers were closed and secure and started reading.

A few minutes later, "MEOW?!"

Yeah. She got out again. She had tasted freedom and she wanted more. There was swearing as I tried to get her back in. Silent swearing in my head, which turned to whispers, which then became fully vocal f-bombs. Don't worry, everyone nearby had their headphones on. At least I think they did. ("Hmm. Where ARE they?")

So finally I gave up on getting her back in and held her again. Convinced that this was my new life for the next 5 hours, I put Regina in the case once she had settled. I pulled the zippers as closed as they would go, and prayed for a few minutes respite before she tried again. But by this point, Regina had been awake for at least 6 hours straight, and I think the adventures of the day finally got to her. She calmed down and fell asleep.

Of course, this terrified me. Here was a cat who had been meowing for about 3 hours nonstop, now totally silent. Had I broken her? Did the cabin pressure make her brain explode? I got worried. I picked up the case to check.


I couldn't tell if I was annoyed or relieved to hear her meowing again. But meow she did. For most of the flight. And through the airport. People kept turning around to make sure they weren't going crazy, hearing phantom meowing. "Yes, it's coming from me." I would say. But eventually, we got her (and me) to the new apartment. Joe had the air mattress and litter box all set up, so we let her out to explore. She seems fine with her new home, and I'm VERY happy. I'm back with Joe, back in a real apartment, back to living my real life, not a temporary one.

Now I just need to find a job so I can start actually doing real things in this real life, and I'll be set. That's next.

1 comment:

mwojtyna said...

omg.. i never laughed so much picturing this scenario..and also to say PIVOT PIVOT!... :) btw.. I've already talked to Travis about a trip this winter :) the seeds have been planted... mwahahaha