Taking cats on a long car trip is nothing like taking a dog. For a dog, it's all a big adventure of new scents and places to see. For a cat, it's an adventure they did not choose, and any adventure a cat did not choose is by definition-- bad.
However, for us, having them with us gave peace of mind that we didn't have to worry that they were being looked after at home or that one would get sick when we weren't there. (I think Farm Boss was more convinced by the idea of three weeks and no dirt boxes being changed.) Bringing them enabled us to spend longer down in this house which was another plus.
For my own feelings of worry over them, I am not sure if this is a product of my old age, but it might be. When I was younger, I don't remember fretting this much over any of my cats, no matter how beloved. These three are now my ipso facto kids. My biggest fear regarding them is that something would happen to us and they'd be 'dumped' into the system again. You can't explain to animals what happened.
So the trip down for them was pure hell since they had no idea where they were going or what would happen next. Pepper naturally probably feared we were sending her away.
A problem for us was finding motels that allowed cats (not as easy as ones that allow dogs) and worry once there that they'd get under a bed we could not get them out from under without tearing apart the room. It's happened. They would be fine in the room until they sensed we were getting ready to leave again-- then split and hide.
It was 1965 when we took our first major road trip with a cat. We were driving to Tucson in our Chevy for Farm Boss to attend Graduate School. Don (he was also heading for Graduate School) and Diane were driving with us in whatever they drove in those years. In our vehicle was Sheba, the black cat we had adopted within a few weeks of being married.
She actually traveled pretty well and had adjusted to a leash; so that when we lived in Tucson, we could let her out of the apartment onto our patio on a leash. She loved it-- and the neighbors got a kick out of her out there-- stretched as far as that cord would let her go. I had even made her a cloth collar to not be hard on her neck.
When we left Tucson to get back to Oregon, before our first child was due to be born, we had Sheba as always in the vehicle. Those were the days before a/c in cars. We were leaving in midsummer which meant you traveled as much as possible at night. We stopped in Gila Bend in one of those small cafes you don't see anymore-- truck driver stop, as well as anybody else, swamp cooler blowing, screen door banging as we walked in, flies, and we brought her inside in the carrier, not going to leave her in that hot car. Nobody said a word.
The cats we have today regard even the fenced pool area (which I might add is as large as many people's whole yard) as purgatory. No exit for them means it's bad. Blackie circled the fence several times establishing the fact that-- yes, it is a prison. When I first carried Pepper out thinking she would enjoy time by the pool with me, she meowed loudly and fearfully at the gate until I gave up on the experiment and carried her back inside.
They are settling into being here, and they absolutely love to watch the myriad of birds, bunnies, lizards, assorted rodents, and even found javelina which still qualified as interesting if scary. BB is the only one who goes out for brief forays when Farm Boss is working outside. He's the one who came from the desert.
Otherwise work is progressing
outside lighting fixed-- √
gravel acquired and spread on driveway-- √
gravel packed down on driveway-- ?
painting side of house-- progressing
new gate for side of house-- progressing
window screens repaired-- √
repaired pool fence and making that yard cat safe-- √
new flat screen TV, stereo system (with dock for iPod if they bring their adapter), and Blu-Ray player-- √
replaced plants damaged by insects and winter freeze-- √
Repair outside drip irrigation system-- √
extend watering system-- in progress
unknown things to add to list-- guaranteed
Our next renters should be pleased-- we hope.
Photo of gravel being spread-- proving conclusively that you can take the farmer out of the farm but you cannot take the farm out of the farmer.
Oh and I got a permanent this year at my favorite Tucson salon. Last year it simply didn't get squeezed in as we had too little time. I am happy. That should do me for another two years. Yes, I know it looks a little witchy but for two days after a permanent, you cannot set, wash or condition it. I actually like the wild woman look ;).