Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Cats and adventures-- or not

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-- √
new toaster--√
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 ;).


Tabor said...

Since I am very allergic to cats I certainly am glad that hotels and motels are strict about taking cats. I cannot sleep in a room where a cat has been or the next morning I wake up with closed lungs and eyes that must be scratched out they itch so badly. You have such lovely hair I am surprised that you feel necessary to give it a perm.

Rain Trueax said...

And some are very allergic to dogs which is why it's good motels try to keep a block of rooms set aside for pets period. I think their reluctance with cats is more due to the kitty litter or fear they'll damage furniture. But we travel with a little vacuum cleaner that lets us leave that room as it was-- other than that dander, of course ;)

Before we began this trip, I called motels in the cities we planned to stay in order to ascertain whether pet friendly meant also cat friendly. Several major chains are good that way. Where we stayed, I also saw people with cats on leashes outside. I've always seen dogs traveling but not cats so much in the past (except me) but when one is traveling between homes, it's an important issue.

With our home down here, we made sure to mention in its ad that pet friendly includes cats and I am always specific about that when talking to potential renters. It's worked out quite well for us in renting our home here to 'pet' people as they have (so far) been a very responsible bunch. We couldn't have the cat allergy group anyway given we have always had cats here since I first found my old one as cat who had been left behind by someone moving.

The bad part about motels for me is the stuff they use to clean rooms. I do best with that when there are windows I can open but that's not always the case. For people with dander problems with cats or dogs, they face another problem in travel. It wouldn't be that hard to sneak in an animal to avoid the fee. Motels threaten big fines but I don't suppose they'd have much way to know.

On my hair-- I have to curl it without a perm and then the curl never holds very long. I have a slight natural wave but not enough at my age to be helpful as I need softness around my face. I used to be able to wear it straight but not so much these days-- plus a perm adds the illusion of thickness that I like. I enjoy the perm but this year I almost was out the other end of it after two years. With long hair I can't take the risk of having it done just anywhere, living in the country in Oregon, there's more logistics involved than when I'm here. A mistake by a stylist in not timing strictly takes years to grow out. With a perm, I can set and it'll hold but also when I need to do so, I can wash and go.

The funny thing with the salon was I think I was the only perm there this time as most women were there for coloring. There they sat at the tables, hair painted, foil strips, and waiting while that color set. It's a lot more time consuming than a permanent. I don't think there is a lot of gray or white hair in my age group down here-- except out on the hiking trails ;)

Hattie said...

That perm looks pretty. I like that look on you and myself have refused to wear the generic short hairdo prescribed for old women!
As far as your hair goes, you would love Hawaii. The soft, pure air and humidity are kind to hair, and to skin too. When I was in Phoenix recently my hair was like straw and I itched all over. And my eyes bothered me, too.
We are forced to board our cat when we go the Mainland, because Hawaii has quarantine regulations. Our cat is grumpy about the whole thing, but we know that he is safe. We don't like the idea of housesitters, but if we could find someone dependable we might take that route. The problem is that if something happens to a pet on a housesitter's watch, that can be very upsetting.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I found this post so touching, Rain...Your love of Cats and the care you take and have taken in the past, to make sure your dear sweet babies are at the very least, as comfortable as possible---It just says so much about you, my dear---Yes, I already knew you had a Big Big Heart...this just bears out that fact!

robin andrea said...

If our kitty cat were a better traveler, we would be able to take more trips. As it is, we stay home mostly to tend to our little kitty cat king's needs! My brother and SIL took separate vacations for years when they still had their cat. He lived 21 years! If only they appreciated the sacrifices we make on their behalf. Hah!

Rain Trueax said...

lol Robin, boy is that the truth. They don't care if we do a lot for them. They feel it's their due ;) But they give me so much joy that it's a labor of love