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.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

road trips with cats

 by Rain Trueax

Leaving Tucson on June 1st, I didn't really want to go; but knew it was time. I worried how the newest born baby quail would manage. I loved the house, its convenience to everything. I loved even the heat although June is my least favorite month in Tucson as it's before the monsoons arrive, which makes it humid and hot. I've been there before A/C, when all we had was a fan and towel or a swamp cooler; and it's miserable. A/C changes that, but it also means less time outside although Ranch Boss put up our first mister and that surprisingly, since it's water, made it nice enough to sit out watching the birds even in the mid-90s. It can't overcome the 100s.

In addition to my own hating to leave, I knew how the cats would hate traveling again. The thing is we can't leave them and they just have to buck up and accept we know what we're doing... we hope.


 

June 1st, we put all four into their own carriers (with no scars). Our cat kids and us were heading 1200+ miles with a 26' travel trailer, and above 100°F days until we got to Northern California.




We had debated various travel plans for the cats. One idea was two in the truck and two in the trailer. In the end, we decided it had to be all in carriers for the first day.  Coming down from Oregon, we had discovered cats don't share a carrier-- even if they sleep cuddled together otherwise. We chose having them all in the truck because we thought their first day of travel might be scary if not with us. It's impossible to tell a cat, who hates travel, that it's a family thing.


Cats hate carriers. They consider them prisons and with only one purpose-- to destroy them. Their dislike doesn't lessen with the miles. The smallest one, Babe, makes the loudest and most horrific mewrrooowws. The oldest one, Blackie, is peaceful on a drive and was allowed to get out of his extra small carrier and lie between us as a reward. The other three alternated who got to meow, with Babe sometimes issuing something ear shattering. We all had to just make the best of it including one incident of car sickness for Raven. She does not like whoop-de-doo roads, and we expected the cleanup. 

When we got to our first destination, Bouse, Arizona, the temps were well over 100°F. This is a kind of roadside community for desert rats, those who love to explore the nearby mountains for minerals or want the freedom of not being tied to a town. A few rigs in the RV park were probably permanent. Some had left their rigs there while they headed to cooler climes. A bit north of Quartzite, this is a place of mountains, sand, barren, desert landscape, flags flying, VFW halls, and communities called Vicksburg. I like it.

Once the cats and I were in the trailer, Ranch Boss hooked us to electricity and I turned on the A/C. Since this was our first time with the trailer in this level of heat, we weren't sure how effectively it would cool. There was worry also since when loading it, when Ranch Boss had endurance tested the A/C, it failed. He did some research and decided he'd used too small an extension cord. Still, with any failure, you do worry. 

The cooling worked-- not to the 70s during the daytime but into the low 80s. To add to reducing the pressure on it, he put out the awning. We settled in with one more question that would resolve the next day's travel.

How would the cats get along with the stress of travel and tighter quarters? It would determine if they could ride in the trailer, as they had in January, or would they have to, at least some of them, ride with us?

We had a peaceful night. We would continue to monitor how they got along but this meant we'd all have an easier travel day on Saturday.  


Many don't believe in leaving pets in trailers while traveling. It's illegal for humans although if we get a Fifth Wheel someday, humans could also ride in it-- not sure many would want to do so. The cats much prefer the trailer with a dirt box, food, and water to the boxes. When traveling, mostly, they hide under the bed. My main worry has been an accident but in that case, the cab of the truck wouldn't be safe either. 

Heat during the summer is another issue for letting cats be where there is no A/C while traveling. On the hottest days, we cooled off the trailer a lot in the morning and crossed our fingers that by not driving into the late afternoon, we'd be okay; and we were. They handle some heat, after all, they had wanted outside when it was 100 in Tucson.


During our time of travel, there were a few cat tiffs-- usually at 3 am. The reasons appear to be to wake us up in the middle of the night out of maybe boredom or being too close for too long. We resolved all the disagreements with the squirt bottle (cats hate getting wet)-- and one night closed the door so that at that time, the most aggressive cat, Blackie, slept with us.

All photos of the cats from Tucson this year.

More coming on our road trip. It may be of interest to those who use RVs or even have considered using one. Where to stay? Who else is there? Why do we do it-- especially with four cats? Well, I can answer that one here. We are moving between two homes, can't leave them in either when we are gone a long time. So with that many, what motel would let us get a room? Transferring them from the vehicle to the room would be difficult even if we found such places. Cats, unlike more adventurous dogs, prefer a familiar home and the trailer is that at night.

4 comments:

Tabor said...

There are times when I am thankful I am allergic to cats. You have reminded me.

Rain Trueax said...

lol Tabor. I've had a cat for all my life, dogs too off and on. I can't imagine a home without a pet-- but four cats wasn't a plan lol. It was seeing two of them starve or adopt them. Well, i suppose, Paul could have killed them but glad he didn't. It is work though.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

When you left for Tucson with cats, I just shook my head. Now that it turned out OK, I believe you knew best.

Rain Trueax said...

We did not know especially since one of those cats was maniacal toward the other--
Raven toward Babe. We just had no choice as we could not leave two that had already been abandoned to be abandoned again, even though our son would be here to feed them. It turned out better than we imagined and now they are all assimilated. I never intended though *repeating* to have four of them. Two is much easier to manage and Blackie and Raven love each other, lick each other then do pretend fighting. They are fun to watch. When one cat hates another, it's not fun.