Thursday, July 17, 2014
Confession #2: Pushing Drugs Ain't Easy.
Remember how I never meant to become a cat lady?
Well, I REALLY never meant to become a cat lady driving a Chevy Malibu nearly 2,000 miles across the country with a dog, a cat, a cat, a cat, and a cat.
When I decided to quit my job of 13 years and move to a farm in the Middle-of-Nowhere, KY, it sounded exciting. A fresh start. New adventures. Endless possibilities.
What I neglected to consider was the actual journey. The actual long, long, looooooooooooooooooong journey.
It hit me about three weeks before the move........how the Hell-o, Dolly was I going to fit the animals, their pet paraphernalia, not to mention my belongings, into my mid-size sedan???
I began to panic.
I went so far as to try to pawn off some of the excess cats on my friends. I sent out desperate Facebook pleas. I got bubkes. I was secretly relieved. I love all the cats. Even Myrtle. But I was still panicked. I researched pet transport services. Insanely expensive for just one cat. When I thought about the cost for all four cats.....I threw up a little in my mouth. It was going to have to be all of us, all together, all the way. I began to spend a significant amount of time throughout the days leading up to the move, standing in the garage staring at my car with all four doors and the trunk open wide. Thinking. Strategizing. Panicking.
Two days before departure, thanks mainly to my sweet Tetris skills, I devised a brilliant mental blueprint to stuff everybody and everything in the car. I would have to leave a few things behind with my brother, but the the essentials would fit. The three small cats would ride up front in the large carrier. Big, fat Severus would curl up solo in a smallish carrier in the backseat, leaving plenty of room for Charlie the Giant Golden Retriever to comfortably stretch out. Everything else would be shoved under the seats and into the trunk.
The plan was to pack everything but the animals the night before and leave by noon the next day.
Of course it didn't happen like that. Nothing EVER goes as planned when you become involved in pushing drugs.
See, besides the logistics of fitting the cats INTO the car there was the matter of what they would do DURING the many hours of driving. Charlie is an angel. He's perfect. He is so patient and easy-going, I had absolutely no worries about traveling with him. But the cats. The cats. When I sold my house, I had a few months before I could head to Kentucky, so my awesome brother let me and the zoo move in for a bit. On the drive to my brother's house the cats HOWLED, SPIT, HISSED, YOWLED, and swore terrible, terrible cat swears. The whole way. All five minutes of it.
This did not bode well for our future travels.
So, courtesy of Google, I did some extensive research on traveling with cats. I also e-mailed my sister, Liz, who's basically an animal expert, for some advice- much of which saved my sanity in the end. I purchased every chew, spray, gel, and contraption labeled "pet calming" or "travel aid." However, after failed trials with most of them and no time to try the rest, I decided to put my trust in good old Benedryl. It was the most widely recommended on all the websites, and I'd had proven success using it with other animals years before. But pills and cats....I was trying to avoid that, if possible.
Back to moving day. I'd emptied the cats' food dishes several hours before, so they'd be traveling on empty stomachs till we reached the hotel for the night. I had lined the cat carriers with puppy pee pads, in case of accidents. The carriers and car were spritzed with calming spray. Now it was time to administer the Benydryl. I found Mrs. W. first, picked her up, popped the pill in her mouth, and stuck her into the large cat carrier before she knew what hit her.
Man, I'm GOOD at this, I thought.
Severus happened to walk by at this point, so I picked him up, and quickly realized I had a problem. He's soooooooooooooooo squishy fat. I had a hard time managing his girth single-handedly, while trying to open his mouth and slip a tiny pink pill into his mouth without him spitting it out. So, I set him on the counter and positioned him with his butt up against my shoulder. Kind of like a gun. A loaded gun. I wrapped my arm around him, with my hand on his chest and cuddled him against my body to restrain him. He was pretty cooperative up to this point. I was being super gentle and speaking soothingly, "Good kitty. That's a goooooood kitty. Just take this pill like a goooooooooooood kitty." Then he began to realize something was going down. He began writhing like an eel. Just as I got his mouth open and the pill in, he gave a mighty heave and tried to lurch from my arms. Apparently, he hadn't swallowed yet, because as I instinctively tightened my grip, he made a pffft-hiss sound and a tiny pink projectile sailed through the air. Like I said. A loaded gun. He hissed again and I let him jump from my arms and run off in righteous indignation. I was left standing there, covered in a thick layer of black cat hair, calling out, pleadingly, "I'm sorry! I had to. I'm sorry!"
Minerva and Myrtle had come in to see what all the fuss was about and to laugh at Severus. I made an executive decision and threw Minerva into the large cat carrier with Mrs. W. I figured she wouldn't be a problem, she's so chill. And, after a startled moment, she settled in with her cat friend and started napping.
Myrtle was a different story, though. She was named Moaning Myrtle for a reason. Her banshee cries reverberate off the walls and can be heard throughout a three-story house. Imagine that sound contained in a car. For 7-8 hours a day. For five days. She was getting that pink pill if it killed me.
"It's your turn, Myrtle."
She raised her catbrows, Yeah, right.
I knew I would have to go about this carefully. Myrtle was a cat from the school of hard knocks. She remembered her time on the streets. Sudden movements or loud noises, and she was a blur around the corner. So, I started my sales pitch. Always start with the sweet talk.
"Myr-tle, Myrrrrrrrr-tle," I began in a sweet, sing-song-y tone. "Who's a sweet kitty, Myrrrrrrrrtle?"
She looked up at me, I am. Duh. She started purring and making circle eights around my ankles to prove it.
"That's right, that's my sweet Myrtle. Let's take some drugs now." I leaned down to scoop her up and she snuggled up against my chest. As I set her on the counter, something in my demeanor, perhaps the determined glint in my eye tipped her off. She stiffened under my hands, This is a trap, isn't it?
If sweet talking doesn't work, appeal to their intelligence.
"I'm afraid it is, Myrtle. You know this is how it has to be. You'll be happier if you sleep through the drive. We'll all be happier."
I don't think so.
When appeals to intelligence fail, it is necessary to-
Five minutes later, I was breathing heavily, covered in sweat (my own), blood (my own), and another layer of fur (Myrtle's). Myrtle sat in a patch of sunshine bathing daintily, as if she had not just reigned unimaginable terror and destruction in the kitchen.
"Fine. You win." I scooped her up and put her into the large cat carrier with the other two. Drug-free.
Nancy Reagan would be so proud of my cat.
Tune in tomorrow to find out how the rest of the trip went. Because, after this amazing start, it could only be rainbows and unicorns the rest of the way, right?