Luckily, Severus being a large-ish fellow, was not the master of camouflage he thought he was. Much of him was spilling out of his hiding place and I was able to snag him without much trouble. But putting him in his solo carrier? Suddenly he had eight legs made of unyielding, reinforced steel. I became sweatier and furrier by the second. To make matters worse, World War III had broken out in the large carrier. Stalincat, I mean, Myrtle, was busy establishing a kakistocracy.
By some miraculous feat, I managed to quickly exchange Severus for Myrtle without losing any other cats. Myrtle went into the smaller carrier without too much fuss. But with Severus in there, the large carrier was large no more. So I put together a spare carrier and put Mrs. Weasley in there and left Minerva with Severus. I didn't want to take up more room in the back seat, so I stacked the two smaller carriers on top of one another, strapping them together and securing them with bungees to the headrests in front and behind. Charlie jumped into the back seat and laid down. I pulled out of the garage at 2:00, and started down the road. I was so very impressed with my own cunning and creative problem solving. Don't worry, I got over my ego trip quickly.
Almost immediately the complaining began. But I was expecting that. I could put up with it. For now. What I wasn't expecting was the violent thrashing going on in the second story cat apartment in the back seat.
We made our first stop 5 minutes into the trip. When I pulled over and ran around to the back seat I found Charlie sitting up, his eyebrows doing his "what were you thinking???" dance. Mrs. Weasley was now toppled over in her carrier- right where Charlie's head had been.
So onto Plan........D......or......E.........possibly Z at this point. Poor Charlie had to squish over so that the carriers were side-by-side. But now we were all situated and ready to make some significant headway. We made it an hour and a half. The pitch and volume of the cats' cries had undulated unceasingly. I chose a scenic pullout for our first official stop. Charlie was eager to stretch, but I think I was even more anxious. Besides wanting a break from the cats, my tucchus was KILLING me. I'd fractured my coccyx a few months before, and sitting for more than 30 minutes was insanely uncomfortable. It was a delightful place to stretch out our respective limbs and tucchuses.
We got back into the car and started driving. The feline weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth resumed. Every few minutes a little paw would stretch out, beseechingly patting the empty air. It was truly pathetic. And although Mrs. Weasley was the only one successfully Benedryled, even she let out drowsy mrrrows of displeasure at random intervals- I'm assuming as a sign of cat solidarity. At some point horrible smells began wafting through the holes of the large carrier containing Minerva and Severus. But there was nothing to do but drive on. And on. And on. Until we reached Laramie, Wyoming around 10pm.
Then I went back to the bathroom and closed the door to begin the cat extraction. Mrs. Weasley had fared well and happily popped out of the carrier and started to scope out the joint. Myrtle was still voicing her displeasure and slowly, suspiciously edged out, covered in shredded puppy pee pad. But it was dry and clean puppy pee pad. And then..............the large carrier. The one from whence the awful smells had been coming from for most of the drive. It was bad. BAD. B-A-D. Severus had emitted every disgusting thing that a cat could emit. It was emitted all over him. And all over the carrier. And all over his crate mate, poor, poor, poor Minerva. So, cat baths were in order. Amazingly, they were really cooperative and loved getting baths.
It went as well as cat baths go.
All I wanted was to go to bed and sleep the sleep of the just. But it was not a restful night.
Seriously. It was like being locked in the room with five sugared-up toddlers. The cats were literally bouncing off the walls (and me). Basically, blowing off steam from being in their crates so long. The alternative was to keep them in the bathroom, but they did NOT like that and the acoustics carried the sorrowful song of their people a little too beautifully. Charlie kept yelling at them to knock off all their running and leaping and skidding on the slippery floor. And whenever someone would walk by the room, Charlie would start muttering threats using his James Earl Jones voice.
Incidentally, the Wyoming moon is a beautiful sight to behold. At four a.m. While your dog with the gargantuan bladder pees majestically into the chilly dawn. For nearly ten minutes.
Catching the cats the next morning was another exercise in being sweaty and getting covered in cat hairs and scratches. They are the wiliest, scratchingest, tauntingest SOBs (Superior Overlord Beings). But I got them into their respective carriers by whatever means necessary. They were unhappy, to say the least.
They chose to punish me that day by remaining coldly silent for the entire drive. However, apparently I managed to display a suitable attitude of penitent humility, because they were quite forgiving and friendly once we settled into our hotel in Nebraska. I was hoping I would be able to offend them into silence the next day. It was ever so pleasant driving in the silence.
Charlie- after the initial worry that he was going to be left somewhere and have to Incredible Journey himself back to me- began to thoroughly enjoy our traveling adventure. He developed a passion for rest areas. He found them fascinating and couldn't wait to sightpee (he combined sight seeing with the necessary pit stops- he's a very efficient and practical dog). He also liked the fact that when I ate my packages of peanut butter crackers, he always got the last cracker.
It was a fun day.
That night at the motel was absolutely wonderful, too. We got in around six. Charlie sacked out on the bed right away. No messes in the carriers, the kitties were much more relaxed, and the room had plenty of shelves for the cats to perch on.
I should have known things were going FAR too smoothly. I was congratulating myself because there was literally NOWHERE for the kitties to hide in this particular hotel room. It was a nice open room, without nooks or crannies- best of all, the bed was on a platform, so there could be no hiding there.
The first three cats were quite willing to go into their crates- it took me less than a minute. Myrtle, however...
Myrtle. She is the wiliest and most conniving of the cats. She's menace. I should rename her.
In the 60 seconds I was preoccupied with the other cats, Myrtle found an inch and a half gap in one of the shelving units and slithered into it.
This picture was taken by sliding my phone down the gap so I could figure out exactly where she was. Look at that SMUG smile. Jerk cat. Apparently, the bottom was just a nice hollow 18" x 24" box. And we all know how cats love boxes. So, she settled in for a nice, long nap.
But first, she popped up for just a moment to gloat when I called her name. She wasn't in the least concerned.
She calmly, and smugly, lowered herself back down. There she stayed while I contemplated the rather awkward conversation I would soon have to have with hotel management.
Or, I could simply walk away and leave her for the next guest. Everyone loves extra amenities.
But I knew that when Myrtle finally chose to slither out of the woodwork, she would probably cause some sort of coronary episode. I couldn't have that on my conscience.
And, ironically, Myrtle is my favorite. I fearlove her so much.
So, I studied the shelf a little closer. It appeared to be similar to a Sauder bookshelf. Do you know how many of those shoddy things I've put together over the years?
A little further poking and prodding confirmed my suspicions. A well-aimed kick to each corner was enough to loosen the thin backing so I could reach in and snag the closest bit of Myrtle.
She was rather....unhappy.
And so, Day Three began.
Stay tuned for the next post, in which Charlie is blessed by an old man and we have a delightful stay at Motel 666!