By the way, in case I failed to mention it, besides the two hapless humans involved in this excruciating excursion, and their extended network of support staff, two four-footed furry felines were also having, I’m sure, the literal time of their lives.
..and Jackie Chan
Since January, I had been conditioning the two of them to the impending upheaval of their world by getting rid of furniture, packing away boxes of stuff and pretty much moving everything recognizable around. They were more accepting than I could ever ask of a pair of pussycats. No puking on the bed or peeing on the couch (mainly because we got rid of it.) They wandered around uttering pity-inducing “mrow?”s and took to sleeping in our bedroom more frequently (the one last bastion of normalcy and peace to them no doubt.)
Jack’s personality is such that I could not bear to keep him locked away from the changes we were making, as some animal-behavior books suggest. That, and I didn’t want to see any more carpet ripped away from the door stoop in Jack’s futile attempt to dig his way from the bedroom into the living room. Roo probably could have handled being locked away from the dismantling of the house, but since he pretty much slept his oblivious way through life anyway, we decided to just let them have free range of the place while we worked.
As the day of departure grew closer, I took to feeding Roo inside his crate (actually a large dog carrier). He was never completely comfortable but never refused to eat. We also took to keeping them collared at all times, with my newly acquired cell phone number attached to their tags. The last thing we needed was to have one of them mysteriously disappear. They were not “bolters” in that when the door was open, rarely was there a flash of fur as they shot out into the night. If they did, it was inevitable that we’d catch them rolling in the driveway like fools struck by some bizarre dust-bath inducing virus. They were easy to catch, but we weren’t taking any chances.
Finally, as the infamous morning dawned, we trundled them out to the car, where I had carefully packed the entire contents of my life around the cat carrier (they were both to be housed together, for mental reasons - both mine and theirs.) From that moment, until we pull into Tim’s, they had slept like the perfect angels they are. However, I knew the time had come to allow them to get some fresh air, stretch their little kitty legs, and move about the cabin a bit.
I open the carrier, doors of the car closed, while Donnie does some negotiating and gets directions to the UHaul place. Jackie’s the first to venture forth, does a one around and then allows me to slip his leash on. We take a few steps outside of the confines of the Toyota, but nervousness grips him and we go back inside. Roo is happy as a clam to remain in a furry Roo-ball inside the carrier. I tuck Jack back inside with him as Donnie approaches the car.
Then my phone rang.