Sunday, August 20, 2006

From the cat's perspective

This week has been hard on all of us. Champs' back and shoulder are beyond sore. My right heel is done in. Poor Sweet Girl just wants school to start before she dies of boredom (I mean it - I haven't found a box of her toys yet, so her world has been reduced to watching us unpack, helping when I can find a small job for her and playing with the amazing collection of McDonald's Happy Meal Polly Pocket toys she's collected since we left Minnesota).

However, if the cat were to posses the power of speech, I think he would have the most interesting story to tell. Since he doesn't, I'll just have to reach into my powers of empathy and tell you what we've put this poor animal through. It isn't pretty.

Prior to our move, I consulted with our vet about poor Gus. This cat does not travel well. The vet's office was only three blocks away from home and that short ride nearly sent the poor animal over the edge the few times he went. He would caterwaul the entire way there. Funny me, but I got to thinking that if I didn't enjoy the music the ballistic cat provided for a three-block ride, I really wasn't going to enjoy his company for a 550 mile ride! Thankfully, my vet agreed and prescribed a nice kitty downer. (Sidebar: At about this point in the story, people usually say "oh, benadryl, right? That's what they gave my cat to calm it down." No, my vet understood and proscribed a very real, very strong sedative. I really like that man.)

Since the house would be open all day Friday while we packed the moving truck, my mom came over to get Gus on Thursday. By now, I had packed half his stuff and reduced him to the "little" combo water/food bowl and the kitty carrier had been out for a couple of days, so he knew something was up (yeah, the growing pile of packed boxes probably tipped him off as well). Both mom and I agreed that six miles probably didn't warrant pulling out the stash, so she enjoyed (yes, I am an optimist) Gus' serenade on the way home.

On Friday, Gus was very clingy to my mom, thinking that I must have abandoned him or something. She said he barely let her sleep Thursday or Friday nights since he kept crawling up onto the bed and trying to sleep on her pillow. Silly cat; he didn't seem to realize her head was already there. Actually, I've noticed that fact seems to rarely deter any cat, does it?

On Saturday, we called mom before we left the hotel and she drugged the hungry and thirsty cat (nothing after midnight when you're drugging your cat, you know). Just like a surgery, "Operation CatMove" was underway. Our vet had said to give the cat a quarter of a tablet and if he didn't settle down in half an hour, give him another quarter tablet. He didn't, so we did. That cat didn't know what hit him; he was walking sideways and couldn't seem to focus. That seemed like the perfect time to start the trip, so off we went. We loaded Gus into his cat carrier (always a feat in mechanical engineering, since he hates that thing) and strapped him into the front seat.

Gus still serenaded me for the first 20 minutes of the trip, but it was very soft, as though he had switched from the hard rock station to easy listening. Eventually he settled down to sleep. Now, our trip should have been 10 hours. Unfortunately, we had truck problems, so when 6 hours of kitty nirvana had passed, we were still only 100 miles out of Minnesota and were getting the truck fixed. So I let the cat out to see if he would do his business. Yeah, right. Of course, I couldn't just let him walk away, so I put him on a leash, which he didn't like at all. He was having no part of the kitty box. All he wanted was to get back into his carrier. So, we gave him more drugs and let him go back (I think this will be the only time I ever see that cat voluntarily get into his carrier). We got back on the road and it was all good until the 12th hour of our trip, when the drugs wore off. Remember, the trip should have taken 10 hours. It took 15. I got three hours of one pissed off cat doing his best Alanis Morrisette impression in the front seat next to me. Yeah, that was one jagged little pill, all right.

Finally we arrived and you would think the poor cat's trials would be over. Not so. If you read my previous blog post, you know that we had to wait nearly a week for our house to be ready in order for us to move into it. So we stayed at my mother-in-law's house from Sunday to Friday. Not a problem except for two things: Grandma Nee doesn't enjoy cats much and she has a bird. This meant that, except for carefully controlled visits, Gus lived in one room of the house for a week. Needless to say, this didn't go over too well with the cat and he would sing about the injustice of it all every time we got near his doorway. I'm amazed he didn't wear out his meower, to be honest. Finally we got enough in the house that we were able to bring him home on Friday night. It was just in time, too. He had stopped eating and drinking, probably in protest or maybe out of boredom.

Now that we are home, Gus is in a place where he can roam freely, eating and drinking at will and taking the Nancy approach to drugs ("just say no!"). Of course, with all the boxes and upheaval around, not to mention a plethora of new smells, he is on full investigative mode 24/7. I haven't actually seen a lot of him, and he hasn't forgiven me enough to be willing to snuggle down and purr for me. Oh well, he'll come around. Eventually he's gonna want those ears scratched, and only Mom knows that one special spot.

All in all, he did really well and we survived. Now that we're here, though, I am wondering if we can find a vet just a block away...

Here are some comments from this post:
kenju said...
Hello! I love the new look for the blog, Blond Girl, and this post is very well-written and entertaining! Welcome back - it seems a very long time since we have seen you around at Michele's. She sent me!

colleen said...
Well, I'm glad the cat's off drugs and your moved in even if your shoulders are sore. Michele and are saying HI.

Carmi said...
I'm so happy that Gus is settling in and that he's past the kitty drugs phase of his life. When we moved - first from our little apartment to our first house across town, and then later to a city far, far away - we struggled with what to do with our beloved cat, Shadow.
The move across town was tough enough. We resorted to vet-prescribed kitty valium when we moved to a new province.
He, too, made the trip without too much damage, and was a happy part of our life for many years thereafter.
Congratulations on getting the worst of the move behind you. I'm so excited for you all!

princssis said...
Can you imagine the cold shoulder you'd be getting now if you had left Gus here for a month? I'm glad he's survived the trip and I'm sure he'll acclimate to his new surroundings quickly!

Geekwif said...
Glad to hear Gus is happy now...well relatively. Hopefully he'll be back to his purring self soon.

utenzi said...
You're an amazingly tolerant family, Blond Girl. I doubt Gus would still be with me! My girlfriend is like you though--and her pets (3 cats and one dog) are treated far better than I am. (dammit!)
It's good that Gus can finally get himself comfortable in a house once more. Poor Gus!

Linda said...
Oh my, I DO remember those days with my kitty. While I miss that kitty dearly (the ex got custody), I don't miss those dealings at all!
Good luck - Gus will come around and love you again!

Shannin said...
Love the new blog look - very you!
Sorry to hear Gus had a less than enjoyable trip. And to think I was the one who needed the Valium with a vodka back to get two dogs from Los Angeles to Minneapolis.
Glad you are getting settled... Thinking of you guys!

Tracie said...
I'm glad to see you back!! Sorry that Gus had it so hard, but don't worry-he will be back purring for you in no time.

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