Flying with Cats

Bece stuck up a tree

That’s kind of like running with scissors, the advanced edition.

Here’s how it happened.

My mother got two adorable kittens in 2009.

Bece and Kiki as kittens. Photo by Dorataya.
Bece and Kiki as kittens. Photo by Dorataya.

Since my housemate and I had lost our cat, Misty, in June 2009, we envied her, though we were imagining adopting an older cat sometime when the grief was not as fresh. I met my mother’s cats in November of 2009, when they were somewhat older than in the photo, but still recognizably kittens. They made a dramatic contrast to my father’s enormous Siamese tomcats.

Not long after that, Mom began an online romance with a man she met on Picasa, and by spring she was on her way to getting married to a really terrific guy…who owns a spaniel that thinks it’s a pit bull. Every time the dog came to visit, it would fling itself at the cats, who naturally sat just out of reach, taunting it.

So Mom had the brilliant idea that Bece and Kiki should go to me. Never mind the fact that she lived in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and I lived in El Cerrito, California. Why let a little thing like 2400 miles get in the way of a good idea? And, as it happened, I was planning to go to Cleveland for my 25th high school reunion anyway.

Somehow I agreed to this. Somehow even Stefan, who was visiting me at the time, agreed to this. We bought a special Southwest Airlines cat carrier for Bece and Kiki, and a ticket for them, as well. (Southwest charges per carrier, so we stuffed them both into one…with some difficulty.)

The hard part was going through security. At least the turbo-radiation scanners hadn’t been introduced yet, though I would have opted the cats out in any case. You have to take them out of the carrier and walk them through security. We had them in harnesses, but Stefan was having nightmares that they would escape.

Despite squirming a lot, they made it safely back into their yellow carrier, and stayed there quietly for the rest of the two flights—a short hop to Chicago and a longer one to Oakland. I was a bit worried because they were so quiet, until I unpacked my lunch. Suddenly two sets of blue eyes were looking up at me at the smell of chicken.

It turns out that the cats are unflappable. Moving didn’t distress them at all. They spent perhaps 15 minutes hiding under my bed, after which they completely took over the apartment. It was the same when we moved out to Oakley, though they complained for the whole drive. New surroundings, moving boxes, rearranged furniture: it’s all a game devised for their entertainment. As long as they can find the food bowl and the litter box, they’re happy.

Stefan, on the other hand, has still not recovered from the trauma.


WordPress fangirl, ghostwriter, linguistic alchemist, podcast consultant, and accidental vapor advocate. Married with 2 cats.

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