Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Exodus - Kitties (In 2 Acts.. this is act 1)

As you know from other posts, we have 4 cats. And since we decided to ignore my mother's advice (leave a few behind - not so much an animal lover my mom) we had to figure out how to transport all 4 to Atlanta.

When had already moved cats previously (from NJ to TX) so we had some experience. We knew we had to get health certificates for each cat (trip to the vet - woo hoo), tickets for each cat, and a carrier for each cat. Sounds simple... doesn't it? Well, maybe if you aren't a Castrucci it would be... but we never do anything "simple."

Being the one who organized a lot of the "to do" lists for the move, I made the vet appointments. I knew we could only take 2 cats at a time, so I made 2 separate appointments - Bubba & Lucy together, and the sister/brother duo of Bella and Socks together. When I made the appointments we didn't have an actual moving date so I made a guess of January 4 (the moving date is important because your health certificates can't be issued more than 10 days in advance and we were playing with Christmas, New Year's and weekends. Well... turns out our moving date was actually December 30, so I changed the appointments. So far this all sounded good.

As the appointments approached, my old boss reminded me that her friend was a traveling vet... I kid you not. This man comes to your house and takes care of your animals in the comfort of your own home. What a genius idea... especially for people with more than one animal. We decided we should give him a shot. Brian called him and left a message. While we were waiting for his return phone call, the other vet appointments I made were fast approaching. Knowing we needed to have the health certificates, we decided to keep our other vet appointments unless we heard from the traveling vet. Monday comes and we nee to take Bell and Socks to the vet.

For those of you who don't have cats let me share one little detail with you... cats are smart when they need to be. What I mean by this is our cats lived in relative freedom for almost 4 years in our TX house - we don't take our indoor cats to the vet unless they need to go. We don't believe in preventive medicine for indoor cats because... ummm... they are indoors. So, Bella and Socks had no reason to believe something was up when we called them into their litter room with the promise of treats even though they NEVER get treats in their litter room. They were completely trusting at this point.

Earlier that week, Brian and I had hypothesized that since Bella and Socks were litter mates, slept intertwined, and were always together that it might lower their stress to travel together in a large carrier. This was the perfect opportunity to test this theory. We got both cats in a carrier (not as easy as it sounds - the figure out very quickly that things were going bad and they both have claws - this is the smart part of them... they know if something smells fishy then it is), and went downstairs to ready Evan (yes, the whole family was going).

While I was getting Evan in to his carrier we all the sudden heard some seriously bad hissing. It took us a minute to realize what was going on. And here is what happened... you know how if an animal gets caught in a trap they will supposedly gnaw off their own leg to get free... well Bella decided to gnaw on Socks to get free. She was attacking him in the carrier and poor socks had nowhere to go. So, back upstairs, maneuvered one cat out, kept the other one in, put the one out in another carrier, finished strapping in the baby and off we went. The vet visit was uneventful (even though we were 10 minutes early and it took them 40 minutes to get to us and no one even apologized).

That night, as we were thinking about when we needed to get the other cats in their carrier, the travel vet called. For this one time (because we lived in Dallas practically and he was in south Austin) he would come out to see our two cats (mostly as a favor to my old boss and his friend - thanks Margaret!). This travel vet thing... it was wonderful. We locked Bubba and Lucy in their litter room (again, lured with treats) and he sat right on the floor and administered to them. The funniest part was that while the vet was taking my sweet Bubba's temperature (rectally of course) Bubba made an attempt to smack the man. The big bad Bubba cat...

And now we had the health certificates for all 4 cats. All we needed to do was get them to the plane - right? Well that was what we thought too, until we decided to make a stop at the Delta desk when we picked up my parents from the airport. A few small questions led to some quick thinking on the part of Bubs...

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