In fact, I am alive! I am just so, so, so, so, behind on updating LJ that it's laughable. (I'm also working on migrating to my own website and blog.)
Now in my last post I (sort of) explained that Erin and I were moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. Well we're here! We arrived on the 9th of October after a fairly uneventful if INCREDIBLY long drive, with us, a trailer, and all five cats.
Five cats + 2800 miles.
Yeah, I gave you a little time to just think about that. Usually people have to take a moment after I tell them. The surprising part is that honestly, they were really well behaved. In the past, transporting the cats has been a nightmare. Mistoffelees in particular, our male cat, will shriek at the top of his lungs for HOURS. When driving the 90 miles from Tampa to Orlando he would cry for the ENTIRE trip. I refused to drive with him, because I feared the noise would make me insane and I'd chuck him out a window. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to that drive times 30.
So what we decided to do was to let them out of their carriers, and just have the back seat all to themselves, on the theory that the real problem was actually their hatred of their cat carriers. We tested this theory by taking Misto for short rides around the neighborhood. We meant to take all the cats around and acclimate them to the Jeep, but didn't have time in the mad dash to pack. Unfortunately, it wasn't looking good, since Misto wouldn't shut up even when he wasn't in his carrier. The only thing that calmed him down? Being held by me or Erin the entire time. Holding a 15 pound squirmy cat for 3000 miles did not appeal.
But we decided to soldier on, because really, what choice did we have? Flying the cats was prohibitively expensive, and I'm an overprotective kitty parent who wasn't comfortable being separated from her fuzzy children. So when moving day came around we turned my Jeep Liberty into a kitty Taj Mahal. We folded the back seats down, spread out a tarp (just in case of accidents) and covered it with a comforter, then we added some pillows up towards the front seat, set out their water dish, added another blanket they love, their favorite toy, and one of their litter boxes. Honestly, the back of the car looked so comfortable I was kind of jealous.
And do you know where my little shitlings spent most of their time? Squeezed in under the folded down back seats asleep. Aldonza was the only cat who regularly slept in the cushy back seat. Of course when we got out of the car to rest, eat, or get gas, all of them came crawling out and would sprawl on the front seats, because they are butt heads, but most of the time they were under the seats.
We had to load the cats up several hours before we were ready to leave because we had a cleaning person in the apartment who needed access to all the rooms. At first they were all looking kind of stressed. They were quiet, but they were all sort of panting and looking a little wild eyed. The first day (Monday the 3rd of October) we drove Erin's Mustang down to Tampa to drop off at his sister's place (where it's living until we have our own place) and then we headed to Tallahassee, our first stop on the trip. That was also our first time driving the Jeep with a trailer attached, so it was kind of nerve wracking.
Once we got to the hotel (at around 10 pm) it took two trips with full luggage carts to get all our shit up into the hotel (I also spent hours and hours planning our route and finding pet friendly hotels to stay at). By the end of the trip we had unloading down to a science. First we brought up all the luggage, the litter box, our cooler, and the food and water dishes. Then we went down, got the cat carriers out of the trailer, and stuffed all 5 cats into their carriers and took them upstairs. It was definitely an experience - we stopped in Baton Rouge, San Antonio, El Paso (God Texas is fucking HUGE) and Blythe, California before we made the final stretch to San Jose and my parents' house.
Despite our worries, after a few minutes of yelling, Misto settled down just fine. Every day after that in the morning he would have a session of yelling at passing cars, and refusing to shut up unless he was being cuddled. But then every day around 12 pm Eastern time, no matter what time zone we were in, he'd settle down and sleep until we reached the hotel. And while I was tempted to leave him behind in Louisiana on the second morning of the trip, I resisted the urge.
So now we are all settled in my parents' apartment, and our five cats are learning to live with their one cat, who is the root of all evil. But that's a story for another time.