Okay, maybe Berry is not really a wonder cat but he is quite the love bug. Barry had one eye removed a week ago and the last time I looked he was still available for adoption. If you live in the Tampa Bay area you can’t go wrong with such a loving cat.
Berry is available for adoption at the SPCA in Largo, Florida. Check out their listings for cats here. If he is no longer on the list that means he was probably adopted.
We got up early Friday morning and did all the last minute things that needed to be done before we could leave. After feeding the cats and giving them enough time to use the litter boxes, I actually threw out two of our four litter boxes. The other two I cleaned the night before and put litter in one for the trip.
We brought the crates downstairs the night before and Chris and Floki actually got inside of one of them.
Chris was also lying in the crate the next morning while I was packing the truck and trailer. This time he was in the correct crate and Floki was nearby, which made Rose want to grab him and put him in with Chris before it was too late and he disappeared. I disagreed because I still had a lot to do and wanted them to have access to the litter box as long as possible.
When we decided to rent our house we had to bring a lot of stuff with us so we booked a 5×8 Uhaul trailer on Monday. By Wednesday it was clear that no Uhaul location within 45 minutes would have a 5×8 trailer so we had to go with a 6×12. Apparently, it is not just rental cars that are scarce.
I picked up the trailer on Wednesday and packed most of our stuff on Thursday. I think if I had two of everything I would have had room to spare.
While I was finishing loading the trailer Friday morning, Floki got nervous and went upstairs. I chose not to worry about it until I was finished but Rose went upstairs for something and saw Floki on the bed and grabbed him by the scruff and carried him down and put him in with Chris. She actually did this without getting all cut up.
We got the cats in the truck and were ready to go at around 6:45.
The cats were relatively quiet, at least compared to the trip last year. It took longer than expected but we got there around 2:40, which left us plenty of time to unwind.
The first thing the cats did when we got to the hotel room was explore and use the litter box.
Frankie was most interested in exploring.
Chris was more interested in relaxing next to me on the bed.
Although Frankie did settle down after a while.
Floki spent a lot of time out of my view. I don’t know what he was doing but I would see him briefly from time to time so he wasn’t napping.
We are now on the road again. It will certainly be nice when it is over and we are home.
My wife and I were on the catio yesterday evening with the cats who were out there much of the day. Frankie, in particular, always wants to be out there.
We talked about what Frankie was going to do after we return to Florida in just over two weeks to our house with no catio. It will surely feel like trying to put the genie back in the bottle.
Even here, Frankie has become quite the pain. As we were getting ready to go upstairs last night to go to bed, Frankie was at the door crying to go out. This morning at 6 a.m., after eating only half his breakfast, he was again at the door crying to go out.
All we can do is let them enjoy it while it lasts. I quess I will have to start taking Frankie for a walk again when we return.
We made it safely to our West Virginia home Saturday. Thank you everyone for your prayers and well wishes.
The second half of the trip was relatively uneventful. We left the hotel around 7 a.m. and arrived just after 1:30. I was pretty busy and didn’t have time to take many pictures. One of the issues we faced was that it was 91 degrees outside and the air conditioner would not cool the house below 80 degrees. We eventually got an air conditioner guy out here and as I write this at 10 p.m. the temperature in the house is 78 degrees. Hopefully it will continue to fall.
I think the cats have settled in good already. I’m sure they remember their time here last year.
Chris is still able to climb the stairs. It seems he has gained weight since January so I am happy I don’t have to carry him up the stairs.
Rose bought a new chair while we were away and Frankie seems to like it.
Floki is also interested in it. It must be because it is new.
They also like the bed in the upstairs spare bedroom.
I think they feel right at home already. I know Chris feels right at home holding vigal at the empty food bowl. It is like we never left Florida.
I am writing this from our Hotel in Columbia South Carolina, which is a little more than halfway to our final destination in West Virginia.
We had a lot to do before our trip. One of the things was to make sure the Tile trackers that we bought for the cats on our last trip were still working. I procrastinated on that until Wednesday when I learned they all needed new batteries. They still worked but they were close to not working so I ordered batteries from Amazon for a Thursday delivery. When they arrived they were the wrong batteries.
Rose thought the collars were unnecessary and I was just being paranoid but there is a difference between cautious and paranoid. Anyway, I didn’t put collars on anyone for fear of tipping my hand to what was going on to Floki. I thought I would wait until the last minute. The last minute was Friday morning. I had moved both crates to the Florida room the night before and now Chris was sleeping in the new crate and Floki slept in the old crate. Frankie was in the house outside of Floki’s view so I put his collar on. I then put Chris’s collar on while he was in his crate but it was tight on him. I guess he has gained even more weight since January. Just after I took it off to adjust the fit, Floki got wind of what was going on and tried to sneak past me but I grabbed him and shoved him in with Chris and zipped it up. It was a little early but close enough. They didn’t get their trackers on but I decided not to worry about it. I then put Frankie in his crate and we were on the road at 7:34 a.m.
The trip was uneventful for a while. We even had peace and quiet because Floki didn’t cry up a storm like last time. Then there was that incedent.
At 1:15 we crossed the border into South Carolina. At that very moment, Rose said “Oh my God! Somebody pooped.” Okay, she didn’t actually say “pooped” but let’s pretend that is the word she used.
“We are probably just passing something stinky,” I said.
“Don’t question my nose,” she said. “If I say somebody pooped than somebody pooped!”
I should mention that Rose is blessed with a nose like a bloodhound but she is cursed with the inability to tolerate bad smells. Unlike dogs, who can stick their noses in a pile of dung, the tiniest oder is like standing in the middle of a stink factory to Rose.
I looked back and saw Chris clawing at the corner of the pad. I said, “I think you are right. Chris is either burying his poop or Floki’s poop. Probably his.”
At this point the smell was getting worse and Rose’s stress level was through the roof. Fortunately there was a rest stop a mile ahead but I feared she would have a nervous breakdown before we got there.
As soon as we parked I went to the bathroom to get wet paper towels but found only electric hand dryers. It occurred to me that there was a container of window cleaner wipes in the truck but when I returned saw that Rose had already thought of that and was wiping the poop out of the crate with them. The poop was loose and runny but fortunately Chris pulled the pad up first so it was mostly on an easy to clean surface.
We got to the hotel at 3:33, almost exactly 8 hours after we left. The first thing the cats did was use the litter box. They must have all needed to go badly because they couldn’t wait for Frankie to finish.
I cleaned the box about twenty minutes later and is was basically full already.
I then opened the blind a bit so the cats could look out the window. They liked that.
Later, Rose opened up a couple of catnip toys. Frankie and Floki enjoyed playing with them while Chris watched.
I did not get a photo of Floki but I did get a video which I may post later
That evening Rose commented about how exhausted we bought were the evening we arrived in West Virginia the first time. I suggested that since we could not close the cats out in a hotel room, Chris probably kept us up all night.
We went to bed early last night, around 8:45, hoping to avoid the exhaustion this time. Almost immediately Chris climbed up to the top of my head and started digging his claws into my face. For some reason he prefers to bother me and mostly leaves Rose in peace.
I moved Chris to the foot of the bed and tried to go back to sleep but three minutes later Chris was bothering me again. I counted how many times I had to move him or put him off the bed completely. By 9:50 it was eleven times. I stopped counting then but the bothering continued. I woke Rose up a couple of times as I annoyingly moved Chris away. She complained that I was keeping her up and I sarcastically said, “I am so sorry I disturbed you.”
We were both up well before 4 a.m. and decided to stay up. I estimate that I moved Chris more than 40 times that night. I kept thinking that cats are supposed to sleep a lot so soon he would tire and fall asleep. I was wrong. He waited until I was up before taking a nap.
It is now after 5 a.m. The hotel serves breakfast at 6:00 so we will eat then and get back on the road.
Before I even knew there was a storm brewing, one of my coworkers told me, very concerned, that we were going to get hit by a hurricane. I had not seen the news and had no idea what he was talking about but since he just recently moved to Florida I told him not to worry, we don’t get hit by hurricanes here. I told him of a local Indian legend that says there is something under the ground here in Pinellas County that repels hurricanes.
Indeed, I believe there is no record of Pinellas County Florida ever getting a direct hit by a hurricane, although a few have come close. Several years ago Hurricane Charley was predicted to slam right into Tampa Bay but suddenly, and unexpectedly, veered east and hit the Ft. Meyer’s area. Maybe the legend is true.
Yesterday that same employee asked our boss about the company’s inclement weather policy. I couldn’t help but laugh. Since we are a small business, I pictured that written down in a big manual somewhere.
My wife was concerned too but not about our safety. Her concern was that we might lose power and thus the ability to cool ourselves. She wanted me to make sure I had the batteries charged on our alternative power supplies.
The worst of the storm was supposed to pass by, just offshore, between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. We watched the weather that evening but there was barely a breeze.
We went to bed around 10 p.m. but left the bedroom door open incase the storm got bad and the cats wanted to be with us. Chris showed up around 2 a.m. and proceeded to bother the hell out me by scratching my neck and face. After a while I put him on the floor and lured them all out of the bedroom buy getting out the Stella and Chewy’s. I then went back to bed but realized I forgot to look out the window so I went back out to the kitchen and looked out the window. None of the trees were moving from the wind except a lone palm tree. Not sure what happened to the hurricane. Perhaps it was repelled.
This morning everything looks fine. There is no flooding and no debris that I can see from my house. Now I have to go to work. No excuses today.
The second leg of our trip back from West Virginia went pretty well except Floki cried almost the entire drive home. He would stop for brief respites and then start again. I half expected Chris to smack him and meow at him to be quiet.
We got home at about 1:00 in the afternoon. When we reached Tampa and were about a half hour from home we started joking about how surprised the cats were going to be when we put them in their old home.
I never researched how good a cat’s memory is. I always imagined it to be similar to a human’s memory. I’d like to think that if I brought Chris back to the home we lived in when we adopted him more than eleven years ago he would remember it, or at least find it familiar.
I brought both crates inside and then opened the door. They were all so happy to be free and I could only imagine what they were thinking. What they did not do was go exploring. A new place requires exploring but this one was already known to them.
When we left for West Virginia I cleaned our three litter boxes and brought two of them with me. Before coming back I ordered from Amazon a replacement for each of the two boxes I took from there along with a couple of bags of litter. Our neighbor was kind enough to bring everything in the house for us so I was able to quickly get all the litter boxes filled with litter because I knew that would be needed right away. I wasn’t wrong about that.
One bad thing that happened in West Virginia was that Floki mostly stopped paying attention to Rose. Every morning Rose would sit on a stool at the side of the bed and check her email, Facebook, and I don’t know what else. During that time Floki would come to Rose and let her hold him for a while. While in West Virginia, he never did that. And to throw salt in the wound he would get on my lap right in front of her. The day we got home Floki let Rose pick him up and hold him again. I was very pleased to see that.
Another bad thing that happened up there was my toes almost fell off. Well, not literally, but it felt like they would. Even in Florida my hands and feet always seemed colder than they should be, but in West Virginia, there were times when I felt like I had frostbite on my toes. One evening, on Christmas Day or the day after, I spent quite a while standing in the kitchen. When we finally sat down to eat my toes on my right foot felt frozen and were throbbing with pain. When I took my socks off later I saw they were red and slightly swollen.
I looked up what might be the cause and the closest thing I could come up with was a condition called Chilblains which is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “painful inflammation of small blood vessels in your skin that occur in response to repeated exposure to cold but not freezing air.” One symptom I didn’t have was itching so I wasn’t sure. I also read it was common in very young and very old people. If I did have it, I reasoned, I must be too young.
A couple of days later it happened again so I went to the doctor and she wasn’t certain but agreed that Chilblains was probably what I had and I should go out of my way to keep my feet warm. I think we decided then that we would not be spending Christmas there anymore, even though all of our Christmas decorations are there now.
We have been home for almost two days now and the cats have gone back to their old routines like nothing ever happened. I, for one, am happy to be wearing shorts with no socks.
It is now 6:30 on Saturday morning as I start this post. Ten minutes ago we left our home in West Virginia and ate heading back to our home in Florida. Getting to this point wasn’t easy.
I think what caused me the most stress was worrying about getting Floki in the crate before he ran under the bed. My idea was to feed them in the empty bedroom and then put them all in the crates when we finished everything we had to do.
I woke up at 3:00 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep because I was worrying about carrying the crates down the stairs, especially the big one with Chris and Floki. I am sure the handle was not designed for that weight and I didn’t want to drop them down the stairs.
I also knew I had litter boxes to clean since we didn’t want to leave with old litter in the box. Actually, Rose didn’t want to do that. I cleaned two of the four boxes last night. I figured I would clean one this morning, which I did, but the last one would have to wait until the cats were in their crates.
Rose couldn’t sleep either so we got up at four and decided not to lock the cats in the bedroom. I fed them and spent the time preparing to close up the house and get stuff ready to go out to the car, including cleaning our giant litter pan.
I then started loading the car. There was way too much stuff for Rose’s little car and didn’t know how I was going to fit everything. I had the car more than half filled when Rose stuck her head out the door and said “We have a big problem.”
Since we had to put the top down to fit the crates in the back set she reminded me the trunk had to be empty to put the top down. Since it is a hard top it takes up room in the trunk when it’s down.
So I had to empty everything that was in the trunk. As I was doing that Rose informed me she caught Floki and put him in the crate. I went inside and helped get Chris, who we put with Floki, and the Frankie, when is flying solo. I then put the last litter box in a big garbage bag.
Rose put the top down and I put the cats in the car. I then loaded the trunk, which is as full as it can be, took out the trash, double checked the house and left.
Forty five minutes has gone by since I started writing and Floki is still crying. Wish us luck.