Tag Archives: South Carolina

Halfway There


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.

On the Road Again


We got to our hotel room yesterday a little after 2:00 p.m. It was relatively early but the cats needed a potty break and my back was hurting from the car ride.

On the way to West Virginia we stayed at a Home2 by Hilton in Columbia South Carolina. It was a nice room inside the hotel where I didn’t have to worry much about Frankie escaping because even if he got out of the room he would still be contained inside the hotel.. This time we stayed at a Best Western in Walterboro, South Carolina. It was an outside room and not nearly as nice.

Going both ways I wanted our second day to be slightly shorter than our first because I figured we would be sick of driving by the second day, plus we needed more time to settle in at home. So with that in mind, Walterboro was the only option.

Rose typically likes to stay at Hiltons or Marriotts but those hotels, at least in Walterboro, did not allow pets. My only choices were Best Western, Econolodge, Motel 6, etc. We both thought Best Western would be the best of the worst so we picked that one. We may have been wrong.

We got a room near the end and when we pulled in a calico cat immediately came up to our car with a big story. I happened to have Stella and Chewy’s readily available in the truck so I put some down for her while Rose put the top down so we could remove our cats.

Rose thought she was pregnant but then we noticed she was ear tipped. I think she is just smart and knows how to get food out of visitors. It worked on me.

When we got in the room we noticed it smelled like dog. It also was covered with old carpet and Rose was worried about fleas. I wanted to put the litter box on a hard floor, not carpet, for ease of cleaning, but the only hard floor was in the tiny bathroom. I couldn’t put it there. Rose suggested putting it on a towel, which I did.

It wasn’t long before Chris pulled the towel back and then dumped a bunch of litter on the exposed carpet. It was then that I realized I had forgotten to bring a broom and dustpan. All I could do was pick it up with my fingers.

What surprised me was when Chris got into the crate that he was trapped in all day. I found Floki in the smaller crate too but I did not get a photo of that.

I went out later to get dinner and brought some food out for the stray. It was then that I noticed a shy black cat hanging out with the calico. Frankie noticed too.

We left this morning around 6:30. The first thing I did was bring out bowl of wet food and a bowl of dry food for the calico and black cat. The calico was there eating the wet food as I loaded the cats in the car. I never saw the black cat again. Perhaps he was waiting for us to leave.

It is now 8:00 a.m. and Floki is still howling. Yesterday it lasted three hours and then another two hours of on and off crying. Hopefully today will be better.

Halfway There


We made it to our hotel in Columbia, South Carolina at around 5:30. It should have taken seven and a half hours but it actually was closer to ten.

This photo was taken right after Floki discovered he couldn’t jump through the mirror.

We need to leave very early tomorrow so we get to our new home in West Virginia in time to get help unpacking.

Chris’s Real Eleventh Gotcha Day


Ten days ago I posted about Chris’s eleventh Gotha Day but it seems I was having a senior moment and didn’t know what day it was. Chris’s real Gotcha Day is today, November fourteenth, not November fourth. It’s amazing what a difference adding a one can make.

What made me realize my mistake was the photo below that came up on my Facebook app on Thursday and said “Eleven Years Ago.”

Chris meets Rose, October 3, 2009

This is a photo of Chris when he first met Rose at the shelter. You can see he was never shy. I looked at the date which was November 12th and thought two things. First I thought that Chris’s Gotcha Day was two days away so why did I write a post about it last week? I then thought it was weird that that photo was from November 12th and not November 14th.

After thinking about it I realized Rose met Chris much earlier. I looked it up and saw this photo was taken October 3rd, six weeks before we adopted Chris. Back then we didn’t post to Facebook from our phones and I probably posted that photo when we decided to adopt him.

In case you are wondering why it took so long it was because we had a cruise planned in October which took us back to Florida for more than a week. We couldn’t adopt a new cat and then leave. After we returned, Rose had to go to Alabama on a business trip. I think we brought Chris home the day after Rose returned from Alabama.

It is amazing that Chris was available for such a long time considering how loveable and affectionate he has always been. One reason, I think, is because he was adopted and then returned because he was too annoying for the couple who adopted him. That probably put a stain on his record. I know that happened but I don’t remember if that happened before I met him or in between this photo and the day we took him home.

In either case, I consider ourselves lucky to have found such a unique and special cat. In spite of his behavior, or perhaps because of it, he has been a real blessing in our lives.

Photo Friday: Balcony Cats


My wife was promoted to property manager in 2009 and transferred to Myrtle Beach to run a property there. We got a third-floor apartment at the back of the property. If I remember correctly she wanted to be out of the way so most residents wouldnt know where we lived.

I rigged screening around the balcony railing with double-sided tape so the cats could go outside without the temptation to jump down. I also attached screening to long pieces of wood and hung them from the top of the balcony so the cats couldn’t jump onto the railing and possibly hurt themselves by falling off. That screening was then rolled up when not in use so nobody would notice it was there.

Bottom to top: Tigger, Alex and Abbey

All of these photos were taken almost ten years ago on June 21, 2010 using a digital camera that was outdated even for the time, so forgive the quality.

Abbey

The pool noodles were added after we adopted Chris because he was able to squeeze his body under the railing and jump down from the third floor. (see here).

Chris and Tigger
Tigger and Alex

So what do you think of our little trip to the past?

Our Prize Arrived


A few weeks ago we won a cat tunnel from the Swiss Cats Blog. Our cats have enough toys so I asked Claire if she could have it sent to the Shelter where we adopted Chris. It is called Sav-R-Cats in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach.

Yesterday I was informed that they received the tunnel as well as a few other things I wasn’t expecting. They posted this photo on their Facebook page and said I could use it. The caption is the text from the post.

This is our is a gift we just received from Switzerland. Chuck Huss adopted a kitty from us named Chris several years ago he entered a contest and won!!! So he was so nice and had it sent to us. A cat tunnel mice and cat treats. Thank you so much Chuck for thinking of us I know the cats will enjoy them.

Judging from the photos, the tunnel and mice look like high quality items. Plus the kitties got some cool treats to share. It looks like three of them are waiting for the picture taking to be over so they can dive in.

Photo Friday: Creek Ratz Cat


All my recent cat photos are still on my camera and Chris is on my lap so I decided to look through old photos for something to post today. As some of you know, my wife and I spent 16 months in Myrtle Beach between mid 2009 and late 2010. It is where we adopted Chris late in 2009. While there we enjoyed going to a place called Murrell’s Inlet.

Murrell’s Inlet had several shops and restaurants, one of which was called Creek Ratz. We liked eating there but I also enjoyed the company of a stray cat that was a regular visitor at the restaurant. I would always order a salad with grilled chicken when he was around and then slip him most of the chicken.

Creek Ratz Cat March 23, 2010

And the Winners are… The Shelter Cats


A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Ellen of the blog 15 and Meowing. She said we won the prize in their Halloween giveaway, The prizes were supposed to be a catnip mat, a catnip ghost, a magnet and a button skull but when I asked that she send the prize to Chris’s old shelter, Sav-R-Cats, in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, Ellen decided to make more catnip toys, 20 in all, so the cats at the shelter could enjoy them. Isn’t she wonderful?

I got the following pictures from Shirley, the shelter manager at Sav-R-Cats, and it looks like the prizes were a hit.

cats with toys at sav-r-cats cat shelter cats with toys at sav-r-cats cat shelter cats with toys at sav-r-cats cat shelter

I’m grateful to Ellen and her crew and happy that these homeless cats have something to brighten their days a little. I know that they are well taken care of there, but I still hope all will find a loving home soon.

The Great Upheaval


Sixteen months after moving to Myrtle Beach, it was time to go back to Florida. Rose was asked to manage the property she left when she was an assistant manager. It was another promotion for her since the Florida property was more than double the size of the Myrtle Beach property. More importantly, we really wanted to go back to where we belonged.

Since Rose did not want to live on the property, we ended up renting a condo at the same complex that we used to own. We knew it was nice there and did not want any unpleasant surprises, since we couldn’t see the rentals first hand.

The big problem was that renting almost always means two pets. This place had a two pet rule in their bylaws. When we owned it was easier to sneak in a few extra cats, but as a renter, forget it. We decided we could get away with no more than three. That meant that two cats had to go. It was something I was not prepared to do and even tried to talk Rose into moving into one of her own apartments. At least I would have some pull with the landlord. Unfortunately, that did not work.

It was decided that Princess was an obvious choice because she didn’t like any of the other cats and absolutely despised Abbey. She would spend her days hiding under Rose’s dressing table and hiss and growl at Abbey when she came in the same room. Tony, the maintenance supervisor, took Princess for his little girls, who planned on spoiling her.

The next choice was difficult. Chris, we knew, could not be tolerated by anybody and would wind up back at the shelter so, in this case, being bad was good, for him anyway.

That left Tigger and the sister and brother, Abbey and Alex. It was not a matter of which one we cared about more, it was who we thought would be less affected by the separation. In this case, being good was bad. Alex turned out to be the better choice to stay behind because he wasn’t as needy. He also seemed to have become more of a loner as he aged. Don’t get me wrong, he was one of the friendliest cat I knew, he just was becoming less social with the other cats.

One of my last photos of Alex with Chris, of course, on top of him.

Alan, the maintenance technician, took Alex. It was nice to know our cats had someone to take care of them. I could not leave them in a cage at a shelter.

I brought Alex to Alan’s apartment a couple of days before we left and then went over a couple of times to visit him. He seemed happy there. I hated to leave him but that’s life sometimes.

I decided to plan the drive to Florida better than the drive to South Carolina. The first time we drove straight through and that was hard on the cats. This time I calculated the half-way point to be somewhere near the Florida border. I had checked hotels in Brunswick Georgia and Jacksonville Florida and found the ones near the expressway that took pets. This time we were going to leave later in the day and spend the night at a hotel.

Truck driver Rose with the cats.

On November 12, 2010, we spent all morning and part of the afternoon loading the rental truck. When that was done, we were left with the hard part, packing the cats. We had to put the cats between us on the front seat of the truck. In the large carrier, we put Tigger and Abbey because they get along well together. Chris went on top in the small carrier because we thought he would appreciate being able to look out the window.

The cats were pretty good for the most part and we made it to Jacksonville before stopping for the night. They were all happy to be out of their boxes, especially Chris, who had to investigate every nook and cranny of the hotel room.

The next day we drove the rest of the way to Dunedin. When we arrived we had two men come and help us unload the truck. That took many hours and the cats had to be shut up in the bathroom the entire time. I supposed after being in a truck all morning, it was a welcome respite.

Our new place had two levels and Chris shot up and down the stairs like an old pro. He would sometimes skip two or three stairs as he bounded down, usually hitting the ground floor and sliding into the bathroom door. Abbey, however, would come down very carefully, first the two front feet then the two rear feet, one step at a time.

Our new home with screen-less patio.

The biggest problem with our new home was that our patio was not screened nor could it be, so the cats had to stay inside. The other cats didn’t mind but poor Chris was like a bird with no wings.

Life before Chris


Before I tell you about Chris, I feel I need to describe our circumstances that led to his adoption. I guess the best place to start is with another bad cat, Holly.

My sister-in-law is a cat lover who works at a vet and has adopted several wayward cats along the way. One cat, Holly, stands out among the others because of all the trouble she is constantly getting into. Whenever we visit there, my wife, Rose, would get a kick out of Holly’s antics. We would always joke that we were going to take her home because she is such a character.

Holly investigating Gifts

Of course, we were not serious because we had five cats of our own. The oldest cat princess we got as a kitten around 2002. She was part of a litter of feral cats and somehow had most of her tail ripped off. Rose felt bad for the tailless kitten (with fleas) so we took her in. She turned out to be an affectionate, but demanding…cat.

Princess

The next two cats, Abbey and Alex, who happen to be brother and sister, we adopted in 2005 when they were about a year old. Alex was a very friendly cat who liked everyone and Abbey was very shy but affectionate, once she got to know you.

Tigger and Flash came next. Tigger was adopted by Rose’s mom but the shelter called the next day wanting him back because his brother could not be separated from him. Since her mom was not ready for two cats, we took them both. Tigger was a very friendly kitten but his brother, Flash was extremely nervous. We named him Flash because when you tried to pet him he was gone in a flash. He did eventually warm up to me but he stayed nervous around strangers.

Clockwise from left: Abbey, Flash, Alex and Tigger

In the summer of 2009 my wife got a promotion and transfer from Florida to South Carolina. Princess stayed with Rose’s son, Nick and the other four went with us. I had some difficulty finding a job there and when I did it was part-time. I worked about 30 hours a week depending on demand and decided to Volunteer my extra time.

I started at the Myrtle Beach Humane Society. They needed dog walkers and people to let cats out of their cages for exercise. I decided to help with the cats but soon realized it was like spitting in the ocean. They had over 200 cats, most in small cages by themselves. If that wasn’t bad enough, we were only allowed to take one cat out at a time and it seemed only a small percentage would get out of their cage on any given day. I felt bad leaving there because they really needed the help but I needed to do something more meaningful.

My neighbor volunteered at a place called Sav-R-Cats so I decided to give that a try. The Sav-R-Cats shelter was quite smaller than the Humane Society and a bit disorganized but I liked the fact that the cats were in much bigger cages and most were let out during the day to play with each other. Many cats did not even have cages and were left out 24/7. It was here that I was able to actually contribute and it was here that I would meet trouble with a capital C.

Sav-R-Cats shelter

Next time I will talk about my first encounter with Chris and how we ended up adopting him.