Cats In Space
Cats are just not constitutionally adapted to flying. Beppo and Zazou, weary to the last whisker, have been explaining this to us since they arrived, although they do seem to be settling in. I can’t even imagine what they’ve been thinking, though.
First they spent ten days in kitty camp, which is a luxury spot for cats, if they absolutely have to be away from home, which no self-respecting cat wants to be. I watched them via webcam and they seemed to be having a fine time there, as usual. But then, horrors! And I’m glad there was no webcam for this part.
They were picked up from camp by an animal taxi and driven to the Montpellier airport. There was a huge freak snowstorm in the south of France and their flight was delayed for two hours. Of course they didn’t know that, and probably they were happier on the ground anyway, but there they were in Montpellier, alone in a foreign land. Next they flew to Paris where they spent the night in a chatterie, some sort of kennel for flying kitties.
And then finally they got on an Air France flight to Seattle, the same flight we’d taken ourselves some days earlier, a flight that lasts 10 1/2 hours. Now personally I spent those hours watching four movies, but I have no idea how the cats passed the time. I’m guessing that Zazou mewed and meowed for at least ten of those hours, as she is wont to do, and that Beppo probably sat stoically in his carrier, cursing his fate. I know that Shel and I, on the ground, were passing the time saying things like “Okay, the kitties must be 40,000 feet over Greenland right now.”
When at last they arrived in Seattle we went to the airport to pick them up and found that we had to pass through Customs before we could reclaim them. Possibly they thought we might be importing rabid fighting weasels disguised as house cats, and they put us through the question mill. “Oho, so he’s an American cat, but is he an American citizen?” “Well, yes, he’s an American citizen, and she’s a French citizen, but both cats have French passports.” “So he went to France and found himself a French cat and now he’s bringing her home?” “Yes, and she’s really a cutie, even though she doesn’t have a Green Card.” Possibly I shouldn’t have said that bit about the Green Card, since it seldom pays to plumb the depths of the sense of humor of a Customs Official.
After what seemed like an eternity of paperwork, the cats came home with us. Beppo appears to remember that he spent his first year here, and Zazou the Intrepid isn’t showing any signs of being terrorized by her new environment. We are, though, since the island has become home to coyotes, who are said to hunt cats. We scarcely want to let them out of our sight, but of course they are used to being Free Cats, and world travelers at that, so if it weren’t raining they’d surely be outside right now, instead of snuggled together on my favorite recliner.
And now we head back to the airport to reclaim our 21 cartons and suitcases, which, we have been informed, weigh in at 647 pounds. We’ve rented a truck for the occasion, and I wish I could have rented a bevy of strong young guys as well. And we’ll have to go through Customs again. I can see it already. “Oho, so you rented a furnished house in France and you still acquired 647 pounds of stuff?” I’m trying to think of how to explain that.
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