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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9 Comments on “Cats In Space”

  1. Vicki Says:

    Welcome back! You will be settled in your new surroundings in no time.

  2. zuleme Says:

    Glad to hear the cats made it ok. Here we also have coyotes, and bears and fisher cats, raccoons and foxes. The yard is fenced in for the cats with deer fencing and they come in before dark. They love it, it’s the best thing I ever did for them. I can’t see keeping a cat indoors but I want them to be safe.
    Best wishes for moving all your things and settling in.

  3. MickeyM Says:

    Abra & Shel, I know you’d rather be in France but we here are very happy to see you again. Hopefully you’ll be able to go back soon. At least spring is early on Bainbridge this year (although you wouldn’t know it from today’s weather). Excellent timing on your return – a week earlier and you would have had 6,000 (all-time record) Chilly Hilly bicycles zooming past your house.

  4. Lori Says:

    What sophisticated cats you have. My cats would definitely not make very good world travelers. When they go to the vet, one starts to hyperventilate and the other deficates.

    At home, they give no hint of their fear of the unknown. We try not to let them out at all for similar reasons that you mention – coyotes, as well as ticks and possible rabid wild animals. But if there are deer outside and the cats manage to slip through the crack in the door, you would think that the deer were being chased by a pack of lions!

  5. John DePaula Says:

    647 lbs, eh? That’s probably just your Dehillerin stache… 😉

    Glad the kitties are back home safely.

  6. Rona Y Says:

    Welcome back! I hope you’re feeling a little more comfortable after cleaning up the stuff the tenant left!

    I’m getting ready to leave Japan after 6 years. I just sent 30 boxes of stuff yesterday (in my defence, some were quite small), so now I just have to pack my suitcases and clean. So I understand very well right now the stresses of relocating and starting anew. Although you’re living in your own home, it probably doesn’t “feel” like home quite yet, even after cleaning up.

    I’m happy to hear Zazou and Beppo made the trip safely. When my cat has to board, I like to call the place where she stays her “vacation home”. Makes me feel better for leaving her with someone else for so long.

    Now that the kittehs are with you, it makes your home a little more homely, doesn’t it? Kitteh loving does wonders with all ailments!

  7. Life is always better when there are pussy cats around. Glad yours are safe and sound with you. Our precious puddy cat is getting ready to go back to Italy, thanks god she’s completely bilingual. Now if she could earn Frequent Flyer Miles, life would be good.
    Welcome home and good luck with the 647 pounds of stuff!!

  8. shayma Says:

    oh they are absolute darlings! i really like your blog- i came across it via Food52. best wishes, shayma

  9. Andi Says:

    Traveling with cats can be stressful, I just blogged about it myself. When I took mine to Europe I brought my cat on board with me (disaster) when I returned to the States later, she went with cargo and we both survived better!

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