Chai on the Road Again
Last summer a stray cat showed up, half-dead, on my parents’ farm. They took pity on her and took care of her– only to find out that she was pregnant. I happened to be home for a few days in between finishing my job in Saskatchewan and heading to my next one in the Yukon when she had her three kittens, two gray females and a white (now tan) boy. After I returned from the Yukon, when Chai was just 2 1/2 months, I took him to live with me for the winter on Vancouver Island. The past two winters I had fostered kittens for the SPCA, knowing that I couldn’t take them with me to my field jobs. But my parents agreed that if I took Chai they would take care of him in the summers for me.
Chai wasn’t very happy at first, stuck in a carrier, missing his family. But he settled down and was a pretty good boy. He was very happy on our third day on the road to get a chance to get out of his carrier during the ferry ride. He explored the car and then settled down peacefully for a nap on my pillow in the back seat.
Chai flew home with me at Christmas, and has been to the vet several times. And now he HATES car rides. He doesn’t hate his carrier when it is in the apartment, as he will go in it just to hang out in there, but once he is shut in he yowls horribly and paws frantically at the carrier. If he is in his soft-sided carrier (the airline-approved kind) he is able to push against the zipper and break out. I think he thinks if he works hard enough at it he should be able to escape from his hard-sided carrier. So I was glad on the return move we were at the ferry about two hours into the trip. I let him out but he was much more stressed this time. He wanted to hide under my seat. I blocked him from getting there with a sweater and he decided the best place to be was down by the passenger seat.
Poor guy. That evening I was very relieved to find a motel that allowed pets (although the guy at the desk told me to keep him off the bed– ha!) Chai spent a lot of time hiding under the bed.
In he morning he freaked out when I took a shower, which was very odd, as he usually likes to play a game trying to grab my feet from under the shower curtain. But the drive that day went better, as he slept more and cried less.
We spent some time at my sister’s but both of us were relieved to make it to my parents’, where he was reunited with his family. They aren’t so happy to see him. Chai has been deprived of cat-friends to play with and he is nearly twice the size of his sisters, so he plays a little too rough. And it sounds like my mum is getting a first-hand experience of his antics– destroying toilet paper rolls, stealing pot scrubbers, “helping” in the kitchen– do you remember when I said that I wanted to give him to the SPCA and you said send him to you, Mum? But I think he is enjoying getting to nap on his favourite kitchen chair cushion and having more room to run around and play than in a tiny apartment.
I miss Chai.