And that’s the wonderful thing about family travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind. ~Dave Barry
I wanted to post this on Wednesday, but am trying to catch up. This is rather long, it was a terrible trip! Family travel is always interesting, this trip will definitely be locked forever in scar tissue!
Mittens did not adjust to the carrier well. She was given her little relaxing pill about 530 in the morning before incarceration. The drive from the house to the airport was not too easy for her, but I figured, the pill hadn’t gotten into her yet. At the small airport she was mildly annoyed, but I wasn’t too worried.
That first flight was bad, it was a precursor of the rest of the day. Foreboding, if I had known it. I was able to fit the carrier in comfortably under the seat, it was dark, and there was turbulence. When we disembarked, I hot footed it to security. I wanted to get thru before any sort of rush. Mittens wasn’t impressed with being removed and then stuffed back inside her blue home for the day, it didn’t matter. Eventually, she calmed a bit more. I think waiting in a quiet spot where we’d eventually board helped. I was near the window where our plane out of Alaska was waiting for cleaning and new passengers. We were there for close to 3 hours or more.
That was when things took a dip for the worse. I’m still very annoyed about the whole thing. It was close to boarding, so I decided I’d better go to the bathroom. When we returned to our quiet spot, an airline employee popped around the corner of the spot and asked my name and if I had a cat. I responded yes. She looked at the carrier and said, ‘That isn’t going to fit.’ She zipped around the wall and then I was called to the desk. I was told there was a good chance my carrier wouldn’t fit and they were going to preboard me to have me check. This didn’t sound too bad. I knew it had fit well on the small plane, I was sure it would be ok. I got on the plane with no one around me except stewardesses who suggested I measure any seat in a certain section as they were all the same size underneath. I slid the carrier with Mittens inside underneath a random seat and it didn’t fit. Bewildered, I turned it and it still did not fit. I was then told I’d need to get a new carrier for the cat.
I left the plane and went to the front desk. There I was asked what I wanted to do. When I responded I was told to get a new carrier, it was discovered there wasn’t one in the area. I’m not sure where they had to go, but the blamed thing was 55$ and soft. I was asked if I still wanted the blue carrier and when I responded yes, they sent it on without charging extra.
This time the two of us entered the plane last and the new carrier didn’t fit under the seat at all! It was worse than the first one. After I landed in my seat, I realized the zip for the top was on the far end and thought I should move the carrier around. Darn good thing I did, it wasn’t secure and an incredibly pissed Mittens almost got out! The lovely lady next to me helped secure the flap as I kept Mittens in place. I spent that entire 3 or more hours bent over the carrier, tapping the side, talking to Mittens, and managed to get a pinky finger mauled. The carrier, being soft, was writhing with angry cat like an unborn alien. The black mesh often had stark white claws poking through. The yowls went from soft heart rending sounds to curses of pure evil incarnate. I was fortunate my seat mates were kind. The man on the window side was plugged into his earphones and didn’t seem bothered by the cat accompaniment near his feet or the woman next to him who kept bumping him as she tried to manage the cat from her seat. The lady in the aisle seat also helped hide the fact that the carrier wasn’t under the seat in front of us. She was wonderful! (the first photo is the carrier on the plane to Seattle. The second was after arriving in Oregon. The black one is a tad thinner and shorter, but the height was close to the same. The hard plastic did slide better, too)
Eventually, we arrived in SeaTac. I was so tired and so thankful we didn’t need to take the tram to the next destination. I called Mittens’ vet in Alaska and was told it was ok to give her another pill. I also gave up blood. Mittens seemed slightly more at ease, so the last flight wasn’t quite as awful. I am pretty sure a good portion of her horror on the larger plane was where we were seated. We were over the wheels and it was not quiet at all. The vibrations underfoot were intense for human toes, I can imagine how Mittens felt!
I was able to relax a bit on our last flight and even enjoyed a half a glass of white wine. It took a bit after landing to get our luggage, there was an announcement about some difficulties. I wondered if it was the empty cat carrier stashed somehow in with the rest of the suitcases. No matter, we left and eventually got to the house. Mittens was very glad to be released and has not gone back in the open blue carrier for any reason what so ever! I put her old blanket in it in case she felt she needed a secure spot. I also found a pill in the bottom of the black mesh bag.
All in all, traveling with a cat was an experience I learned several things from. First, I will never do this again unless the cat is used to travel or is much younger or is stuffed. Second, people like pets, but not if the critters are unhappy. Third, soft sided carriers are made for the transport of calm creatures. Fourth, call the pertinent airlines and ask them to tell you exactly the specific sizes for carriers for travel. And last, imbibe fabric in the carrier with calming aroma approved for a feline, people in the cabin, and harried two leggers!