Monday, July 2, 2007

How to move the cats

My cats are very important to me. There's no way I'm giving them up when they chose us to begin with. So they must come to Alaska, too.

They are indoor kitties, so living in a wild, cold place like Alaska isn't going to be a problem, especially for Dusty and his big belly and thick coat of long fur. And he'll keep skinny Asuka warm by pouncing on her every five minutes.

But I've never traveled such a long distance with cats before. An hour at the most. And that was difficult enough as it was.

So I've been pondering the different ways we could be moving. Logan said the traditional way for the company is to ship our stuff, ship our car, and we fly up.

Ugh. I hate flying. No way.

So then we considered driving up through Canada, which could take like four or five days, or driving up to Washington and taking the ferry up.

Either way, that's a lot of time spent in the car. A vast potential for a lot of problems as well. What if they don't eat, drink, or go potty that entire time? They could make themselves really sick. Starting as a new manager and speaking completely selfishly, I don't want to have sick kitties on my list of things to freak out about.

After some Internet research, I decided to buy a couple of harnesses and leashes and teach them to walk around outside safely. I found a dark blue one for Dusty and a hot pink one for Asuka, with matching leashes.

I put the harnesses on them as soon as I got home. Having worn collars for a year now, getting them on wasn't the problem.

Dusty didn't even notice his, of course. He is so laid back he spends most of the day on his back with his paws in the air. That big belly of his keeps him well balanced. He did roll around for a few minutes, but that was it.

Asuka acted like a fly was buzzing in her ears. She lashed her tail, sprang in the air as if zapped with a cattle prod, and twitched her ears back and forth a lot. This went on for a few hours. She kept licking and scratching at it, too.

But she's used to it now. And I took them both outside for their first airing yesterday. Asuka acted like I had attached a 30 pound weight to her back when I clipped on the leash; she flattened her back and walked with bent knees for a bit.

Dusty thought it all was just soooo cool. But of course, neither of them wanted to go in the same direction, so there I was with my arms way out at my sides like I was trying to fly to Alaska on my own hot air. We were only out on our back area, which is enclosed with a chest high wall, but with gaping spots underneath for any and all creatures to slip through.

After a bit, Dusty got tired of not being allowed to go any further, so he started trying to back out of the harness. I used his distraction to get him a little closer to Asuka so I could scoop both of them up and whisk them away back to familiar territory behind doors.

Today, I took them out on the walkway in front of the apartment one at a time. Dusty,being the cooler head, I took first. He hovered by the door a bit, but then walked right next to me partway down the walk. I swear he was a dog in his past life.

But after a couple of feet, he lost his nerve and turned back for home. So then I took Asuka out. She jumped into the nearest bush and would not come out. Oh, well. I had to step into the foliage next to our front door to extract her from the bush and take her back in.

Actually, I think they both handled it okay. They'll get better over time and this way I'll be able to take them for walks at rest stops on the trip up.

Though now I'm starting to think flying might be better after all, for them. More on that later.


Anonymous said...

I am trying to move 4 cats up to Alaska. WHat would you suggest?

Sparklecat said...

Well, flying worked out to be the best for our situation. Our stuff was being shipped, including our car, and I wanted to keep the cats near me.

However, the only reason I could take my cats in the cabin with me was because we have two and my husband and I were both flying. If it were just me, I probably would have had to put them in the cargo area.

So here were the things I checked out while researching: Taking the Ferry up (takes a really long time, but they allow pets on board), driving them up (my cats HATE traveling, hence the reason I leash trained them. That way they could get out of the car and walk around), flying them up (can be expensive and if you have too many, you'll have to put them in cargo, but it's faster), or having them moved up by a company who specializes in moving pets.

That last one I didn't look into much, but they do exist. You'll have to check out their prices and what they do when they ship animals.

Hope that helps!