Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been considering selling our home, buying a motor home and traveling full-time. There are several things about that lifestyle that my wife and I do not agree on. The biggest obstacle is our 14 year old cat. She wants to take the cat and I think that's a bad idea. I have taken that cat in the car to the vet on occasion and he freaks out and howls during the whole trip. I can picture us traveling throughout North America with a howling cat screeching in my ear. Can you give us some direction to common ground on this issue. Thanks in advance.
--Categorically Against Traveling with Felix
If Felix is your biggest obstacle, I think you're well on your way to forever together along North America's Blue Highways. A cat is an easy pet to travel with. Steinbeck preferred a standard Poodle and wrote a best-selling book about his dog peeing on every bush in America. I can't picture John rambling around in the morning with a rubber glove picking up Charlie scat, but who knows. Maybe his editor just cut those passages. Least Heat-Moon did the same thing without a pet but missed all the love and adoration that beams from furry companions who give even when we don't deserve it.
I'm not saying a traveling pet does not come without some maintenance. We travel with two cats. There is the litter to deal with. They like to steal themselves into tight places and hide. Our checklist includes checking for cats above the slides before deploying them. That could be a real catastrophe. We have had them bail out in an area cordoned off as a grizzly bluff charge area in Alaska and jump out in New Mexico and run across the border to Mexico. Both times my wife sent me to find them. They have escaped a couple times in Glacier and Rocky Mountain NP among hundreds of other rigs and they eventually figured out which one was theirs and returned home in the middle of the night crying at the roof vent. But those events are few and far between. We take precautions so our cats do not get out, both for their protection and local wildlife. We have suction cup bird feeders that keep the cats continually entertained. They have seen more birds around North America than most Life List tracking birders. But after 30+ years we do have some stories to tell.
The downside is we have friends allergic to cats and it limits their visitations to our rig.
A trip to the vet is a bit different than traveling in a home on wheels. Felix will eventually become adapted to his new home and find his comfort zone. We have one that hides under the couch as soon as she notices me going for the driver's seat. The other one sits on the dashboard and helps me navigate.
I can't imagine you actually expect your wife to give up a cat you've had for 14 years. The only difference between my child and my cat is that the cat listens to me and doesn't talk back. Take Felix the "wonderful, wonderful cat" with you, and move on to solve the next issue you have.
Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink