Happy New Year and 2012 to you all. I hope you had a wonderful time with family and friends and that all of your travels went smoothly.
First of all, a word to the wise about New Year's resolutions: If you don't want to break them, don't make them.
Now on to my story.
I had a difficult decision to make this Christmas. The past two years I have taken Cleo with me to Michigan to visit her grandparents, but this year was the first I also had the new addition to our family: Lilah. It costs the same amount to take a cat on a plane as it does to board them for 10 days (seriously - sticking her under the seat in front of me cost almost as much as my ticket. She should have gotten beverage service for the amount I paid). You are only allowed to take one animal per passenger, so I decided to bring Cleo with me since she had the flying experience and board Lilah (who is so neurotic just thinking about bringing her on a plane gave me heart palpitations).
The poor girls had no idea what was in store for them. The morning I had to leave I stuffed an unsuspecting Lilah in the cat carrier - her first trip in one since I brought her home from the shelter - and hauled her meowing ass over to a cats only boarding facility. She was less than thrilled, and when I left her there all small and pathetic in that cage I wanted to cry, even though the people were very nice and I had done crazy amounts of research online about this place beforehand.
I came back home and Cleo was a bit perplexed as to why Lilah didn't return with me. Now I had to shove her into the carrier to take her on a plane. Oh no, she was not having it. After all, the last cat to leave the apartment in that thing had never returned. Cleo's no dummy. But finally I prevailed and off we went to the airport and she remained paralyzed in abject fear for the rest of the trip (except for when she tried to make a run for it in the security line and the nice woman behind me had to help me stuff her back in her carrier).
The rest of the week passed fairly uneventfully.
I returned home to a peaceful apartment and deposited Cleo back in the safety of her own home. She seemed pretty happy. She walked around and sniffed everything and settled in. I gave myself a pat on the back. "I'm an awesome mom," I thought. "Cleo is fine and soon Lilah will be back and they will touch noses and curl up together and we will all go to bed."
Then I went to pick up Lilah.
First of all, the nice lady at the front desk told me how much they all adored her and gave me a note like a teacher would give a parent picking up their 4 year old from preschool. "Lilah was a delight to have. She was friendly and playful and we'd love to have her back any time."
Awww, my baby was such a good girl! I was so proud of her.
Then they brought her out to be stuffed into the cat carrier and I could see the sheer terror in her eyes. I went to take her from the woman and I could tell she had no idea who I was. She cried when we put her in the carrier. She cried all the way out of the building. She cried all the way home. Oh my god. She thought the boarding facility was her new home and I was kidnapping her and taking her away to a new and horrible place! I felt guilty all over again.
When I arrived back at the apartment I unzipped the top of the carrier and there was Lilah huddled into a little ball, refusing to look up. Finally I had to reach in and pick her up and put her in the floor. She saw Cleo. Cleo saw her. Cleo hissed.
You weren't away from each other that long! It was 10 days! But both ended up darting under the bed in fear and Cleo continued to hiss at Lilah for the rest of the day, wondering who this strange cat was who was invading her turf, never mind that they had lived together for the past 6 months.
Oh god. I had destroyed the sanity of both of my cats. Lilah didn't remember me or her home, and Cleo didn't remember Lilah. I felt awful. Cleo pooped on the floor. She has never done that in her life. I was considering kitty Prozac.
It took a while but finally, thankfully, Lilah started tentatively sniffing around and it all seemed to come back to her. Yes, this is my litter box, and my food dish, and my bed, and my chair, and my windowsill, and my toys, and my floor, and my apartment. Yay! And then Cleo started slowly but surely to accept her back into the fold. Yay! Thank the lord. I was so sure I had done permanent damage, but it seems my psychotic kitties have bounced back.
Then last night I stood up to walk to the kitchen and I saw this:
You probably can't make it out, but that's Cleo sitting in her carrier. Of her own free will. She probably sat in there for about 15 minutes. After all of that drama?
What a dingbat.