COMMENTARY

Riding With Cats … Again

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I served three year-long tours of duty in Iraq, and for the most part am okay but have nearly lost my mind during the chaotic cruises with the cats.

First, there’s Maggie. She had what appeared to be a UTI, so we took her to the vet, but it wasn’t that easy. Until recently, we had several cat carriers in the garage. A few months ago, we donated them to the humane society. I don’t know why we didn’t keep one here. Perhaps, I was secretly hoping I’d never again have to perform such a daunting and somewhat haunting task.

So, I went to the vet without Maggie to get a cardboard carrier for her. Well, that worked about as well as a bowlegged ballerina in blue jeans. Just putting her in the box was stressful to both of us. She was holding onto the side of it for dear life as if she was about to fall off a cliff into a bathtub filled with barking dogs, soapy water, and rocking chairs.

Once I put the car in drive, she took it to a new level. Normally, she’s a very quiet cat, but she cranked it up to where she could’ve passed for an emergency vehicle. I kept my arm over the top of the box, but that didn’t work too well. She kept poking her head out of the corners like a gopher at a golf course. She tried desperately to escape. I ended up pulling the car over and placing a duffel bag on top of it. That didn’t work out either. A crated cat in a car is very determined.

Ultimately, we made it to the clinic. I didn’t risk carrying her in the box and having her escape like that, so I risked life, limb, and eyesight and took her out and carried her in my arms. Surprisingly, she was very calm from that point on.

I went to the homeplace to get my plastic cat carrier. I knew I’d need it for the return trip. I had no desire to repeat that chaos. For some reason, I thought it’d be a good day to take Abbey the cat to mother-in-law’s house. I’d been planning on doing it for a while, and since I was already goofy from the first trip, I figured I’d go ahead and do it.

Having her in the carrier made the trip much less dramatic, although some of the screams would have made the devil jump. And her face looked like the devil. Her eyes were wide open, and she was panting. She looked like she could have ripped my neck out like Dalton from Road House. Cars must drive cats mad, because Abbey is the sweetest cat I have ever known..

I could have picked up Maggie that evening but decided to let her stay overnight. Three car rides with cats in one day may have done me in. Cats may have nine lives, but I don’t. By the way, the return trip the next morning was uneventful. She is fine. All is quiet.

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com

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