Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The cat came back: part one

The drugs, they did nothing! Nothing!

Well, that's not entirely true -- they made my cat hate me because of the trauma involved in force-feeding two little pills to him, and they kept him absolutely quiet during the 10-minute drive from the airport to my apartment. But as for the airport/airplane experience? Sedation, my ass. Although I suppose this is a question of degrees ... just how wired and insufferable would he have been without the drugs? You know, I never intend to find out.

But yes, Clarence's first flight made for quite the adventure. Air Canada requires that pets taken in the cabin are kept in a soft-sided carrying case ... which made perfect sense to me up to the point in the departure lounge when the woman with the rat-like lap dog, which she had on a leash as opposed to being inside its soft-sided case, came over on his extendable leash to explore. Unfortunately, I was distracted by what I was reading and didn't figure out what was happening until I heard the snakelike hiss emenate from Clarence's bag, and then watch the bag roll over rather violently in the direction of the rat-like dog.

The problem with soft-sided carrying cases for pets? The pets quickly discover they have a measure of control over their environment.

I think the dog and its owner nearly had a coronary. Though I must say, the venemous look the woman gave me was very nearly worth the price of admission.

The worst moment however was coming through security, when I was required to remove Clarence from the bag (in the event that I was an enterprising terrorist who had managed to cram a measure of C4 in with my cat -- though some who have met Clarence might just describe him as a WMD). So here I am holding my cat, who doesn't like to be held at the best of times and is several weeks overdue for having his claws trimmed, walking through the metal detector (or the "freedom threshold," I think it's now called in the US). Had I thought this through, I probably would have removed my belt and shoes before attempting that first passage. As it was, I walked through tightly clutching my sharp-nailed cat and off course set off the alarm.

Cats do not care for high-pitched squeals. I have a set of claw marks on my shoulders, which were turned into gashes when the security woman walked toward me with the squealing wand, at which point my cat attempted to make his escape up my chest, over my shoulders and back through Terminal 1. He very nearly made it, but for my own tenacious refusal to have to go running after a cat through an airport.

The woman demanded that I then take off my belt and shoes and walk through again. I was at pains to suggest that perhaps I should put Clarence back into his case--at the moment still on the other side of the x-ray machine, or "freedom monitor"--before doing so. For reasons passing understanding she seemed very reluctant to do so until one of her supervisors, with an exasperated air, told her to wait.

The silver lining in all this was that the flight was not full and I had an empty seat beside me, so I only had to stow Clarence under under the seat for takeoff and landing; and the guy who sat in the third seat was amenable to cats (I'd kind of been hoping that it would be the rat-dog lady, but alas it was not to be). I suppose I shouldn't complain too much. He was well-behaved for most of the flight, with the exception of the periods when he attempted to burrow through the sides of the case. He was also, predictably, not pleased with the takeoff and landing, but he appears to have survived. Upon deplaning however he made his displeasure known. In response to the pleasantries offered by the stewardesses as we exited, he let loose with a low, threatening miaow of disappoval he usually reserves for large animals on the other side of the window.

The stewardesses looked somewhat offended and not a little hurt.

And then home ... and as I said, I think this was the point that the drugs finally kicked in. When I let him out in the apartment, he nosed around for a moment or two before again curling up to sleep for half an hour -- very uncharacteristic Clarence behaviour upon encountering new territory.

But now he's back to exploring, and has already managed to knock over most of my picture frames as I sit here typing. Ah, it's good to have him home.


airfair crew said...

We take it then that Clarence will be remaining in Newfoundland for his Christmas holidays!!??**!!

iceman said...

Boogie, Clarence's elderly nemesis has a new spring in her step today. Seems she didn't like the playful 'pouncing on the back without any warning' that Clarence did on a regular basis. It was reminicent of Kato attacking Inspector Cluseau in the Pink Panther. Anyway, she's purring more and walking around without looking over her shoulder!!!!

iceman said...

Clouseau- I just picked up my typo.

Max Power said...

Hehe, "freedom threshold."