Local Heart, Global Soul

July 18, 2009

Things you should know when travelling with Cats…

Filed under: LIFE,The vaguarities of Parenting — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

When  you raised a kitten on a farm and then moved to the city (a large-ish back section far from the street) and then you return to a friends farm every Summer, what do you do with the cat for those six or seven weeks?  Take it with you of course.

Thoughout my childhood it was therefore normal for us to set out on the long haul to the New Zealand Mckenzie Country, my mother towing sometimes a caravan or the boat and with a black short haired cat named Endora roaming free in the car, whilst my father made the same journey on his motorbike or towing the boat with a second vehicle if Ma happened to have the caravan that trip. Some trips travelling with said moggy became part of the family folklore too…

This one particular day had dawned clear, windless and bakingly hot, the sort where relentless shimmers of heat radiated listlessly over deserted city pavements… and since air-co in our car, and most cars of that time,  meerly meant winding down a window to various degrees, and that that possibility was severly limited by the presence of a cat in the car, passengers in the car would have to sit restless and bored in the heat in the back for the many long long long hours to come.  Since the drivers window was therefore only one that was cracked open more than a few fingers worth, and our old Holden Kingswood had a bench seat in the front, Endora our cat looked after Number One and installed herself on the back of the front seat, head facing the small slip stream of fresh air that came though the window and stretched out like a living fur stole behind my mother’s neck whilst she drove. On this trip however, the boredom wasn’t destined to last long.

Everyone was making the best of the uncomfortable hot misery when approx half hour into the trip my Mother was cruising though an intersection for which she had Right of  Way. Suddenly she had to slam on the brakes with considerable force because a truck at right angles  to us appeared to think that the ” Give Way” sign he faced didn’t apply to him and collision was imminant.

The result was more startling for my mother than she ever could have anticipated, her feline fur stole had dropped off to a peaceful cool sleep just above her neck and the sudden application of brakes meant that the car stopped dead with a gigantic lurch but the one animal occupant without a seatbelt continued the forward motion. Endorda experienced a very rude awakening as her hind and front feet involuntarily slid off the back of the front seat… …and despirate for purchase of safety, she instinctively dug deep with her claws into the nearest available object, which happened to be the human flesh that consisted of my mother’s shoulders…

The chaos of Mother raming on brakes, yelling ” Everybody hang on!” at us in the back, skidding to an abrupt stop, us being thrown violently against our seatbelts in the back, cats flying and then screams and shrieks as she tried to unhook a very startled and unwilling cat imbedded in her person was a scene that will remain etched into my memory forever and for which that trip at least livened things up as, as true merciless kids who loved the smallest drama we rushed to give people dramatically detailed descriptions of how many scratch marks were incurred and how much blood my mother’s wounds produced.

Fortunately due to her swift actions the accident was a very near-miss encounter, and apart from mother’s neat array of deep scratch marks and a sulking cat,  we were severely shaken but otherwise undamaged.

For my Mother it was the last of her comfortable hot days driving in a strappy sundress… for some reason whenever the cat was in the car no matter how stinking hot it was she always elected for at least a cardigan after that.

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