It’s been a week since J and Shadow left our home for the long flights west. And what a week for them both! Thank you all for your wishes and positive thoughts when we needed them the most!
Shadow is my least mentioned kitty – our shy and nervous girl who comes from a harsh past. She’s been with us for almost exactly 9 years now and is still fearful and jumpy. But she’s come so far knowing she is safe and protected. Then last Wednesday we turned her world upside down.
J and Shadow took a rental car to the airport about an hour away, checked in and had to go through a longer special line to get through security. At security, the airplane-approved carrier needs to go through the x-ray and you need to carry your pet through the body scanner. J said that by the time (just about 2 hours) she got to security, she’d already pee’d herself. Poor little thing. It’s fear and her kidney disease.
So J took her to a bathroom and removed the soiled layer and made sure she had a fresh layer.
Then it was the plane. If I am being honest, I was afraid that she might die from fear when she had to go through a 747 take-off. We’d sprayed her carrier with feliway and given her herbal calming drops. J petted her (our carrier has a great hand-access slot to try to reassure your pets) and put the planned blanket over the carrier…making her feel extra safe.
When J landed, he had just an hour to clean up her carrier (more pee… as expected… it’s a 5hr flight) before catching a noisy smaller plane for the jump to our new hometown. J said he didn’t know what to do until he saw the ‘family’ bathroom. It’s a private room with a locked door (so no escape), change table to put the carrier on, and is calm and quiet. All these years paying the same price as those who got to use this bathroom eventually paid off! J was able to change the liner pads and comfort our girl and give her drops for the next stage of the trip.
When he got to our new hometown nearly 10 hours after he left our house, he had everything for her already in the car (planned well in advance) and drove her to the AirBnB where they were to stay for 3 nights. Not a fancy place, but welcoming and convenient and accepting pets. J was up until early hours of the morning making sure she was okay, fed, watered and knew how to get to her new litter.
She was fine the next day (he had to work). He came ‘home’ at lunch and gave her tons of love. Gave her 3 choices of food (I think I’d mentioned that she’d lost lots of weight in the last few months) fresh water etc.
Shadow has thrived in this environment. As I’ve often said: she wants personal attention from humans and is reserved and nervous around other cats. She did really well in the 3 days they lived out of bags at the AirBnB. Ate lots, used the litter perfectly and cuddled in with J for petting and love.
She did call for us in the nights. Knowing some of her ‘pride’ were not there. But she coped well. We decided to keep up with the drops for 4-5 days total.
Just 3 days later, J took possession of our new home. So poor Shadow moved again. Since all our stuff is still here with me until I sell this home, J only has an air mattress, a chair, and a few kitchen things. He moved everything into our master bedroom and put great hiding spots for Shadow in the closet and room. They have lived the week there…
She has been a champion… handled this with more fortitude than I thought she had. With flexibility and healthy adaptation. She’ll explore the big empty house slowly… on her own time… and knowing she has a safe-room to return to. And when our things finally come it will feel and smell like home.