Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Anna's Travel Post: Part 1

Haitian motorbike load on a good Haitian dirt road.
Anyone who has ever traveled in Haiti knows about our roads; the mojority of them are dirt/rock, and those that are "paved" come riddled with pot holes that can swallow a tire whole. There are also the craters, those you to drive into and then out of, which become delightful ponds (or mud holes) after each rain, that cannot be avoided. All this makes for a memorable experience, even on a normal day. However, yesterday's trip was not our average drive, in that we were traveling with our cat...


Before the big transition!
Kodie is my large (fat) seven-year-old tawny-colored cat. Though he began life belonging to a Haitian, he came into our home when he was still a kitten, to replace our previous cat who died. He has brought us much joy over the past seven years, and we decided it was time for him to join us in Delice. There was some debate, on whether or not he should come this week, since there is a chance, we would be returning to Fauche within a few weeks. Because of this debate, we didn't decide until the afternoon before our departure.

In the morning, there was a slight scramble to collect Kodie's things, and we barely remembered to pack his food. On the recommendation of a vet, we gave him a small dose of calming medicine, stuffed inside of a pea. (My cat believes himself to be an omnivore, so he loves canned corn and canned peas, along with the occasional nibble of carrots. ) After a while, we put him into the cat carrier (which we borrowed from some friends). We had been putting treats into the carrier for several weeks, so he wasn't particularly scared of that. However, when I brought him to explore our truck (before anything was loaded into it) he was very tense and climbed over the seats and dashboard, staring out the windows with wide eyes.

The only other time Kodie had ever traveled in the truck was long ago, while he was still a kitten, when he traveled to Cap Haitien to be spayed...not necessarily a positive association if he could remember. When we finally put him in the carrier and put him in the truck, he was very calm, until we started moving.

Travel in Haiti requires lots of this....
He yowled for the first few minutes, before beginning to pant. We had done some last minute research on traveling with cats, and supposedly cats panting means they are car sick or very stressed.

We followed the article's advice and covered the carrier with a blanket. I put my hand in the carrier in order to pet him and hopefully calm him down. this was about where his medication kicked in, since he became drowsy.

Everything was going smoothly, until hour two. This is when we hit a road block. Though we never did figure out what exactly the problem was, it looked as though a row of large trucks was going through and one of them broke down, trapping the others behind it. Farther along another big truck bloke down, on the opposite side of the road, and these two bottle-necks, close together, without enough people to direct traffic resulted in two hours of ocassionaly moving forward a few yards before finally breaking free.

The cat did very well through all this, occasionally waking up and looking around. He was calm enough I could open the top of the carrier and let him stick his head out occasionally.

We continued on, and as we came out of the mountains we were at four hours. One of the articles we had read said that you should let the cat out every two hours in order to drink and use the kitty litter. It had been four hours, and the cat had spent most of it alternating between panting and hyperventilating.

In an attempt to listen to the article we pulled over and with Kodie on a leash, in his cat harness, we tried to let him out of the car for a minute....... NOT a good idea. [Part 2 two for the rest of the story.]


1 comment:

Marty and Larry Grimes said...

On the edge of my seat, Anna - can't wait for " ... the rest of the story!"
Miss y'all! Praying for a good time in Delice this trip -