Why Cat Carpools Are Not a Good Idea

It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me. I wish I could convince myself I have something interesting to say. Lately, I don’t feel that way but I couldn’t resist writing a blog based on the picture above.

The last 2 weeks of December is always a vacation period for my family. This year, we took our traditional trip to St. Louis and Walt Disney World. What was different this time was that our cat, “Cookie Monster”, joined us. Cookie came down with an infection that required 3 weeks of antibiotics twice a day. Considering our cat sitter is a 16 year old boy, and that he’s never actually seen Cookie, we didn’t see the arrangement working.

We considered boarding Cookie, but the thought of him in a cage staring sadly into florescent lights was too much to bear. Oh yeah- the $30 a day had something to do with it too. One of the places we considered advertised fresh spring water for $2 a day and for $4 more, “bed time stories and tuck in at night”.  You know how cats love hearing Little Red Riding Hood just before a stranger throws a blanket on top of them. Fortunately for us, we were flying to/from Disney out of St. Louis, so we were able to leave Cookie with my mother while we were at Disney.

I was warned that traveling with a cat isn’t always easy. This was abundantly clear as we hit the highway. I thought Cookie was going to have a heart attack! He had his tongue hanging out and was panting continuously. He seemed to feel (slightly) better when we let him out of his cage, but as you can see from the photo he still wasn’t loving his big break from cat prison.

Fortunately for us, Cookie finally calmed down and remained in the back seat with the kids. We stopped in Indianapolis to break-up the drive, so he was only in the car 4 1/2 hours. However, he wasn’t a big fan of the Drury Inn. It is one of the few moderate/upscale chains that allows pets for a reasonable fee ($15). I like to think he only hid under the bed because he didn’t like the decor, but I think he was terrified. We didn’t hear a word from Cookie as we turned off the lights and TV, as we got ready for bed. Then, as we settled into the darkness, we heard Cookie’s collar bell from various locations in the room.

That’s right, he decided to wait until the moment we went to bed to act like a complete a-hole. He was all over the room, including the night stand by our bed, staring at Rich from inches away. He acted like he was on, “Do You Think You Can Dance” and “This Old House” all at once, meowing like a crazy person and knocking into things. Occasionally he’d slow down, just long enough for you to drift to sleep, before he started renovating another room with power tools.

The drive down to St. Louis was relatively quiet. At that point, I think Cookie was glad to be out of the Drury Inn. He adjusted rather quickly to my mother’s house as well, happily sitting on her most expensive piece of furniture, as if he knew that’s the one place she didn’t want him.  All was well until we went to Disney, when my mom (Jan) had to administer the medicine without any help. If only I had a video, Cookie would be a YouTube sensation. According to Jan, she was punched in the face and spent about 4 hours chasing him, before she could give him one dose. Now, if you knew my mother you’d probably punch her too, so I don’t blame the cat. These half-day marathons of trying to catch the cat, and avoiding his fast boxing moves, continued for days as my family remained in Disney. Like mother’s can only do, she was sure to call me in dramatic fashion telling me how I was ruining her Christmas.

When it was finally time to leave, we drove to West Lafayette, IN to see the Purdue vs. Iowa game. Cookie was a seasoned traveler by then, but picked an odd place to sit most of the trip. He wanted to sit in his litter box, which was placed next to Kayla’s feet! Of course, this gave her no room, but loving her cat as she does Kayla did not complain. I was shocked the cat would use a litter box on the road, but he actually did, proving that all those people who can’t go in public really are messed up.

With 5 star taste. Cookie was not thrilled with staying at the Best Western, who also has one of the better pet policies ($20). This is where I experienced something I never thought would happen in my life…waiting in line to use the bathroom, behind a cat.


That’s right, I had to share a bathroom with a cat. Rich put his litter box in the bathtub, hoping it would cut down on the mess. I wasn’t sure if Cookie was actually in line or looking at himself in the mirror. But, when the door opened he walked right in and used the box! He also did the same thing on other occasions. Later, confused by his new surroundings, Cookie thought a bag of clothes on the floor was also his litter box. But, I can’t blame the cat for being confused.

When it came time to put Cookie in the carrier as we were leaving, he put up an unbelievable fight. I was confused, because he had no issue going in the carrier before. You’d think 3 people could get a cat in a box, but Cookie possessed the lower body strength of an Olympian. We ended up having to wrap Cookie in Kayla’s coat and carrying him out of the hotel (we had him on a leash and harness). You’d think he’d be glad he was getting out of the hotel, but I guess he had enough of being on the move.

Once home, the other cats sniffed Cookie and acted like he was there all along.

Well, that’s it for today’s update. I had a couple friends ask what it was like traveling with Cookie, so now they (and you) know. I hear every cat behaves differently, so I don’t think you can use this to gauge what your experience will be like. I can say with certainty though, that if a cat asks you to carpool to work or school, you should say no.