…for the cats.
One of the few regular things about a Foreign Service life is the moving. It might be two years, maybe three (or a little longer if you can string a couple of tours together), but sooner or later (usually sooner) you get relocated. It isn’t quite as bad as it sounds because the packing is done by a moving company, so that’s out of the way. The unpacking is up to you, though.
There’s a lot of preparation that goes into a move, even if the packing gets done for you. You have to figure out what to put in the suitcases so that you can live reasonably until the rest of your shipment catches up with you. If you have pets, they also have to get ready. Yesterday, I reintroduced Lavash to her harness, and put Benson in his as well.
The cats fly in the cabin with us. Lavash has already made two trans-Atlantic flights, one to leave Turkmenistan, and one to come here from the U.S. Benson has yet to experience the joys of flying. The harnesses are for when we put the carrier through the X-ray machine. You clip a leash onto the harness before you take the cat out and it gives just a little extra assurance if the cat decides to try and jump out of your arms. My experience has been that the cat doesn’t want to come out (too many people, too much noise, too many strange smells), doesn’t want to get out of your arms, and can’t wait to get back in the carrier, which is a space of relative familiarity.
The harness familiarization went pretty well. Lavash waited until after I had taken hers off to try and chew on it. Benson didn’t mind his too terribly much, until he decided to give himself a bath. I know cats are flexible, but he went above and beyond with some of the contortions he went into trying to clean around and under the straps.
Next up will be trying to get them in the carriers. I’ve left the carriers out in a space where the cats like to nap, but they haven’t gone in yet, at least as far as I can tell. Lavash knows what hers is, and will probably go into it grudgingly when the time comes (and if enough treats are involved). Benson has sniffed his a few times, and rubbed the outside (Mine!), which is a start, but I’m not so sure he’ll be happy when we zip up the flap.
Fun times ahead with two cats on the plane. Fortunately for us (and our fellow passengers, when the time comes) neither cat meows particularly loudly.