This particularly snowy cold winter’s day, I shall amuse myself with a whimsical little tale about life with cats. Three cats to be exact, and a dog, and a couple of horses. That’s a lot of feeding and poop removal and vet care. Still, it is not as much as when I was tending to a herd of cows and this winter I am infinetly relieved I am not schlepping to cows. But today the cat care proved most challenging.

My little herd of critters and I moved here in July when the grass was tall and thick as fur. This old house required much vermin eradication. My three cats and the dog have been busy catching mice, shrews, and moles. There are gophers too, but no one can catch them. So, as is the way with cats and vermin, worms make their way into the cats’ systems. The veterinarian however, is only seven miles away, and today it was time for shots and worm medication.

I own a cat carrier, but it is stored in an old garage with a rather large and intimidating snow drift blocking the door. I have moved these cats before, I admonish myself, without a stupid carrier. Because I am lucky enough to live in a house with an attached garage with an electric door, I feel confident I can get all the animals in the pickup before I back it out of the garage. The dog, Lulu, goes everywhere I go. She gets afraid if I leave her alone because her people have left before without her and not returned. So she’s in, the cats are in, the garage door goes up and I back out. But then, something is wrong with the door opener — or closer — as the damn thing won’t close. The vehicle is running, the animals are loaded, all I have to do is run in, push the button and jump back in the pickup.

Well, the cats aren’t all that content in the vehicle. They want out. When I return to the pickup, it is locked. What??? There stands Muenster (or Sully as he is named for the charming monster in MONSTERS, INC.), a 17 pound seal point Siamese, with his feet near the door lock. He proceeds to meow insistently at me in his tiny little kitten voice, demanding to be freed. My pickup is a GMC dual cab with electric door and window switches on the armrest. This is not the first time I have been locked out of my vehicle when it is running. In fact, I had a door key made and placed safely in a magnetic key keeper on the vehicle. Ten minutes later I am still looking for that key keeper. The other cats, Romeo, a 13.5 pound yellow tabby (my green-eyed putty pie who actually likes to get inside the pickup) is sitting on the console watching me, and Gilly, a 13 pound flame point Siamese who isn’t that thrilled about being in the pickup is on the back of the seat in the rear window. Lulu sitting in the front passenger seat is disgusted with the whole situation. She is probably the only one who does not want out.

Okay, damn! Well, I know how to break into the vehicle, have had to do it before, but the wind is biting and I am seriously frustrated and I am about to be late for my vet appointment. I know I have another set of keys somewhere. I have decided my key keeper fell off. Guess that extra strong magnet wasn’t strong enough. Back into the house I go, searching every drawer, every tin can, every safe place, every box … no joy. Okay, next step: get the tools to break into it. Foul language ensues. I call the vet to give her the news of my stupidity and while on the phone glance out the window to the pickup … and … what? The window is down and Muenster is marching to the door demanding to be let into the house. Good kitty.

Back into the pickup we go. Seven miles with three hefty, agitated cats meowing and prowling around over my dash, underfoot, into the back seat. I drive all over the road while trying to wrangle the cats. Lulu relinquishes her front seat position to Romeo and Gilly. There are entirely too many free ranging animals inside this pickup cab! Muenster pees on the floorboard in a box that I left for him — he gets very nervous. He sits and pants and squalls like someone is killing him. Gilly is trying to go through the steering wheel onto the dash. He turns on the blinkers and temporarily blocks my view. I give him a shove and return to my lane — which by the way is snow covered and drifting. Muenster crawls into my lap from under the dash employing at least three of the large claws on his back feet. Gilly figures out that stand-on-the-window-switch just as I turn the corner into town. I yank both he and Romeo by a leg or a tail or whatever I can get ahold of and run the window back up in their faces. I am almost but not quite up on the curb. That turns out to be the longest seven miles I have ever driven.

Now the real indiginities begin: shots and worm pills with a teeny tiny balling gun (ag people will know that term). Gilly puts up the biggest fuss. He has a bad tooth and will need to come back for dental work. Oh goodie! But now, we’re safely back home. No one threw up. There was no more peeing in the pickup. They have all forgiven me. Except Lulu. She doesn’t see the point of cats. She ends up killing the vermin with which they merely play or deposit at my feet for me to kill.

Lessons in life are often simple and uncomplicated and really a matter of finding a solution to a problem. So, what have I learned for the next time I need to transport cats? Take the Ford which does NOT have electric switches on the armrest. And get another door key cut. Boom!

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