When Lynne let us know that Linus, her tabby cat, wanted to tell his story of travelling full time with his parents with a chronic disease, we were so excited! Our first featured article from a cat…and a clever cat at that! This is Linus’s story:
Linus – The Travelling Tabby
People with chronic diseases often wonder how they will manage travelling this vast and beautiful country when they have medications and health appointments to sort before they set out on their travels but what if you are a senior feline with similar health issues!
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Linus and I was nine years old when my humans decided to travel for extended periods after they retired. Now here was the challenge ahead of us as a travelling family, I not only had health issues such as diabetes requiring insulin twice a day but kidney disease as well which required a special prescription diet. To top it off I hated the car but I think I hated the boarding kennel more where I had stayed previously when my humans went on a short trip.
Thankfully my human mum made an appointment with my Vet and discussed the best way to approach the hurdles because she was determined she wasn’t leaving home without me. The vet suggested a comfy carry crate with my very own blankets so it smelt like home, oh and don’t forget the blue sheet under the blanket if I had an accident and piddled during travel – oh the indignity when I howl to say I need a toilet stop but the humans don’t respond quickly enough!
It was very important for me to get my vaccinations up to date and have my certificate in a special wallet along with my veterinary history in case I needed to visit another vet during our travels. My insulin was a bit of a worry but Dr Fiona assured my mum that a phone call to her would sort the problem if getting the insulin was an issue. My mum tells me that most Vets will dispense it based on Dr Fiona’s prescription but in other states I have to visit the Vet and be prodded and poked, have blood taken and my mum is put through the third degree, however I know they are just concerned for my health issues and want to make sure my medication and blood sugar levels are under control.
As for my special diet my mum makes sure a large bag is delivered before we leave home and then restocks along the way when needed. Again because this is prescription food she takes my veterinary history with her to get the right food. It does cost a bit extra for my insulin and food when we are travelling but my mum says I’m worth it ‘cause she loves me! My human dad just rolls his eyes but I know he secretly loves me too, he just tries to hide it! Water is really important and my mum makes sure we have filtered water because some of that bore water tastes like swamp water. Diarrhoea would not be a good thing when we are travelling but most places it seems to be OK through the filter.
Because I am an indoor tabby and I have never been outside it doesn’t worry me that my travel accommodation is compact. On our first trip I serenaded my humans for about three hours because the road we were on had something called undulations which were very unpleasant but my humans didn’t seem to like them either so I eventually settled down to sleep. Travelling in the car five years later is much easier but I still hate those undulation things. My mum covers my carrier with a towel so I don’t get frightened when those big road trains pass us or the flickering of passing trees and buildings don’t startle me. I sound a bit sooky don’t I but it is a bit frightening in the car and if I had started travelling when I was a wee tabby instead of as a senior it may have been an easier transition, still I am much better with it these days.
So that I don’t get scared or run away my mum transfers me to and from the car/van in my carrier, that way I feel more secure, and she does too. My mum would hate for me to be lost and scared in a strange place. Funny though every time she lifts my carrier she calls me a fatty boom bah; I guess being a lounge lizard has its downfalls. When my carrier is in the car the seatbelt holds it secure just like my humans’ seatbelts hold them secure.
My caravan accommodation is really comfortable as my humans have a van with lots of windows and lounge space. I enjoy sitting at the front windows after dark and checking out the critters that roam around at night. Through the day I follow the sun in winter and lounge or bed hop, curl up and sleep away the day … I am a senior you know! Sitting at the screen door provides me with my own big screen entertainment; there sure are some weird and wonderful critters and they can give me hours of entertainment. Of course I have my own little safe space under the lounge (mum removed a cupboard door) and I can curl up on my comfy bed in the corner if I am feeling a little worried about strange noises or people who might visit. Mum also made sure my scratching post came along too as I need to keep my claws in trim and not scratch the lounge. Sometimes I feel a bit playful and chase the ball hanging from the scratcher but I do get puffed out easily so it just means I can snooze more.
When my humans go out to do something called sightseeing I find a comfy spot to while away the hours and always welcome them home with a big stretch and yawn just so they know I have missed them. Even though it seems like a challenge to travel as a cat I really just love being with my human family. Wherever they are I’m happy to be with them and just like home I get to sleep on the end of the bed if it is really cold and mum’s feet need warming! We seniors may have health issues or take a little while to adjust to travelling but I really hope other humans will consider taking their feline family member with them when they travel, it only takes a little planning and they get the benefit of our relaxing purr and cuddle to say thank you for loving us. Enjoy your travels my feline friends and I hope you get to tell your travel tales someday too.