Atlanta–the cat, not the city

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(Jodi)  I picked Atlanta up from the pound back in 1998 (we think).  She was just a tiny kitten.

I’d post of picture of her back then, but they are all packed away at my sisters house.  But this is her back at the house in Austintown, Ohio.

Timid

Multiple times a day, every day, for the past 15 some years, I have shown her love and kindness – yet….every single time, before she lets me touch her, she has to smell me, else she’ll bite (nip) me.  Because ya know, after 16,425 times (give or take), I MIGHT not be who she thinks I am.

I’ve known people who have been in and out of my house 100’s of times, yet they’ve never seen her.

Now I’m not much of a cuddlier – people or animals.  I like my space, as does she, so we get along well.  She’s never jumped on my lap and hates to be held.

Loner

About a year after we got her, I thought she looked lonely.  So off to the pound we go to find her a friend.  We brought Georgia home that day full of excitement to see the two bond.  Yeah….. didn’t happen.

You could not find two opposites.

Georgia couldn’t stay out of your lap, or face, or head or any other part of your body she could get close to.

Non-nimble

Georgia loved to be outside, Atlanta rarely ventured out the door without prodding.  (both cats had their claws).  Tire-Swing1

One day while working in the yard I saw Georgia climb one of the trees and hop around like a flying squirrel, catching birds.  I noticed that Atlanta was sitting on the porch watching all this, taking it all in.

Venturing off the porch (a miracle in itself as she doesn’t like grass on her paws), very slowly, cautiously, she walks over to the now abandoned tree and looks up.  A few moments go by before she slowly looks all around, to make sure no one is watching.  This is it – a very big moment – she is going to climb that tree.

Starting off very slowly, the first attempt is alas a failure, as she quickly falls on her butt, not getting six inches off the ground.  After shaking herself off, looking around to make sure no one saw, she tries again, this time getting a little running start.  Boom.   Falls right on her ass.  She turns and runs back to the porch, not even looking to see who saw.  I’ve never her seen her try to climb again.

Vindictive

back_view_of_a_calico_cat_sitting_on_a_wall_AFA-06-06-00615Shortly after the tree-climbing failure Atlanta was seen in the road calling to Georgia to come join her. All for a new adventure she ran out into street.  They stayed there for a few seconds until a car was heard, at which time Atlanta jumped on Georgia, holding her down to try and keep her in the road. Honest to god she was trying to have Georgia killed. They were hollered at and both ran away, so alas the murder never happened.  Sadly Georgia was hit by a car about a year later.  I’m positive Atlanta is innocent.

Amaxophobia (or fear of riding in a car)

scared catAs with most cats, Atlanta HATES the car.   Always a gypsy at heart, we have moved around a lot, and in her lifetime, she has moved seven times – to her utter horror.

When we decided to start RV’ing full-time, my biggest worry was what to do about the cat.

Ok – here is where you animal lovers are going to think I’m a horrible person, but I did think seriously about putting her to sleep, to try and save her from the turmoil of moving in an RV the whole time.

I posted this question to one of the RV forums I follow: http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=101989

Posted 19 November 2012 – 05:38 PM

I’m hoping that some of you may share your experience and/or decision about bringing your older pet along on the full-time journey.
I have a cat that is about 14. She is a pretty healthy indoor cat, though she appears to be starting to lose her memory (forgets she has eaten) and her vision seems to be getting poor. She has moved many times, from apt to house, etc. in fact she can anticipate a move and will start to pee outside of her litter box if we start packing up. Once settled in the new location, she is fine. She hates the car, though granted she is stuck in a cage and it always ends up at a new “house” or to the vet.
We are moving into our 35ft class A, full-time in April. I’m honestly torn as to what would be best for the cat.
Giving her away doesn’t seem a fair option. She doesn’t do well with new people (very scared) – my sister had to watch her for an extended period of time (3 months) and she never did get comfortable enough to come out from under the bed and wouldn’t use the litter box regularly. Can’t image that anyone would want an elderly cat anyway – healthy or not.
Putting her to sleep seems cruel since there isn’t anything physically wrong with her.
But putting her in a moving vehicle to live seems kind of cruel too…. would she get use to it?
Not going full-time is absolutely NOT an option.
If you have/had an elderly animal, what was your decision, and how did it work out for you?

You can read the responses from the link above, but all were totally positive that I SHOULD bring her along for the ride. With a bit of worry still on my part, the litter box and one very fat cat were added to the stuff we crammed into the motorhome. 

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Turns out riding in a car is not the same as in an RV.  We don’t keep her caged, which helps tremendously in her feeling secure.

The first few times were not good – for her or I.  She cried and screamed for what seemed like hours (maybe 30 minutes).  She didn’t know the RV surroundings, having only spend a few hours in it prior to the big move.  So when we started off she had trouble finding a place to “be”.

That first day she ended up under the kitchen cabinet and I couldn’t get her out.  I spent most of that trip on the floor in the kitchen trying to reassure her.  Her screams told me that I could “just go to hell thank you very much.”  Thank goodness she didn’t pee under there.

IMG_3129But things got easier.  She found her place, which happens to be between our bed and the wall.  It use to be that she went in head first, and when you looked for her, all you could see was her big fat butt.  I image she was thinking “if I hide my head, this won’t be happening”.

Anytime she got scared, off she went.  The engine starts – gone.  The slides come out – gone.  The door opens – gone.

It has been a month and a half and she is a pro!

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She still hides when we drive – but she doesn’t run under the bed until we actually start moving.  As soon as we stop for a break, out she comes (if she’s even awake).

I think Atlanta likes being on the road.  As she got older she got very clingy – wanting us near her (don’t TOUCH her, but BE with her).  If she was ready for a nap in the middle of the day she would holler at us to come to the bedroom with her.  She hated to be alone.  With the small confines of the RV, even if she is napping on the bed, she can see us.

She goes to her “hole” if we are being to loud or if she’s had enough of us.

I thought she would love sitting by the window watching the world go by – but turns out my cat is just…

Uninterested

She will on occasion sit by the open door and watch, but makes no attempt to even check out her new, ever changing surroundings.  We were at a wildlife refuge a few days back.  The place was swarming with birds, who, wondering what the huge monstrosity parked in their backyard was, would hover in front of the windows, checking us out.  That dumb cat of mine hardly even looked up.  What are ya gonna do.

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So anyways.  We are here to tell you, if you are planning on full-timing and are unsure of whether to bring along your furry friends…. give it a shot.  They may hate it, and you may end up having to think of alternative arrangements.  But they may just end up loving it.  Or, as in our case, tolerating it.  One thing for sure, you will grow closer with your loved one.

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Categories: Figuring it all out, Jodi's chit chat, Living in an RV | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Atlanta–the cat, not the city

  1. My parents were worried when they first started traveling as their dog did not ride well in the car but as you have found the RV is a whole other story, she LOVED camping and would be upset if they left her home.

  2. Ohhh Atlanta!!! Can’t believe she got up in the front windshield! Chico still doesn’t let any of us pet him without the sniff test!

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