Like Steinbeck with his dog, Charley, Jim and I were fortunate to have Zeus, a traveling cat – not just a cat who tolerated traveling, but who seemed to even love it, more than I did at times.
In California, I never took my cats with me on vacations, or even on road trips. I always called up a friend, and later a pet sitter to keep an eye on my cats while I was away. I didn’t think of bringing them with me because I usually stayed in hotels or resorts that didn’t allow pets. I didn’t realize how many people traveled in RVs so that they could bring along their pets on summer vacations and week-end getaways.
When Jim and I finally sold out home in California in June 2014, we decided to drive back to Massachusetts, and take Zeus on his first major road trip. We had taken him away for a long week-end once, and he seemed to do well. But driving cross-country was the big test. Zeus did better than I could have ever imagined.
Since December, 2014, we’ve been traveling full-time around the country with Zeus. Most of the time, he quietly sits on my lap, or on the back seat in the truck, only getting antsy when he needs to eat or take a bathroom break. I even get out his leash, and walk him at rest areas if he wants to go outside. At most campsites, Zeus can’t wait to get out and sniff around just like all the dogs we see at the campgrounds.
Eventually, we have seen other cats. But most of the time, they stay in their RVs, and sleep in the big windows of their Class A Mobile homes, or peek out of windows in the Airstreams. Zeus also has claimed his favorite spots in our RV – sitting atop his scratching post next to the dining room table, or on the back of the recliners, and even in the cubbyholes of the RV. He likes to try new spots so that he can have different views of the outdoors. Of course, the outdoors is his favorite spot.
At first, Zeus didn’t mind moving around every week, or two. But by the end of our first grand circle of the country, he started to grow tired of the constant moving. I could usually tell by when he’s sleeping on the bed, and opens one eye in the morning, and gives me a look on moving day: “Like you gotta be kidding! We’re moving again. Didn’t we just get here?”
Now, we’ve been staying in more places longer which gives him a chance to really get to know the campground even if the neighbors and their pets keep changing. At each campground where he’s stayed longer, Zeus has created his walking routine which varies slightly, but most of the time, he checks out the same spots, usually ending up on the picnic table, waiting for a brushing. I guess cats are also creatures of habit. Right now, as I write about Zeus, he’s waiting for his nightly walk. Morning and night, and sometimes mid-day, he ventures out, ready to see the new arrivals at the campground, and to check out the local birds.
Zeus’ presence on this journey around the country has been a calming influence at times, and comforting when I’ve been moving around so much. His constant loving attention has been reassuring especially when I left behind many of those creature comforts that make up a home. Living more simply was one thing, but living without Zeus was never an option. He’s made the trip more entertaining even with his challenging moments. Zeus began this trip at age 14, and is still going strong at 16. I’m hopeful that Zeus will be with us into his 20’s. Traveling wouldn’t be the same without him.
By Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A. © 2016
Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A., CHT is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Western Astrologer and Author who counsels clients through her business of Iris Holistic Counseling Services on the road at http://www.DonnaFisherJackson.com. She has published the self-help book, The Healing Path of the Romantic: Type Four of the Enneagram Personality Type System and a novel, Clara & Irving: A Love Story of Past Lives, based on the true story of a Romantic. Both books are available in a print and Kindle edition on Amazon.com. Donna is currently working on a new book – a travel memoir of her life on the road. ♥