flying + felines = fun

Right? No? Last time we flew cross-country we learned a few things about flying with your feline friends. Mainly, don't do it if you don't have to. But if you have to, sedatives probably won't do much good and if you can keep them covered they may freak out just a little bit less. I remember our one-way flight almost four years ago from Oakland to Boston. Our friends were so kind to pick us up while it was still dark out and drive us, all our remaining belongings, and our two cats to the airport. Our two cats who had just about returned to a feral state by the time we got to the airport, through the long check-in and security lines, to the waiting area near the gate, and then finally, to the safe, secure spot underneath the seats in front of us, where our feet should've been. After the two-hour ordeal I thought surely the flight itself would be equally hellish. But as soon as we tucked them under the seats like little carry-on bags, they calmed down, curled up, and seemed to sleep peacefully for the rest of the five hour flight. When we got to Boston I put my jacket over them as I waited for Neal to return with the rental car and they remained calm. Which is why this time around, on their one-way flight back to California with Neal and my mother-in-law, who has so kindly agreed to house them temporarily while we finish packing and make the move with the toddler in a few weeks, we decided to forego the drugs and instead focus our energy on creating some sort of cover for their itty, bitty carriers.

I was torn between using felt and fleece (having narrowed down my options to those two non-fraying materials because I knew I wouldn't have time to whip out the sewing machine for the job the night before the big trip...not to mention the fact that this is the sewing machine I've barely used since I was about 14) but in the end decided felt would probably offer the best combination of sturdiness and breathability. I went with the beige, which in hindsight seems unnecessarily drab, because I figured it matched the carriers and the light material won't soak up any sun they happen to be in during their journey.

First I created a template with some brown wrapping paper.

Then I made some minor adjustments to the template before committing any of the two yards of felt I bought for the job.

I traced the template onto the felt, cut it out, and attached some velcro to the corners to keep the cover fairly snug to the outside of the carrier.

It's like a nicely wrapped little package of kitty goodness!

The packaged kitties are en route as I type, so I'm not sure if this last-minute DIY project will, in the end, make all that much difference. Xander hissed at me initially but quieted down as soon as I put the cover on and I didn't hear so much as a peep from him for the rest of the car ride. Sophie, on the other hand, still managed to, um, relieve herself minutes after being crammed into the carrier, but fortunately did so before we left so we were able to clean her up at home and not at the airport. However, because of her little incident, she's now curled up on a kitchen towel instead of the plush mat that came with the carrier. But other than that and some minor howling on the way to the airport, Neal's pre-flight report seemed to indicate that all went as well as could be expected. Hopefully the carrier covers will prove to induce a calming effect on the other end of their trip as well.


Auntie Kay said...

Sounds like the move is progressing and the kitties will be in California all in one piece. You are so good and I know that deep in their little hearts they appreciate everything that you do for them.

the oakland samps said...

This is the most awesome thing I have ever seen! Your energy level continues to amaze me :)