Cats first road trip

I Kinda Used My Cat To Get My Kid To Cooperate

I consider myself a strong, fair-minded parent. I ask my children to live up to their ages, developmental abilities and my personal expectations of kindness and respect for others.

But my daughter caught me at weak moment. I was in between getting Sandy donations up to New York and New Jersey and freaking out over Election Day. Plus, it was the rare afternoon when I had to drive to school twice for separate pickups, which I hate with a passion. (If I could teach my 3-year-old to drive, I would strap wooden blocks to her feet and off we’d go to so many more places.)

When I said, It’s time to pick up your brother, she began to cried and whine about having to leave home again, and I nearly sat down next to her to start chanting WE DON’T WANT TO GO! But my son would be sad and confused when no one picked him up so I did what any insane adult would do. I offered to bring a cat with us.

My daughter basically said: What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

But she stopped crying, and now I got to take our youngest and indoor-iest cat on a completely un-thought-out road trip. Now I’ve driven around uncaged cats plenty of times pre-kids, and 9 out of 10 trips were fun. I had the cat-attached-to-my-head time. And the cat-poop-on-my-car-mat time. And the cat-waving-at-the-passing-cars time. I only once let down my guard too much, and my cat, Everett, ran into the vet’s wooded lot. For 3 days, I came and called for him and finally, found him to bring him home. Jerk.

Anyway, I put happy N in the car and go back to grab Nugget, who is running in circles because why does cat mom suddenly want me to come to her as she’s leaving the house? I picked him up and into the car.

Cats first road trip
He’s an excellent navigator.

Nugget enjoyed the ride except for hissing at an occasional bump and N was all giggles. I did warn her about the possible pooping, which later led to a conversations about what color cat poop would be: Red? Blue? Purple? And made me realize that little box duty is next on my kids’ chore list.

But I hit a snag. Not having grabbed a backup carrier compounded with my Everett fiasco nearly 2 decades ago meant I could not open the car door multiple times especially because kids take WAY too long getting in and out of cars. They are the sloths of car exits. Now, our school will walk the kids to the car if someone is asleep in the back, but will they walk E to the car if the parent is a moron who decides to bring a cat with them to keep her youngest from crying?

Well, I didn’t like the idea of my kids’ school thinking I’m stupid, but I also didn’t like lying or endangering cats so I picked up the phone and ask them to walk my son out to the car with no explanation. Whoa. Learning not to over-share is AWESOME.

My son lit up like the 4th of July when he saw Nugget in the car, and I knew that my plan, while fraught with danger and stupidity, was the beginning of the transition from school to home finally going smoothly. At least until the newness of Nugget road tripping with us wears off, and I have fill the car with 20 balloons or an elephant.

PS. I’m totally buying this for our future cat car trips — pink cat purses rule!

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

9 thoughts on “I Kinda Used My Cat To Get My Kid To Cooperate

  1. That is a brilliant idea. Sadly, I don’t think I could carry it out myself. I once let my cat out of her carrier during a long car trip and regretted it when she ran under my feet and tried to kill us by preventing me from being able to hit the pedals. It scarred me for life and I don’t think I can ever ride around again with an uncaged cat. 🙁

    Did the person from the school say anything upon seeing Nugget? I bet you made their day. 🙂

    1. I quickly ran over and intercepted his teacher so no Nugget sightings that I know of….

      Oh and my kids were in charge of yelling if Nugget went under my seat so I had time to prep for a pedal attack but I think the pink cat purse is a must.

  2. My kids beg to take the cats with us all the time. So I showed them this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcTjyeUnaTA
    thinking they’d hate it and not want to put up with it, as our cats are part Siamese and VERY vocal all the time. Seriously, dead of night, all asleep, except for the cats. I think they think they host a late night talk show. For each other.

    Anywho, I showed them the video and it backfired. Now the kids want to bring our chatty cats even more, so that they can make a video to inspire others.

    Parenting is hard.

  3. Why do our moments of weakness lead to things our kids want us to do ALL the time. Why can’t we impulsively choose to parent weakly with something that will be a one time thing. Does that even exist? I’m off to ponder…

  4. I had the kids with me when I had to pick up Tiger from kitty jail. Our carrier is minus a door, so I tried to wedge it against the back of the seat, but he slithered out anyway and spent most of the ride on the dashboard. Claire was totally freaking.

  5. Nugget is a good sport. Any of our cats would have wailed, hissed, and tried to climb on top of my head.

    Also, what kind of car do you drive that there’s enough interior space to include an elephant??? Must look into that…

  6. Oh yes, the helium balloons are totally practical. Ahum. 🙂

    I’m wondering if I’ll be able to take our puppy to get the kids at school if he’s not caged. A dog, yes, but puppies are wild cards.

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