It was a wild adventure to take our cats, Ruby and China to Cuenca. Praying that would stay healthy for the trip and that American Airlines would green light them onto the plane as per our reservation. Yet, one never knows what is going to occur with the desk person. Fortunately, we had booked First Class so that we could have the cats in the cabin with us. I think that booking also gives some assurance the airline staff is going to try to make your experience smooth sailing. (Side note: Although we noticed all the AA staff were very kind to all folks at the Check In desks. The planes were backed up for days going to the East Coast and we were sure the AA staff had to tell folks over and over disappointing news about their travel schedules. However, the AA staff were very compassionate even though we knew the staffer was saying the news to another person for the hundredth time.)
China did pick up a slight cold before we had left Seattle. Her flight wasn’t very comfortable but both cats were real troopers. When we got to Miami, we realized although we had tried to think of everything they might need; a litter box, litter box pads, food, water… We didn’t think to pack some litter. It seems the cats don’t get what a litter box is if it doesn’t have litter in it. So I found myself googling for the closest grocery store to the Miami airport. Found Publix Super Market. Called to make sure they had litter. Took a big freezer baggie with me and headed to a cab. Got a ride to the market, bought the litter, poured a heaping amount into the freezer baggie, left the rest in the container outside for another cat owner to grab up. Tried to find a cab in the parking lot. The airport cab guy had assured me I would easily get a cab at the market. Didn’t seem to be true. No cabs in sight. fortunately there was a Hampton Inn down the street. I went there and the desk attendant was kind and called a cab for me.
Back at the airport I had to go through Security with my cat litter. I was pretty sure TSA was going to put me in jail for carrying some kind of WMD material. My first attempt to go through was halted though as I had Neil’s boarding pass. Ummmm, not helpful. Someone who had looked at both of our passes had handed them back to us, but gave us each others, and we hadn’t caught it. So now I’m standing outside security without my boarding pass, with Neil’s pass, and I can call Neil but he won’t be able to come to me as he is watching the kitties and our carry on’s on the other side of security – The Promised Land.
Angels are everywhere. The TSA lady told me I could just go and print another boarding pass at the kiosk about 5 yards away from where I stood, dazed and confused. Brilliant! I thanked her and walked to the kiosk. Happily I had my passport with me. All I had to do was scan it and it would know who I am and my plane reservation. Woohooo! Maybe it was because my brain was pretty much frazzed by that time cause when I stepped up to the Kiosk and it said to scan my passport I did. Right where it showed you place the barcode. Tried. Tried. Tried. Asked a hurried passenger for assistance. Got none. Tried. Tried. What is the definitions of insanity. Stopped trying. If I could find info on Neil’s boarding pass – the magic reservation number then I could enter that. I look and look at the teeny info on his pass and finally discern what i think is the correct code. Enter it. Bingo! Lotto. Winner! PTL baby. It worked. And just then the hurried passenger had returned and said “Oh, you scan it up here.” Yes, the giant slot that says passport above it. Hard to see when you aren’t looking for it. Thankfully my pass was printing out at that same moment. Relief.
Best part was standing on the Promised Land side of the TSA scanner awaiting the Kitty Litter to appear out of the scan cave. As I glanced at the conveyor belt attempting to look cool and not show sweat (immediate alert trigger) to the TSA folk,the TSA scanner guy catches my eye and gleefully says “Cat litter.” OMG that was music to my ears. He thought it was funny. I had no idea TSA peeps got to have a sense of humor. Who knew.
After that it was easy travels. The kitties recognized their litter box as a litter box and all was well with the world. That was another reason to travel first class, getting access to the airport lounges. The lounge gives you extra comfortable spread out space with a coffee bar and best of all when traveling with cats – access to the shower rooms. Our cats got to roam free for 20 minutes at a time in the shower room and take care of cat business.