For several years, I travelled around the world in the company of a cat. Not my cat, but that of my travelling partner. It is an important distinction, because I was pretty profoundly not a natural-born cat person. I had a dog growing up, and had never actually interacted with a cat until well into my adult life. It was a surprise to discover that the two most beloved species of pets have little, perhaps nothing, in common. Up until that point, I had always been a bit phobic of cats, which is not a huge surprise given that the only ones I had come across before were the mangy, contagious looking varieties that roam in alleys around the world.
Despite the fact that I did not innately have a bond to cats, my travelling partner loved, nay, worshipped his cat, and so the cat became an additional party in our travelling fleet.
The cat had its own cat passport where we stored proof of its vaccines, quarantines, and the various travelling documents required to move an animal across borders.
This cat quite likely had one of the most exotic lives ever known by a feline. It traveled by high-speed ferry across the Greek islands, it flew on more airplanes than most people do in their entire lives, and it was a passenger on every conceivable kind of train, car, and bus (though to my knowledge, never a bike).
There was no more bizarre sight than the spectacle of us standing in an airport/train station/bus station/port, haggard and tired, surrounded by our suitcases, accompanied by a half wild cat peering out of its carrier. We knew how to say ‘kitty litter’ in a dozen languages, and I sheepishly inquired at dozens of rentals to find out whether the owners would allow a travelling indoors cat to reside with us.
It turns out that the cat was a pretty low maintenance traveler. It never made noise on airplanes, it was quite happy peering out of its carrier, and it adapted with much enthusiasm to each new residence. And who can blame it? The cat spent many an hour peering over the rooftops of Paris, flirting with the strays outside of our door in Greece, snuggled up to various radiators in wintery Northern Europe, and observing Romans stroll past the window in their elegant glory.
It turns out, that even cats get a bit of a thrill from travel.