About Alexandra Heep

About Alexandra Heep: The internet has allowed allowed Alexandra to maintain a semblance of life when encountering an unexpected, lingering health crisis. The Internet is a lifeline which not only allows her to remain connected to friends, but also survive, via writing.While Alexandra Heep is her pen name, she does not hide behind it. Instead, she used it to brand herself on the Internet and to create opportunities.

Alexandra published her first book, a collection of her best poems, on July 11, 2012. You can buy it at Lulu.com

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Gracie's Journey

A lot of you are eagerly awaiting my travel journals for my recent move from Richmond to Chicago. While I took notes at the end of the day each and had WiFi in each of the three hotel rooms during the 4 day journey, I had not anticipated how draining the trip would really be. Also, we have pictures, but due to some technical difficulties and other circumstances at the moment they will have to wait before being uploaded and published.

However, since The Princess rules, I will share her experience as to placate the cat lovers and to give a glimpse into our travels for  the  rest of the  readers.

About 2 weeks before the trip I had trained Gracie to wear a harness. Like the good cat she is, she adapted quickly, despite a rough start. A friend also recommended an herbal sedative that her vet suggested as a safe alternative for a tranquilizer. I put some drops on her dinner (wet cat food) the  night before to see if she would balk at the taste and how they would affect her.

She ate the food without complaints and the drops relaxed her, but did not put her all the way to sleep, something I wanted to avoid. I only wanted to keep her calm, not make her all loopy.

When it was time to leave the following day, I put some drops on cat treats, put them in the cage to associate the metal carrier with a pleasant experience, and she ate those without complaint. We took the cage of course, but decided to let her roam free in the car to see if she would sit on my lap or on a blanket for the trip. I am not suggesting that for everyone as all cats are different and it’s dangerous business—imagine a cat jumping on the gas pedal while driving down the highway—but the Princess is a good cat.

Day 1: Initially, she meowed for about half an hour and yes, she did make a trip to the floor boards between Tom’s feet, but we coaxed her out. She eventually settled on my lap for most of the first day. We stopped after the first 80 miles and put a leash on her in the car on the harness she was wearing and Tom held on tightly to make sure she would not dart out while I opened the car door. 

All went well, and after another 100 miles we were at our first overnight stop. The hotel room was spacious enough for her to not feel cramped and had a window with a sill large enough for her to use. I was afraid she would dart under the King-size bed, but she did not. We set up a makeshift litter box in the hotel room, but she did not want to use it. 

I was afraid she would meow all night, but she surprised me again and was fairly quiet, despite a 4 am thunderstorm.

Day 2: The next morning we repeated the ritual of harness on, treats with drops, put in cage, put in car, close car doors, let cat out. This time she mostly settled on the blanket between the driver and passenger seat, cool and calm as can be.

I was concerned that she had not yet relieved herself, so we stopped at a rest stop in Pennsylvania and Tom took her, harnessed and leashed of course, to the grassy pet area. That frightened her more than anything, so we put her back in the car and I gave her treats and praises to calm her down.

And this was a longer trip: 277 miles with mountain grades and pouring rain for 100 miles (luckily not while driving through the mountains). We had another nice hotel room with a proper window for her and space to roam around. This time we put more litter in the box and she made up for lost time, much to my relief as well.

Day 3: She knew what was coming and once again cooperated and of course I had given her treats and drops in the morning, but less than before. This time Tom got more lap time from her. She even looked out the windows, just like a dog would. The windows were safely up of course.

The hotel room at the end of the 200 mile journey leg was a little smaller this time, but still had a good window and by now she was a pro.

Day 4: Even though we were stuck in Chicago city traffic, she was still calm. We arrived at our temporary final destination, an extended stay hotel, and she now has 2 windows with super-wide sills at her disposal. She even gets to watch planes approach Chicago O’Hare, but is not bothered by them at all. I guess motorcycle night at my old place prepared her for noise.

Yes, Gracie is an awesome cat and this just confirms it even more. I can’t wait to give her the final home she so much deserves.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm amazed she was calm for most of the trip. Those drops are magical!

Susan Klatz Beal said...

I am amazed that she was so well behaved throughout the entire ordeal. Have you arrived at your "final destination" yet?

Alexandra Heep said...

It was not all due to the drops. I gave her a very small dosage and none at all one we got to the hotels. Only some in the morning before loading her in the car. None since Saturday.

Diane said...

Phew! Thank God that's over. The reason I called my vet who suggested the drops is that I remembered how Gracie cried so much when you moved into the hotel in Richmond. I hoped to avoid a repeat of that performance.:-) Well done, GRACIE!

Olivia said...

Enjoyed the journey with Gracie...you certainly planned well and thought of every step along the way. Thank you for sharing your story I am looking forward to more. :)

Glorygarden@msn.com said...

What a wonderful kitty! Glad it wasn't tough for her, which I know was one of your top concerns. :-)