If you want to skip the text and just see cute kitty pictures, click here.
So for our Christmas visit home, we repeated the road trip we took about a month ago… with two important modifications.
1.) our trip did not include a stop in Vienna this time, so we took the road through Slovakia, instead of Austria.
2.) since we were unable to find a cat sitter for the Holiday Season, we brought along our two cats in the car.
Do not try this at home
First let us say, that while probably preferable to flying before Christmas, road traffic in the Holiday Season can also be challenging. While real-time traffic based navigation helped us avoid the worst traffic jams, the trip still took us 12 hours instead of 9, including two large detours (around Magdeburg and Dresden). Also, lines at petrol stations including lines for getting Motorway Stickers for the Czech Republic and Slovakia were very long, adding considerable delays and stress to our trip, Still, if we analyse the costs, we probably saved a few hundred Euros compared to the costs of plane tickets before Christmas.
Second, taking along the cats may not be the preferable solution if cat sitters are available. But our little monsters took the trip much better, than we had expected. We invested in a special pet transport box for them for the trip, which provided secure and cozy transportation for them on the back passenger seat (see pics). We barely heard a sound from them during the 13 odd hours spent in the car. For toilet breaks, we took them out one at a time in the parking lot of the petrol station (every 2-3 hours), and put them in the litter box, which was in the trunk of the car. Only Devi ended up actually going to the toilet though.
More kitty pictures: click here.
The territorial instinct awakened
Weirdly enough, problems began after arriving at Ilona’s parents’ house in the west of Hungary. At first, the cats seemed to be very much on edge, exploring the new house with obvious unease (so far understandable). It’s worth noting, that our cats are litter mates, who have spent all their lives together. To say that they get along well is an understatement: they sleep together all the time and help each other with grooming. It’s really very sweet. It was also quite OK for them to spend 13 hours huddled up in the car at close quarters, without any conflict. Now, literally seconds after arriving in Hungary, our two kitties became frustrated with each other, hissing and growling whenever one got close to the other. It has gotten better over time, however we have been here for three days now, they seem very much at ease with their new surroundings. But they keep to themselves, and the hissing and growling seems to persist for now. Our best explanation is that the larger space here awakened some kind of dormant territorial instinct in them. We very much hope, that their relationship will recover with time, at the latest when we get back home to Hamburg!
To wrap up, let’s see some more kitty pictures.
UPDATE: Nel decided that this fight is stupid and is now “forcing” Devi to tolerate her snuggling 🙂 there are still moderate growls on the part of Devi, but Nel won’t budge! We are cautiously optimistic. Pictures were added to second gallery.
UPDATE 2: The kitties ended up having a great time with Ilona’s parents and they were back to their old selves in a few days. They took the return journey without difficulty. Here are some more pictures to back it up 🙂