Survivor: The Feline AIDS and Diabetes Version

Chapter 27 - We Move to Colorado

August, 2001

We have done it. We've brought all 5 cats and the dog across country from West Virginia to Colorado. We had a scare with Ripley, but all worked out well.

We left in the middle of the horrible midwest/northeast heat wave. We started with Paul in one car with Buck, Beck, and Ripley in the carriers and Willow in the dog crate. I took Homer and Riley Dawg in the Beetle. We made FREQUENT stops to clean carriers as Buck and Ripley let their nerves express themselves through their intestines.

What we didn't count on was how relentless the heat was and how little air conditioning reaches the back of a hatchback car and how much heat builds up under the glass even when the glass is darkened. We stopped to clean the carriers again and Ripley was soaked (urine and sweat?) and panting heavily. We quickly moved Willow over to the Beetle and left that AC on high while we tended to Ripley. We got her cleaned up, put Beck, Buck, and Ripley in the wire dog crate, opened the car doors for a breeze, and left the AC on high. I was really frightened that Ripley was going to die and we weren't near a city to rush her to a vet. We finally got her cooled and some water in her and I calmed down.

The dog crate worked out very well and there were no more near disasters although I felt guilty for not realizing what a dangerous situation we put the cats in. Please, don't any of you underestimate the dangers of heat and cars. We got them to the motel room fairly early, fed and watered them all, and kept them cool. There were no problems with Homer and Willow interacting with the Morgantown cats. They all kept their distance.

Homer, Willow, Riley, and I traveled the last 1200 miles in the New Beetle, with all of them getting along great, competing to see who could take up the most room on my lap. Poor Riley usually ended up on the bottom, having his 7 1/2 pounds being squashed by 18 pounds total of cats! Willow developed a fondness for riding on the dashboard, on the far right, staring at anyone we passed. Homer liked to get on the dash right in front of me anytime we stopped. Very helpful.

We're letting the cats have the run of the house and they can go out on the upper deck with supervision. We took Buck and Beck out to the deck leashed first but they quickly progressed to no leashes. No more outdoor roaming. Too many predators here on Genesee Mountain. There have been a few hisses and avoidance but all the cats are getting along fine, much to my relief. Having 5 cats and a dog in one house is certainly a chore, especially with different diets, etc. Too many, truthfully, but everyone is staying!

Dad Cat the first day
in Colorado.

Ripley and Buck (leashed)
sunning on the upper deck.

Homer helps air out the
sleeping bag.

August 27, 2001

Homer has gotten very aggressive the last several days. He has been attacking Beck, Buck and Ripley to the point I have had to break it up. Poor Buck has been hiding in the back room under the bed for 2 days. Beck is very nervous and got in bed with me this morning, clawing, crying, and clinging for about an hour. Homer trapped Buck and Ripley in our bathroom this morning, attacking them. Buck got in the tub but Ripley tried to stand her ground. I had to chase Homer off. Ripley has a big bleeding spot on her shoulder that I am afraid is a bite from Homer. I cleaned it with peroxide but was so upset I put Homer outside, in front, feeling that I didn't care if a coyote or mountain lion ate him or if he just ran off. I felt that if Ripley gets AIDS from this bite, I would kill Homer. After about 15 minutes, I got Homer, just as he was racing to the front door with a dog barking at him. I can't really blame Homer as it is most likely that the AIDS has affected his brain so badly. But if he is going to start attacking all the animals, I don't know what to do. Homer looks so scary with that bright red eye and although he has gained weight, he still looks weird although I can't say exactly why. He is sick and I feel awful when I yell at him but he is endangering the lives of the other four cats. I think I will close him in a separate room.

Poor, poor Ripley.

Poor Homer.

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