Hi, my name is Kate and I blog about my exotic travel experiences with my hunky husband. The blog is called Hot Blogging with Chuck. But . . .
The only problem is . . . Chuck isn’t my husband, he’s my cat.
Not many people take their cat with them when they travel. I know this. And Bob, my husband, does not jump with joy to know that Chuck is coming with us, stuffed into my carry-on, all the air deflated out of him, only to be pumped up upon arrival with my portable air pump and raring to go.
But it is a reality born of necessity.
You see, Chuck was bored at home, and he was developing into a “over groomer.”
Feral and homeless, we adopted him, expecting some problems, but we did not expect that this cute and very adorable orange and white tabby would turn into an obsessively clean cat or that he would begin to groom the fur right off his body. In spots, of course.
The vet said Chuck was bored. He needed stimulation. Travel. Fun. That’s how it all bega n.
And when Chuck discovered that I had written a novel called Wild Point Island . . . well, that clinched it. Chuck wanted to go see the island, which was a bit difficult for a variety of reasons--you would have to read the book to find out exactly why. So we began to take Chuck with us as we traveled around the U.S. and the world.
Which leads me to what happened when we decided to celebrate our anniversary by taking the train from New Jersey to Washington, D.C. (the Acela, high speed train) and spend a few days seeing the sites, most specifically the Washington Zoo to see the panda bear. Why the panda bear, you might be thinking?
Well, a few years ago I had gone to China, to the Beijing Zoo, and seen my first panda bear and made the big mistake of telling Chuck all about it. Since then, Chuck had become obsessed with seeing the Panda up close and personal. He wanted to look the Panda in the eye.
“Are you thinking ‘show down’?” I asked him, as we were walking up Connecticut Avenue toward the National Zoo.
Chuck meowed in a non-committal way.
“Because the Panda will be in an enclosure, behind a fence,” I explained. “There is no way you are getting inside with him, Chuck. You do understand that.”
Chuck has this weird way of grunting to show he is listening, but I’ve learned the hard way that this grunt does not always mean he’s agreeing with me.
“Tell me you agree with what I’m saying,” I repeated more firmly. “No funny business.”
But Chuck didn’t answer.
I peered inside my shoulder bag and Chuck stared back.
By this time, we were ready to cross the street. I rolled my eyes at Bob, frustrated, anticipating that Chuck might have something planned I was not going to like. You never know with a cat named Chuck.
We proceeded toward the Panda exhibit, and, of course, it was crowded. I located an area away from where most people were gathered so Chuck could protrude his head out and not attract attention. We scanned the exhibit area in search of the Panda bear.
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, this massive black and white bear emerged from behind the trees and began to lumber forward. Towards where we were standing. Impressive looking.
From my vantage point, it seemed as if he had spotted Chuck and was making a beeline toward him to get a closer look. He probably didn’t see too many cats visiting the exhibit.
Chuck seemed just as eager to see the Panda. Wiggling, he seemed determined to break free of my shoulder bag.
“No way,” I said.
But Chuck only struggled harder to get out as the Panda bear lumbered closer and closer.
I snuck a peek at my husband who shrugged his shoulders.
“Do you think so?”
“Might as well. Give the kid a thrill.”
I opened up my bag and out hopped Chuck. He landed on the ground with a thud which clearly didn’t phase him. He jumped sideways about three feet, then leapt over the fence and into the exhibit area, heading straight toward the Panda bear.
Now Chuck is no light weight. At our last visit to the Vet he clocked in at fifteen pounds. So when he walks, he lumbers forward, his front paws stretched out in front of him. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Closer and closer.
And the Panda bear seemed to be as equally determined to get to Chuck.
OMG. It hit me then as the gap closed between them that what if this was not destined to be a friendly encounter. What if that bear decided to eat Chuck for lunch? He could quite easily swipe Chuck up with one paw . . . and . . .
I grabbed hold of my husband’s arm and was about to issue a warning when something magical happened.
Both of them stopped about a foot from each other.
They appraised each other.
Then Chuck eagerly hopped alongside of the Panda Bear and gosh darn it, POSED.
“What the hell is that cat doing?” I whispered to my husband.
“He wants you to take his picture.”
With my heart thumping, I snapped a photo.
“Chuck, get back here now,” I hissed.
Without another MEOW, he hopped back over the fence and into my shoulder bag. The next thing I knew, he was fast asleep. Exhausted.
Weekly blog on chuck: www.katelutter.blogspot.com
Chuck’s rebuttal: www.facebook.com/katelutterauthor