89: Stowaway

89: Stowaway

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?

Stowaway

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake.

The great affair is to move.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Whenever Bubba saw my suitcase on the bed, he’d wiggle in among my socks and underwear and make himself right at home.

“You’re not going with me,” I explained time after time. “I’ll only be gone two nights. You’ve got food and water and everything you need right here.”

But Bubba would always give me “the look.”

“I’ll be back Sunday night. I promise!” I’d say, as I lifted him gently from the suitcase to continue packing. Unconvinced, he’d follow me from room to room, clinging like Velcro, supervising my every move.

He was always under my feet, right up until it was time to depart. And then, just as I was about to go out the door, Bubba often “disappeared,” off pouting somewhere as if to punish me for not giving in and taking him along.

I traveled on weekends once or twice a month, so I was used to his little routine and didn’t worry too much about not finding him to say goodbye. He was always waiting at the door for me when I returned, and then I’d “love him up” to make amends for my weekend absence.

On one such excursion, I had driven for about an hour when I decided to stop at a gas station for a cup of coffee and a leg stretch. When I turned off the ignition, the radio, which I’d been singing along with as I drove, also became silent.

And that’s when I heard it — the unmistakable sound of a cat meowing — and it was coming from my trunk!

Somehow, the little rascal had wriggled in behind my suitcase, spare tire, tennis shoes, and the usual assortment of miscellaneous trunk gear, and had stowed away with me.

The friends with whom I planned to stay did not have a cat. There was no welcoming cat box, litter, or any other cat essentials at their house.

There was nothing to do but head back home, this time with Bubba curled up in the front seat of the car, purring softly to the music on the radio.

~Jan Bono

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