I met Glenn when he was begging for food on a restaurant patio in Key Largo. We had just picked up our friends from the airport in Miami, and the four of us were stopping for dinner on the way to Key West for a vacation. Glenn’s handsome black and white fur was dirty and riddled with tiny scabs from fighting, and his jaw had been badly broken at some point; his bottom jaw was oddly twisted and his chin an inch farther back than it should have been. The tip of one ear had been clipped off; a sign that he’d been neutered as a feral cat and then released back onto the streets. The waitress confirmed that Glenn was a street cat whose only home was the busy urban area around the restaurant patio. I decided it was high time someone offered this poor boy a real home and family. I told him that if he wanted to come home with us, we’d pick him up on our return trip in a few days. In fact, the pickup was more complicated than that—we had to first drop our friends off at the airport in Miami, then backtrack an hour to pick up a cat that may or may not be waiting for us. (Have I mentioned how wonderful my husband is? He didn’t complain, not even once, about the two-hour detour he had to make to indulge my insanity. He only asked me to check in with Glenn telepathically to make sure he would be waiting, and Glenn promised that he would.)
I found Glenn sleeping in a chair right next to the table where we’d sat the week before. When I picked him up, he rested willingly in my arms even though the prospect of a car ride concerned him. After a quick stop to a pet store (which I’d scoped out the week before) to acquire all the necessary cat accoutrements, we headed north with a new family member on the back seat. He was very patient with us and his new situation. He wasn’t overly fond of being crated, and upended his litter box in protest, so the trip home wasn’t without its small stresses. But three days on the road, waiting on humans’ whims and staying in hotels might make any cat cranky. All in all, he did very well, taking it in stride when he had to sit in his crate and wait while we humans did the strange things humans do for seemingly no good reason. He waited in a dive shop for hours while Hans and I swam with manatees. He waited on the hood of the car in a shady parking lot while we visited a friend’s Marine Lab were I communed with octopuses. He waited in a restaurant while we had lunch. Glenn has earned his stripes as a world traveler, but now he’s glad to stay home where he can chase squirrels, terrorize the dogs, and willfully disobey the rules about getting on the kitchen counters.