We planned our move from Las Vegas to Norwalk and back to family very carefully. Our priority was all about our two little girls, sister kittens we rescued after a perilous birth in a tight wall space. Their cat mommy couldn’t take care of them. The sisters quickly had us wrapped around their cute little paws and moving or not, they completed our family and became a part of the moving plan process.
After some deadly experiences, airlines no longer permit animals to fly after May 1, especially from desert climates. We mapped out a detailed journey by car, leaving our household items to a moving company. We packed over a six-week period so as not to traumatize our babies. They played in the boxes and became comfortable with the pet carriers. During a stressful time of wrapping and purging our belongings, they chewed on packing tape and chased each other through the boxes. Our stressful time was their playtime.
When moving day came we were ready to roll. The moving staff was briefed on our precious girls and told it was imperative they leave them alone to stay in a closed bathroom as they tagged and loaded our cargo. I made it clear that this was a “no-go zone.” Pet carriers were waiting in the corner with our few travel bags for the cars and most importantly, I had the snacks ready for a 2,000-mile-plus journey.
After I went to run some last-minute errands, I returned to settle the kittens into their carriers before departure. The new owners would be arriving soon to pick up their keys. I walked in to find most of the furniture and boxes were loaded. Great, we would be on my well-planned schedule. I turned and asked where they moved the pet carriers. “What do you mean you loaded them?” I asked. “What do you mean they’re too deep in the moving van to retrieve?” I demanded. Finally the supervisor agreed to make a quick trip to the local pet supply store to replace them. Losing time would have been more costly to his team.
I moved to the bathroom, the forbidden “no-go zone” to comfort the girls before the trip. The door was open. I gasped. The toilet seat was up; I hyperventilated and screamed, “Where are my girls?”
Four hours of searching followed. I found one kitten cowering in the corner of a closet, but where could her sister be? The condo was turned inside out, although most of its contents were already loaded on the van. More searching, reaching out to all neighbors and lots of desperate praying ensued. The door was closed during most of the moving activity. Where could she be? How could this be happening? We had to go. I couldn’t accept the reality we would have to leave. Where was she? Every friend and neighbor had searched every conceivable hiding place a dozen times. The new owners were starting to move in. We had to go.
Four days of cross-country travel followed. Four days of crying, anger, guilt, more crying and lots of praying followed. My beautiful kitten was meowing on the seat next to me, no doubt missing her sister.
Finally, after midnight on the fourth day and a never-ending dark two-lane country road, we arrived, bittersweet, to our new home in Norwalk. I fell through the door and soon onto an air mattress almost before it could be pumped up. I was even too tired to scold my baby girl as she attempted to sharpen her claws on the bed.
Morning came and I awoke to my husband sobbing and waving his phone shouting, “It’s a miracle!” “We got a text!” he cried.
One of our neighbors said they found her. She managed to find a hole behind the dishwasher. The new owners were working to remodel the kitchen and heard her crying. My neighbor’s wonderful young son reached into the space and was able to scoop her up. He encouraged her to eat and stayed up all night soothing her.
We organized help immediately. My brother in Vegas took her to the vet for a brief stay to ensure she was stable. My husband booked a one-way flight and a rental car to get our girl home. I didn’t ask about his traveling speed, but he made it home in 2 1/2 days, arriving a lot more than exhausted. We were so joyful and thankful. In our lives, we experienced a true miracle.
Julia Busch is a Norwalk resident.