I don't own a dog because it would be cruel and unusual punishment (2nd story 1 bedroom apartment, coupled with 10 hour work days...) so I've settled on cats instead.
One of my cats is a character. Named Jonah because I'm sure if I threw him overboard my life would be more peaceful, he's certainly "livened" up my life. He's HUGE, craves human attention, and has absolutely no fear. Left at home to his own devices he picks on my sweet, older cat named Mickie and may (or may not, as the mood strikes him) reduce my apartment to a pile of rubble as he tears around at top speed, knocking into stuff, ending up underneath my rug in some sort of unidentifiable lump.
If I leave a door closed (for example - my bedroom) he will attempt to dig underneath of it to get into the room as he fears I might be hiding in there, away from him (which is a pretty good bet - having a cat that must be TOUCHING me at ALL times is a bit much).
I'm a bit tired of apprehensively opening my apartment door after an extended weekend to see what Jonah has decided to do. So, I've decided that he will be a travelling kitty.
He's done well on day trips. I've taken him with me to clinics and lessons 2 or 3 times and he hangs out in the tack room being sweet and adorable. I keep him on a harness and a leash and we go for walks. While I'm on horseback he's tied inside the tack room with enough room to go in and out as he pleases.
This 2 night, 3 day trip to Salinas to coordinate (or not to coordinate) this Cav event was the perfect trial. I wouldn't be gone for hours like an endurance ride and we could see if this worked....
The trip did not start auspiciously. I put him in a carrier in the back of the pickup and drove to the stable. I was in a bit of a hurry and there was LOTS of stuff in the back of the pick up (ie lots of noise). Poor kitty got very scared and peed EVERYWHERE in his carrier, soaking his fur. When I arrived at my manager's house for dinner I had a choice - leave him in the carrier or suck it up and put my pee drenched cat in my tack room (where he usually gets to stay). *sigh*. Into the tack room he went.
Dinner went well and 2 hours later I was on the road again. I kept thinking about poor Jonah in the tack room. Saddle pads and the like tend to fall off onto the floor while I drive and poor Jonah, already scared because of the whole "in the back of the pick up thing" was probably not happy.
I am such a good cat-mom.
I pulled over and prepared my passenger seat and tossed him in it with stern warnings that he would STAY on his little bed on HIS side of the pickup. No exceptions.
He did so very well. And it was nice to have an companion. I usually have trouble driving late at night (I arrived at my destination ~12:30a) but having him there meowing at me and looking at me seemed to keep me awake.
At the event I let him sleep with me in the back of the horse trailer. He curled up with me exactly like home, once he got the hang of the whole sleeping bag and bivy shelter thing. On the first day I kept him tied to a tree near the cook with a shelter, food and water near where we were riding and he just chilled out (AFTER trying to climb the tree and scaring me half to death). The second day he spent in the back of the horse trailer by himself since we were doing some pistol fire and it was scaring him.
The ride home was similar to the ride to Salinas - he just chilled on his little bed in the passenger seat.
He doesn't seem to get stressed about travel - eats, sleeps, drinks, and uses his litter box. He LOVES all the attention from everyone and faced down no less than 3 dogs while tied up to the tree (people were always around to keep an eye on him). Jonah: 3 Dogs: 0.
Verdict - I think taking him with me to the right sort of rides and events is doable and it's DEFINTELY better than wondering what he is doing at home while I'm gone. Now I just have to decide if I want my current cat free zone (the trailer) as furry as my apartment.....