The Journey of the Cat Carrier: How Raven, my Black Cat, Enlightened Her Human
Raven, my black cat, thought it was getting a bit boring when his human would only take her to the vet in her cat carrier. Her curiosity could only be satisfied by going other places in New Orleans. She loved her cat carrier; she thought it was being put to limited use. She enjoyed finding creative uses of her crate at home. It sat in the living room and when she wanted to get away from it all, she would jump in her cat carrier. So it was not the carrier that was the problem; it was the limited use of the pet crate by her human.
We had an appointment at the Vet on Thursday morning and the vet checked her for a variety of hazards and gave her a clean bill of health. She is healthier than you are, said the vet, addressing me. We left the vet's office and Raven began to act up. But this was not a usual acting up. She was sitting on her haunches and pointing with her paw. What was she pointing at? I lined up my arm with her pointing paw and saw that she was pointing to the street. She wanted to go on Mandeville. Then I remembered that I had been promising her a trip through the French Quarter and I had not yet kept my promise, so I went toward the gate and carried Raven in the cat carrier outside the complex.
Quarter Bars Welcome Dogs, Cats and Cat Carriers
One can walk from bar to bar in the New Orleans French Quarter and find refuge for their cats and dogs. But even before you get to the Quarter, you will find this going on at Frenchman Street bars, just a couple blocks away from Esplanade, the border of the Quarter. You can listen to live jazz and enjoy the friendship of cats and dogs. Stray cats often show up and the bar owners assign someone to feed them. Dogs lounge on the floor of the bar, usually near the bar itself. I kept Raven in the cat carrier, but she could still socialize with the other cats and dogs. After a while the owner even offered Raven some Fancy Feast and she slurped it down with gusto.
Next we went across the street to Snug Harbor but to our amazement they would not allow Raven inside. We went a couple of businesses down and went into the DBA (Doing Business As) and we got a prime spot at the head of the bar. Raven had some filtered water and we listened to a wonderful singer belting out 50's songs. Then we were off again. And we walked to the other end of Frenchman Street. We went past the Blue Nile and after listening to their music and watching dancers, we went across the street to a place called 13 which is a vegetarian restaurant. They do have a good selection on the old fashion juke box so we heard a few tunes and moved on toward the Quarter.
We were crossing Esplanade and Raven began kicking up a storm. She pointed to Check Point Charlie's and that is where we ended up. By this time, Raven wanted to get out of the cat carrier and stretch her legs, so I let her out. She did not attempt to run out of the bar as some predicted. She has an aversion to going outside a building unless she is in her crate. So again we heard some songs coming from the box and Raven joined in, her voice a pitch higher than the plastic version. From here on out, Raven began to accompany all the musicians she came upon, whether on the box or in person. When we exited Check Point Charlie's Raven began to yelp and point to the Old Mint...so that is where we went next. They were showing treasures from the Civil War era. Raven did not want to miss a thing. She examined everything on exhibit and even directed other folks to exhibits she had particularly enjoyed. She did this by jumping up and down, meowing and pointing to the exhibit. When she jumps back into the cat carrier, I leave the top cover open so that she can come and go as she wills.
We cross into the Quarter and a scruffy looking teenager approaches me threateningly and Raven jumped out of her cat carrier and sunk her claws into the boy's face. He screamed and ran the other way. We pass deeper into the Quarter and go by St. Mary's Church and Raven wants to go in. She creeps along the base boards for the church and goes into a confessional. I don't think she was going to confess anything but when the confession is over, Raven strolls out of the curtains and the priest comes out and pets Raven and Raven smiles.
The Cat Carrier and Raven Get a Variety Show: Music, Food, Sex and Shows
Then there is a constant flow of shops, restaurants, live music, bars, churches, pigeons and sex shops. Raven has never experienced such variety and she is very happy. When we have traversed a bit more than half the Quarter strip, a strong but friendly male Tabby Cat approaches Raven. Raven has been spayed, so I was not worrying about instant mating. Nevertheless, they introduced one another and Raven wrote their names on the ground: His name was Zeke. And when she wrote her name, Raven, Zeke smiled. I think it was love at first sight. When we passed on, we came to lots of sex shops, with barkers outside barking their female wares. Raven was bored with all this and showed her disdain by dismissing them with a flick of her paw.
Finally, they come to the Cathedral and it is as impressive inside as outside. Huge columns throughout the interior and massive altars up front. There they burn a candle for all the decent cats and dogs of the neighborhood. Then they cut over and go to one of the finest restaurants in the area, Galatoires. This is the crowning achievement of their trip and after sampling their pompano in a bag, they head for home.