It did not all start out European cat food and Scandinavian veterinarians.
Before the 2TravelCats became internationally famous diplomats of fuzz, they were street kitties. Both Walter and Olive were rescued from the Castaic Animal Shelter in California. We adopted them long before any of us ever knew that we’d become full-time travelers.
Meet the cats
(Feel free here to imagine a slow-motion montage from a Guy Ritchie film, voiced by Ray Winstone):
Male. Orange. Possessive megalomaniac. Cuddles on his own terms. Easily frustrated by those who don’t respect his authority.
Likes: Coffee, asserting dominance, supervising the humans, surfing the dark web, monster movies, and ham.
Dislikes: Turtles, airport security, loud noises, autobiographies.
Walter was not happy. People scare him and here he was, in a cage, in a place where strange new people came to stare at him throughout the day. He had his back turned and was doing everything he could to hide his eyes from the curious patrons looking for the perfect new addition to their family. He wanted no part of it.
There were so many cats there. We wanted to adopt them all, but we could only choose one.
Mimi’s allergies were also going crazy at this point so she finally decided to wait outside while I picked out our new furry family member. I picked him because he seemed like he needed someone to give him a chance. The other cats were doing everything they could to look cute and get adopted, so it seemed more likely that they eventually would, but Walter needed me.
We took him straight to our vet and got him checked out. After a quick visit, we took Walter home. Both of us fell in love with him immediately and he quickly learned to trust us. Walter is a very sensitive cat that needs several hugs throughout the day. He will climb up to your shoulder and hug you for as long as you let him. Walter’s a typical cat in many ways but we’re his family and he needs us. He even loves Olive most days as long as she understands that he’s in charge. Olive doesn’t care who’s in charge, so it works out fine.
Female. Calico. Sweet all day. Wants to be your friend, speaks seven languages. Acts like a dog, runs like a horse, and chatters like a squirrel.
Likes: Birds, baklava, long naps, getting brushed, snacks, heaters, cooking shows, and romance novels.
Dislikes: Disliking things, and mean people.
Olive was working it! She locked her green eyes on Mimi and started purring while she went through the “look at what a cute cat I am” routine. She was incredibly friendly and we both loved her right away. We started the adoption process that day, but she hadn’t been vaccinated and spayed yet, as was California’s policy when adopting from shelters. The people at the shelter told to come back in a couple of days to pick her up.
A few days later we get a call from the shelter saying that Olive had gotten her vaccinations, but hadn’t been spayed yet because she had a respiratory infection.
Then they asked if we still wanted her? The question irritated me, and I told them that we were on our way to pick her up and that we would have our own vet handle everything. We took Olive straight there from the shelter and had her checked out.
As it turned out, she not only had a respiratory infection but she was pregnant. To make things worse, the shelter hadn’t known that she was pregnant, so the vaccinations they gave her were not supposed to be administered to pregnant cats, as it would cause harm to the unborn babies. Sadly it was recommended that the babies be aborted and that Olive be spayed. She was given an antibiotic and after an overnight stay at the vet, she was ready to come home.
We kept her separate from Walter until the respiratory problem cleared up and they’ve been friends ever since. Mainly from a
We have crossed 14 borders with Walter and Olive. Cats and dogs need a pet passport to cross countries, which is a collection of documents proving they are free from diseases and fit to travel. In some borders, it seemed that no one wanted to bother checking the documents, but it is worth to keep the passport up to date to avoid problems with quarantine
They don’t like the plane ride or airport security very much, but they love exploring new apartments.
It was on this journey that we first discovered how much the cats love stairs. From that point on, we started making it a point to look for places with lofts or stairs of any kind that they could play on.
Temporary Residence #1: Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is where we became international. We don’t know what that means exactly but frankly, we like the sound of it. The food here is delicious. Our humans have started feeding us something called Royal Canin. We like that they seem to recognize us as being Royal, but we’re suspicious of the Canin part. It sounds too much like canine and we don’t like the sound of that at all. As long as
Temporary Residence #2: Dubrovnik, Croatia
We’ve learned that international means that we’ll be traveling more and we have mixed feelings about that. We don’t like airplanes, airports, or taxis, but we do like our new apartment. This one has a view of the ocean. There are a lot of other cats in the neighborhood that drop by to say hi. Everyone seems very friendly. – Olive
Update: Our humans have started feeding the other cats and we are a bit worried. That’s our food and there is some concern that we could run out of our supply. These humans better get their priorities straight or we’re going to start forbidding them from cleaning our litter box. That will teach them who’s boss. – Walter
Temporary Residence #3: Sofia, Bulgaria
We’ve moved again and there seems to be a white covering over everything outside. The humans have called it snow and they don’t seem to like it very much. We’re planning on staying inside and take naps where it’s warm until they figure this out. There are comfortable blankets to lay on and even Walter seems less grumpy. He’s decided that this moving thing will give him an opportunity to take over the world. I’d say he’s gone mad with power except he doesn’t really have any power. He’s so silly. The new apartment is bigger than anywhere we’ve ever lived before and we have bunk beds now. They’re great! So many fun new places to take a nap.
Temporary Residence #4: Budapest, Hungary
The stupid humans did it again. We need to develop some sort of early warning system to alert us about these moves. Fortunately, the plane rides have been much shorter than that first one to Barcelona and they seem to be maintaining a steady supply of our food. We have a window near a table that we like to sleep on but no view of the ocean. We’ve already informed the humans that this will not do, so it is our belief that they are working on finding us our own apartment. The only positive is that I have been using the opportunities provided by this “traveling” as reconnaissance for my plans to take over the world. . . But perhaps I’ve said too much. – Walter
Temporary Residence #5: Limassol, Cyprus
It took them months, but the humans have complied with our wishes and found us a new apartment near the ocean. This has not been without its pros and cons. On the plus side, we have something called “stairs” to play on now. We’ve never had “stairs” before and we must admit that they are rather fun. On the downside, our humans have again found more cats to feed. They’re everywhere and sometimes ten cats at a time show up in our yard. We’re worried that our humans will give all of our food away and this will not do. Olive seems to like the cats outside but I will be expressing my displeasure by leaving a hairball in their shoes. – Walter
Temporary Residence #6: Istanbul, Turkey
We’ve arrived in someplace called Turkey and I’m very excited. Turkey is delicious! Walter seems to enjoy the many books in this apartment. I like the female-empowering artwork. One has a lot of pink and I like pink. The new apartment is nice and the humans seem happy. I just love it here. I’m just going to go take a nap and wait for my turkey to arrive. – Olive
Temporary Residence #7: Lisbon, Portugal
We’ve moved again. The turkey never showed up at the last apartment and I hope that Santa Clause or whoever was supposed to bring it to us can find us here. This new apartment is fun because we have “stairs” again. Walter has started sitting at the top of the “stairs” while looking down at the humans and shouting commands. We all just ignore him and let him have his fun. We’re up high in this apartment, (6th floor? Whatever that means. I only see one floor) so we get to see a lot of birds. I hope some of them will be my friends. I like birds. – Olive
Temporary Residence #8: Belgrade, Serbia
The humans have brought us to a place called Belgrade and it’s pleasantly adequate. There are three levels of “stairs” to play on and the top floor really lets me assert my authority. We have a big window on the middle level where the humans feed the birds and they have been fun to watch. They look delicious but so far the humans have thwarted all of my plans of attack, so I remain birdless. They’ve also been feeding the local cats again but at least there’s less of them here than there was in Cyprus. Olive thinks one of them is cute but I don’t see how because he’s not even orange. There’s just no accounting for some cats taste. – Walter
Temporary Residence #9: Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is lovely! We have a big window in front of the apartment and a patio to relax on in the back. There are birds everywhere and I just love it here. It’s sunny all the time so there’s plenty of chances to sun myself. Walter said that I can work on “my tan.” I don’t know what that means but I’ve never worked before so I’m willing to try it. I do wonder why he was laughing when he said it but Walter is weird, so who knows. This is going to be great living here! – Olive
Temporary Residence #10: Kyiv, Ukraine
We love the heater. We might never move from this spot again. The humans even gave us towels to lay on. They’re so sweet. There’s also a lot of pigeons outside the window so maybe after this nap
Temporary Residence #11: Bucharest, Romania
We’ve moved yet again and the humans have been slow getting me my coffee. They love this Romania place and I’m starting to feel like they need to spend more time at home petting me. We do have a nice patio here with a door at each end, so I’ve started patrols. There seems to be that white covering called snow that we saw in Bulgaria here as well. With this new patio, I’ve been able to investigate it up close. It’s cold but delicious. Olive seems to like it as well but then she likes everything. This is a very nice apartment though so I’m going to instruct the humans to consider staying here for a while. I really need to finish my plans for world
Temporary Residence #12: Nice, France
Bonjour! That’s what they say here. It’s been great living here so far and I’ve already made friends with two cats. They’re teaching me
Temporary Residence #13: Tirana, Albania
We’ve moved three times in this country and I was ready to destroy my humans for a short time. Fortunately for them, the apartment we finally ended up in is more than adequate. I have decided to grant them a reprieve. We have a patio with a view of the city and the breeze has been invigorating. I feel like I could take over the world! Well, that’s been my plan all along so this new apartment will do nicely as a base of operations. The humans intend to stay here longer than our normal 2-3 months so I may even let them pet me for an extra five minutes today. I’m so gracious. – Walter
Temporary Residence #14: Portland, Oregon
I think I’ve had quite enough of planes for a while. The humans have promised that this was the last flight, but you know how humans lie. It certainly has been a whirlwind return to the United States. I can understand what the other kitties are saying again! It’s weird. . .
Anyway, we landed in something called a “Seattle.” We stayed there for a few days before the humans put in in a car and drove us to a “Portland.” When we arrived, there were two kitties already living there! One was a named Baker and he was cool, sometimes. The other kitty was Sasha, and I have to say, I have never seen a more lovely creature.
We had just gotten settled in, and I had finally taught the other kitties to respect my authority, when the humans moved us again. Something about having to reign in my stalking and tyranny. Whatever with that, but I do need my space I guess. It’s bad enough that I have to share my humans with Olive!
So, now we have our own apartment in Portland. The humans have been showering us with gifts; soft comfy beds, tall cat post, tons of toys, and a garden full of catnip and grass. We have windows to look out of and a patio to enjoy the fresh air. I may eventually even forgive the humans if this keeps up. – Walter
Traveling Together, Two Humans and Two Cats
It’s not the ideal situation for any animal that likes stability. Cats crave a stable environment and we do the best we can to provide that with our lifestyle. They are the main reason why we stay so long in each place instead of moving around more. They’re the reason we select nonstop flights if possible or at minimum, flights with the shortest duration. They’re the reason I’ve packed (new and unused) litter-boxes and cat litter in my luggage instead of clothes on occasions when I knew we’d arrive at a new country after the pet stores had closed
We spoil them as much as we can, and they reward us with all of the love that a cat can give.
When it’s time to move, they are the last things packed to go. Arriving at the new place they are the first things unpacked. They have a litter box, food, water, and their cat toys ready for them minutes after being released. They’ve learned the drill and seem to have adapted well to moving days. We had considered trying to find them a home before we left California, but they are our family. They trust us to take care of them and we could never have left them behind.
We’re thankful for the cats because it changed our approach to traveling.
Instead of running through each country, seeing the sights then moving on, we adapt. We have to live at the mercy of local schedules and traditions. Dinner is early and short in Denmark but in Spain, we ate dinner very late and it spanned hours. In Serbia, we learned that waking up early is pointless since nothing is open. Even the earliest coffee house/cafe doesn’t open until eight am and most of the rest open slowly, around nine. . . ish.
The cats made us Temporary Residents, instead of just tourists.
They are our family and it redefines what home means to us. Sometimes we still work too much, just like we did in California. We still cook dinner at night and watch a movie while the cats sleep on our laps. The only difference is that, in our time off, we’re in a different neighborhood that needs exploring, every 3 months. For the cats, it means different windows, maybe a patio or balcony. If they’re really lucky they get stairs, but not many changes. They still have their humans and they never go hungry. Walter gets his hugs and Olive is just Olive.