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When introducing Bart into my life, I knew he would have to travel. When school is in Windsor and home is in Peterborough, you have to have an animal that is able to go that five and half hours with you, and Bart being curious and laid back seemed like a good fit. Despite this, while preparing for the trip home for Christmas last year all I felt was terror. Would he be all right in the car? Would he be scared with all the cats at home? All these problems seemed so terrifying. Nothing would have prepared me for the reality.

We got Bart packed up and ready to leave early on December 21st since my sister also lives in Windsor and I didn’t have a car so we hitched a ride home with her. Me in the front seat, Bart in the back. It turns out that Bart releases his bowels and bladder when he is scared and we quickly had to stop to change out his doggy pad. As we travelled and he got more comfortable we harnessed him and put a leash on him to give him free range of the car to experience...total calm. Bart decided the best solution to travelling was to doze through it under the passenger seat. Soon enough we found ourselves arriving at home to three cats and a dog, each one new to Bart. 

Now I love my family pets so much but they (especially our cats) can be highly territorial, and I was concerned about their reactions to a new cat, even short term. For the first evening, we had Bart separated from the rest of the cats and I spent most of the night with him watching Christmas movies in my room until, MEOW, MEOW, MEEEEEOOOW. Merlin, our gentle boy, the one we LEAST expected to have a reaction. He was PISSED and was determined to kill Bart no matter what it took. Somehow neither of our other cats had a care in the world, and our dog Pearl took the absolute opposite approach doing everything in her power to greet the newest member of her family wagging her tail through it all. Unfortunately, while Bart was curious of Merlin, he was terrified of Pearl and neither meetings were going well, until we introduced treats to the equation. By the end of the next day they all got along and Bart was free to wander, and boy did he wander.

Dashing from one side of the house to the other, batting with Christmas ornaments and toys alike. Leaping from shelf to shelf, the cat never slept. He loved grandmama’s and he loved Christmas. On the day we opened presents he leapt into the wrapping paper, chased after ribbon, played with his new toys, and had a lovely piece of chicken. 

Eventually we had to go home, and though Bart was disappointed to leave you could tell he was relieved to be home where he could relax once again.

Bridget Heuvel

UWindsor '22

Bridget is a writer for Her Campus Windsor. She's an English Language and Literature student at the University of Windsor who has a love of chocolate, wandering at night, and all things literature.
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