The Drive from Albuquerque to Austin

"The Story of Kitty Villa (or, The Mysterious Fourth Cat)" (Part I)

Got an early start from Albuquerque because the drive to Austin is about 12 hours long, and includes a time zone change making it more like 13, or even 14 with stops. Fortunately, I had my iPod loaded up with 50+ hours of CarTalk, so the time flew by.

Albert and I got to Austin first. Adam and Jack were about a half hour behind us. Jack calls Matt Hinsley to bring the key to our guest house. The house belonged to Kitty Villa, who was out of town and generously offered her home as a place to stay for guitarists performing for the Austin Classical Guitar Society. Matt Hinsley opened up the house for Albert and I, and I was happy to feel the cool rush of conditioned air over my arms. We instantly noticed the herd of cats hanging out around the TV in the living room. Almost immediately, one of them made a dash for the front door - it really seemed like it knew what it was doing, so we let it out. A brief tour of the house brought us to the master bedroom and the only rule of staying there: "Leave the door to the master bathroom closed".

Adam and Jack soon arrived. As they were coming in, another house cat wanted in - apparently it had been left outside from the previous guest the night before. This grey cat seemed very happy to finally be back in the house as it seemed to be sick with something (we later saw some cat medication on the coffee table). It proceeded to spend the rest of the evening moaning in a disconcertingly childlike way for the rest of the evening.

The other cats were a bit on the wild side too - they generally ran around like crazy and took any opportunity to swipe or bit our fingers and/or toes. As we eventually settle into bed and turn out the lights, their nocturnal hunting instincts are roused and the pandemonium really begins. The couch's armrest that Albert's head was right next to became a scratching pad for one of the cats. Adam, on the floor in the living room got to experience, claws, fangs, and even close-proximity feline vomiting!

I was in a room that the elderly black-and-white cat haunted, and any time a foot came out from under the blanket, the otherwise docile matron went in for a bite. Throughout all of this there was a veritable chorus of moans, groans, crashes (of pottery?), hisses, throughout the night. I would periodically get up and let a cat out the front door, but somehow, it seemed that the number of cats in the melee never decreased.