Stowaways weigh on trip

Local | Georgina Noyce 5 Mar 2019

Imagine reaching home in stark Scotland from scorching Australia to find you packed more than the traditional duty free!

Migration is usually in the other direction, but it seems a small, harmless spotted python, normally happy with its Down Under residence, needed somewhere private to change its clothes (shed its skin) and ended up thousands of miles from home.

Reminds me of some of my own unexpected duty free, like the gecko that tried to hitch a lift in my suitcase coming back from Thailand one year.

Fortunately, last-minute packing turned him up in my wash bag in time to be ejected unceremoniously and told to buy his own ticket.

Most of my extra luggage comes from closer to home though, as most trips now involve packing in secret, locking bags where Jack Yorkie, Bonnie Pomeranian and Jade and Amber cats can't sneak in and take up residence.

Removing either of the cats is a little like handling mercury, as they squiggle and wriggle to escape back into the cosy nest of holiday clothes.

Jack the Nipper is harder still. He guards the suitcase with his best growls and lots of prehistoric teeth until he is coaxed to come out with a tasty treat.

Maybe that's all he wanted anyway, but

I suspect it is more to do with recognizing we are going to leave him behind and he definitely considers that a no-no.

Amber, the once-feral cat, has always been the hardest to stop as she has mastered the art of getting into the smallest spaces.

Born wild, her ability to hide helped her survive for a year on the streets, so the first time she was left unsupervised in the house it never crossed my mind to check where she was as I picked up my handbag and shopping bags and headed out.

Halfway up the path I realized my bags weighed far more than they should. Opening my large handbag, I stared down at the gingery, whiskery face of the newest member of the family. With a grumpy yowl, she tried to leap out of the bag, like a small child caught at hide and seek.

For several weeks, all bags were checked for stowaway cats, until she tired of the game and ran outside instead, to be coaxed back in with a treat whenever she realized we were going out.

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