And from there he huddled in the back of his carrier, in the back of the car the whole journey back to Sendai. Except for the service area stop.
We pulled off at a plush rest stop that I had used on the previous two trips. They had the swankiest, dark wood finished, spacious, wheelchair accessible, toilet ROOM, that I have ever seen, let alone at a road side service area. On my first trip in March this place had notices up in all the western-style toilets apologising profusely for the ice-cold unheated toilet seats that their esteemed patrons were accustomed to. They were of course trying to save electricity when there were rolling power cuts throughout the Northern regions.
My intention, on this warmer night two months later, was to let Setsuo out to stretch his legs, clean out any messes made in the carrier, and play for a teency bit of respite from his cramped quarters. Every cat (9 total thus far , (not all together)) I had given "stretch time" in this room, had gingerly stepped out of their crate, sniffed the air, approved the interior finishes and come for cuddles.
Naively expecting the same, I lifted the latch on the gridded door, stepped away and waited for Master Setsuo to put in an appearance. He was a no show. My upside down head slowly lowered to level with the portal he should have peered through. Sure that, I suppose would freak anyone out! my hair and countenance succumbing to gravity, was just too much for the furry fellow and he hissed and lurched at me.......... Ok message heard loud and clear. I`ll just be over here in this corner if you need me. To which his reply was "Enjoy your corner, I'm staying here!".
Again, naiviety reigned supreme in my grey matter and I believed for a second I could out-smart the cat. Note to self: Regardless of Eureka moments and idea bulbs flashing in mind's eye, YOU, a humble human can never "out-smart" a feline. I unclipped the top section of the kennel and removed it. Exposing Setsuo to the full glory of the designer roadside potty stop. He instantanteously took a liking to the gap between the floor and the large ceramic pipe in at the back of the toilet bowl. Rather than try to hoosh him out I went back to my corner of the room to see if curiosity would get the better of him.After all, the chrome finishes had attracted all his other furry predecessors in this joint. I waited, waited and then waited some more. Nope, I was witnessing the first kitty transported with the curiosity switch turned off. No worries, I knew he had been through a lot so this extra open space was probably not as enticing as I thought it could have been . Time to get Setsuo back into his comfort zone, reclip the carrier, position it as close to the back of the loo as possible and entice Setsuo back in. Looks plain and simple in black and white right? It did in my head too, Setsuo's logic was a tad different. The bend in the toilet piping had a lot more stability to it than the plastic carrier. A lot of epithelial tissue samples from me later, Setsuo was back in the carrier. For the rest of the trip home that is where he stayed because that is where he was somewhat reassured and felt 'protected'. I had wanted to do my best for him and his comfort levels but failed, by expecting him to be like all the other cats I had helped bring back. Instead I think I unintentionally managed to stress him out more.Sorry Setsuo!!
After a night in Sendai, we drove him and the rest of the gang to Inawashiro. He stayed edgy for a while but eventually grew to trust the volunteers there. He has been moved again to the JCN in Shiga where things have gotten a whole lot better for him.
I have just one niggle with regard to his case though. It is a niggle I'm working on but I keep meeting brick walls. It always seems easier for folks to say 'no' outright as it eases their work burden. Setsuo`s owners don't know he is still alive. They were obliged to hand him in to city hall which, as I have said before, means a one way ticket to the pearly gates. I confirmed with JEARS and told city hall we would keep Setsuo as long as it took the folks to get back on their feet. We just needed to know from them, whether they would like Setsuo back in a year or so, OR should we try to re-home him. City hall said they would be in touch.....................................................................................................................