When we bought a new car we decided to give it a run and have a few days in Rotorua (a well-known thermal region in New Zealand). We made good time over the approx 150 km stretch and stopped on the outskirts of Rotorua to get some gas. The pump attendant cleaned our windows and was pleasantly chatty.
"You've got a nice cat there," he said. "Do you always take him away with you?"
John and I practically cracked heads in our haste to see inside the car. Ollie was stretching and yawning on the top of the back seat. His fur was the same colour as the rug on the seat.
When the attendant realised our predicament he fell about with laughter. "You've got a stowaway cat, ha ha. The motel people are going to love you!!!"
Like Queen Victoria 'we were not amused'. John naughtily suggested we sneak Ollie into a motel without telling the owner.
I gave him a withering look. "And when Ollie wants to go out at 3.00 a.m. - the noise he'll make will wake the dead."
We decided on honesty and took Ollie into the first motel to show the owner what a well-behaved cat he was. The owner was not impressed. "Cats have germs," she said "sorry." The woman looked as if she had swallowed a lemon.
"I bet she's got more germs than Ollie," said John loudly as we went out the door.
"Shush," I said "she'll hear you."
The next motel receptionist didn't even bother to talk to us. She simply held up a sign that said "no pets allowed."
They were quite pleasant at motel No. 3. They actually allowed us to use the phone to call the local boarding catteries. They were all full.
Motel No. 4 owner gave us a talk on the dangers of fleas and how they had to have the place sprayed after a cat episode.
At motel No. 5 we were told about the Doberman who ate the phone right down to the cord.
We gave up then - it was time to go home.
The next morning the neighbours were so surprised to see us home. "We thought you'd gone for a week," they said, "Did you have car trouble?"
"No," I said "cat trouble!!"