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Our trip up until this point was relatively uneventful. No delays, no problems at customs, and no issues with Ripley. The meds we gave her were holding strong and showed no signs of wearing off. Then two things happened:

1) We got onto American Airlines, which were smaller and more cramped, and
2) Nightfall

Nightfall is when cats get a little crazy. Their eyes get all big, hunting instinct takes over, and the energy saved by napping for 20 hours a day needs some place to go.

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However, it’s tough to do that in a small prison under a seat next to a jet engine. You can imagine our surprise when Ripley acquired the strength of 10 cats and simultaneously figured out how to open her zipper from the inside. She (the poor thing) was using all her strength to push to get out while we tried to keep her in, and she did not use claws or teeth at all. We’ve seen her freak out at the vet, when she became The Hulk, and there was blood involved. This was different, and we were both amazed at how she reacted without physically harming us at all.

The meds were obviously wearing off. The seat was too small to really console her. Something had to be done.

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I managed to get her back in her carrier, slung her over my shoulder, leaped over the sleeping lady beside us, and ran to the bathroom. I also had with me some more meds and those calming wipes, ready to give her a weird mixture of tranquillizer and pheromones once she was unsuspecting.

I stayed in the bathroom for half an hour, feigning flight sickness. The flight attendants hadn’t seen me smuggle a furry feline in so I figured I had as much time as needed. As soon as Ripley was let out of the bag she became so affectionate and purred like crazy, and just wanted to sit on my lap. I don’t blame her; I liken her awakening to coming out of a coma and simultaneously realizing you’re hurtling through the air on a metal slug.

Once she was relaxed again I seized my opportunity and threw a pill down her throat. Sorry Rips. Denise made me do it. Then a mere 15 more minutes and it was time to go back in the carrier. This time however, I had an idea. She seemed to calm if I continuously pet her (even during the freakout) and to a similar degree, just having some random body part in there seemed to help. The obvious was my foot, and once back in the seats I opened the zipper a bit and just put my foot in there. Ripley was meowing at this point, but then abruptly stopped, and remained silent for the remainder of the flight.

This technique worked flawlessly too during the next and final leg of our journey, in Part 3: Miami -> Panama!

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