Ok - always been more of a dog person but with recent lifestyle changes which are not conducive to dog ownership I adopted a couple of kittens and simply raise them like dogs. ;-) I haven't been the least bit sorry!
I live full time in a teeny-tiny RV and the cats are allowed to roam so long as we're somewhere reasonably safe (they tend to stick close by).
The pics, in order, are Gatito Cinco, Gatito Seis, and Odie. Cinco and Seis are sisters out of the same litter. Their names come from my gut feeling when I got them that they are Spanish-speaking, however I speak little Spanish. 2 weeks after not coming up with any names - simply calling them 'Gatitos,' I sat holding one, thinking of their wild-kitty personas, determined to discover her name. "How do you say Conan the Destroyer in Spanish? How do you say tornado? How do you say hurricane? ... Hey! Hurricane! Cat 5 Hurricane - Gatito Cinco! Well if you're a Cat 5 Hurricane then your little sister over there destroying my plant is a Cat 6 even though the scale doesn't even go that high."
Odie was a stray kitten who just showed up one day and super-glued himself to me (and sadly disappeared right before I moved - I'm thinking he decided he belonged to the place, not the person). A couple of days of calling him "Orange Dude" I shortened it to "O.D." While I hate the Garfield comic I do like the character of the dog, Odie, and his insane affection for everyone around him, much like my little Orange Dude. So the name stuck.
Love the kitty pix! Too bad O.D. disappeared. I hope he's living with someone that loves him as much as you did.
I don't know if you can spare the dosh, but you can get your cats microchipped. We have both of ours chipped. That identifies them as living with us, and gives contact information to any vet, shelter, or humane society that has a chip reader.
Just after I left my beloved Bel Shazzar with a now ex-friend (long story partially involving not being responsible for Bel), to travel with a friend, we stopped at a rest stop somewhere. We watched as an old ex-school bus pulled up. The door opened, and six cats came out, one after the other, at various speeds. I was amazed. I asked the folks in the bus if they had traveled with them for long, and they said years. Evidently the cats came when called. It was wonderful, but it also broke my heart, as I thought cats didn't like/want to travel, and had left Bel behind.
I actually did get them microchipped. Help from the humane society offset just enough for me to scrape together the cash to spring for the microchips.
Then I learned that it costs to activate the chips. And by the time I learned that I was so ungodly poor I haven't been able to afford it ... until probably this paycheck or the next.
The two Gatitos however do have collars and tags. This since Seis went on a one-week vacation last Summer. I'd given her up for coyote food, then one day she just shows back up like nothing happened. I'm thinking someone thought she was a stray, made nice, and took her in for a while.
Or, given that she came back looking like she'd actually gained a little weight, perhaps she ate the coyote?
Wow! I'm surprised the activation wasn't part of the implantation deal. I hope they hooked you up with the company that only asks for money once, as opposed to the one that asks for an annual fee.
Heh. I have two former strays (one may have been dumped) who definitely have food issues, and might consider eating anything that stands still long enough. Except... I think they have figured out that my opposable thumbs are more useful attached to a living me.
As for traveling, mine are getting very used to it now. The first time they became aware that the 'house' (RV) is capable of moving was also when they got spayed and were given first contact with Odie, who was brought into the RV to recover from his neutering. Yeah, lots of trauma and drama - the only time Cinco has ever hissed and snapped at me. All that week.
They've since progressed from hiding under the bed howling while we drive, to hovering over my head howling, to attaching themselves to my face howling, to now draping themselves quietly across the dashboard and making the most of the view. They more or less come when called and offer no objections when they know we're getting ready to go somewhere!
People think I'm making that up but it's true ... one of the phases involved Cinco standing on the dashboard directly in my line of view. Not lying, which is fine, standing, howling angrily at me. While Seis stands in my lap and tries to attach herself to my face while howling in anger.
I think they actually figured out that if I can't see to drive then we can't go anywhere, therefore less trauma on them.
Oh, I totally believe you. When we first started taking Cassie out in the car, she burst through a cardboard carrier like one of those aliens bursting through someone's ribcage in Alien. She. Does. Not. Like. To. Be. In. A. Crate. In. The Car!
It was o.k. to take her for drives when she was a kitten, because she'd just curl up in my lap and purr. As she got older, she decided she needed to explore underneath the gas pedal. I'm all for accommodating her needs as much as possible, but not when it jeopardizes our safety.