Pet Tips 'n' Tales
Cottage Grove's very own swimming cat, Nymbus, creates a "splash" on ANDERSON Cooper's daytime talk show and on Animal Planet's "Must Love Cats". Most pet parents will do anything for their pets, and Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe" is no exception. She arose at 3AM so she and her celebra-cat, Nymbus, could  catch a plane to New York for Nymbus' appearance on the show.
Swimming Cats TV Schedule
Mary Ellen and her swimming cats are on Animal Planet's Must Love Cats.
Mary Ellen and Nymbus's Interview with Anderson Cooper

Nymbus Can Swim AND Fly!

On Friday morning, March 23, the ANDERSON show phoned me, "Can you and your cat fly to New York on Monday?" "Of course!", I replied, and thus began my lesson in flying coast-to-coast with a cat in tow. This would be Nymbus' sixth TV appearance, but his first airplane ride. To assure a paws-itive experience, I asked a pet communicator to chat with him first.

"I explained to Nymbus," began Dr. Agnes Thomas, "that he would be taking an airplane ride, similar to a car ride, except that a plane rides up in the air. I assured him that he would be safe in a small carrier, under the seat, near his mom's feet. I suggested that he take a "cat nap" on the long trip and he asked, "Is Mommy going to sleep, too?"
Next, I told him that he and Mommy would be staying in a room in a pet-friendly hotel. "What is a hotel?" he asked.  "It is like a bedroom," I responded.

After his talk with Agnes Thomas, Nymbus seemed excited about the trip; we found him sleeping in both his new flying carrier and in my suitcase.

At 3AM on Monday morning, to encourage Nymbus to empty his bladder prior to the long flight, my husband got up and drove him around the dark and foggy town, which did the trick!

Nymbus loves car rides and the five Lincoln Towncar limo chauffeurs reserved to drive us to our various destinations each allowed Nymbus to sit in the back window area so he could take in all of the New York City sites.
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
*Nymbus loves his NYC limo ride!
Before we left, I put a sign on his carrier: "ANIMAL PLANET - MUST LOVE CATS - CELEBRA-CAT". From the moment we arrived at the airports and boarded the airplanes, adoring fans took out their cell phones to photograph/videotape Nymbus like Paparazzi after a famous MEW-vie star.
During the flight, I briefly held his carrier up to the window. From his facial expression, I could tell that he was intrigued by the clouds, and the ground thousands of feet below.

A flight attendant videotaping Nymbus was "tickled" at his name. "You mean, 'Nymbus', like the clouds we're flying through?!", she exclaimed.  An accommodating TAIL wind helped us to arrive 20 minutes early, but, unfortunately, our luggage opted to fly on to Houston, Texas.
Luckily, I had hand-carried some cat food onto the plane with me! Arriving without fancy clothes to wear for a TV show made me feel like Cinderella not having a ball gown to wear to the ball!  Thankfully, the ANDERSON staff came to the rescue regarding my outfit for the show. Plus, the ANDERSON Show and MUST LOVE CATS were phoning, but my cell phone was "dieing", and the charger was in the suitcase!
These CAT-astrophes left me feeling tired and stressed! Nymbus, however was having the time of his life and even invented two "fun" games: Strutting up and down the pet-friendly hotel hallways (as a result of his training to take every new location, "in stride"); and, while I was trying to fall asleep, meowing every 20 minutes over the next four hours. I could not be upset with him, though, as it was a happy-sounding "Meow!", like, WOW! I'm in New York!" During the entire trip, his body language exhibited happiness and relaxation. 
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
*Nymbus knows his worth! He felt I should keep all my valuables in the hotel room's safe for "safe keeping" so he promptly walked into the vault and sat down!
Each time we left the room for luggage-tracing, Nymbus sat upright, fully alert, and unfrightened in his pet stroller, riding up and down in the elevators, and greeting bellhops, hotel guests, etc., like a seasoned MEW-vie star.  (The luggage showed up in Oregon four days later, minus a wheel.).
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
*Nymbus maintained his paw-sitive attitude as he greeted everyone in the "Green Room". He strutted around like he was born to teach pet water safety. He also accompanied me to the makeup/hair/wardrobe room for "the works".   
*Mary Ellen and Nymbus after "hair and makeup" with host of Must Love Cats, John Fulton.

I knew that if Nymbus saw the TV studio and pool before having to face the audience, it would help to keep him calm when he did. So, the staff kindly gave us a tour prior to the audience's arrival. ANDERSON's staff is as amazing as he is. They were all concerned regarding Nymbus's health, and polite and helpful.

When "show time" arrived and we were instructed to walk out on stage, Nymbus wriggled in my arms after spotting the 300 audience members looking at him. Then, just as quickly, he settled down as though he had been on stage for his entire life. During our taping, Anderson Cooper remarked, "What a beautiful cat!"

For the swim segment, the camera crew homed their gigantic cameras  in on us. There was a quiet, "Lights, camera, action" moment...then Nymbus took off swimming. Like a pro, he swam right to me. You could hear the gentlest of "Awwws" from the crew as he swam.  As I lifted Nymbus from the water, I noticed a look of awe of on their faces. Anderson very kindly reached down to help wrap Nymbus in a fluffy towel.

Then, we rushed back to the "Green Room" where I changed back into my "flight clothes", jumped into the Towncar limo, and boarded the plane with 30 seconds to spare before the doors closed.

We landed in San Francisco, and I noticed that Nymbus was "green" due to air turbulence. The airline lost his pet stroller, and we nearly missed the transfer flight home because they changed the boarding gate. We arrived in Eugene, Oregon, at 12:30 PM.

After spending two hours to claim lost luggage, (5:30 AM New York time), I finally sat down in the waiting Towncar and looked over at Nymbus, who was stretched out on the back seat. Our chauffeur had turned the "seat warmer" on and Nymbus was enjoying every last "pampered MEW-vie star" moment.

Dr. Thomas, the pet communicator, phoned to give us Nymbus' view of the trip: "The flying wasn't so bad," he told her, "but I was annoyed that I wasn't allotted a 'people seat' next to my mom like I have in her car when we go bye-bye. The strange sounds of the plane didn't bother me, but the ups and downs made my tummy feel upset. We rode in a BIG car!  When I saw the tall buildings, I wondered how the birds fly on top of them."

During the show's taping he said of the audience, "I could see their hearts reaching out to me as if they wanted to pet me."
When Dr. Thomas asked him what he thought of swimming Nymbus responded, "Oh! I can swim anywhere and I wasn't afraid of the cameras, I've seen them before. I liked the attention. Everyone was looking at me like they couldn't believe I could swim, but I showed them I could. They seemed surprised and seemed to admire me. I loved the feelings they were sending me with their hearts. I felt warm and cuddly all over. The visit was over too soon. I'd like to do this more times. I felt like a movie star, like I see on the TV."  (Nymbus favorite TV show is Must Love Cats! Wait until he's himself on TV! )

"I told my brother and sister cats where I was and what I did. They were taken aback by my courage to fly in the air like the birds. They were disappointed that Mommy didn't take all of us. I was proud of myself."

On the plane ride home, Nymbus bumped his eye on the carrier's door. He told Dr. Thomas, "I have an 'owie'". The next day, I noticed that the cornea of his beautiful eye was cloudy. His vet explained, "He has trauma to his cornea but it will slowly heal."
After the quick "long" trip and having the privilege of seeing the tall buildings of New York City, as the Towncar pulled up to our home, our yard looked like an oasis in the desert with it's lush green grass, yellow daffodils and pink hyacinths. There is no place like home!  Meow!

- Nymbus's New York trip:
- A future Tips 'n' Tales will share the Flying With Feline tips we learned on our adventure!
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Pet Tips 'n' Tales Columnist Mary Ellen's swimming cats!

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