Road Trip from France to Hungary with Elvis the Cat

Elvis lives in hungary
Elvis lives in Budapest
cat memories
Daniel & Elvis Capestang

What in the world were we thinking?!

The car was packed and we were in front of the notary to sign the last papers and hand over the keys to the new owner, when all hell breaks loose in our new VW Sharan parked out front.

france to hungary with cat
Elvis looks innocent enough here right before all the chaos, cat travels from France to Hungary

We had two crying kids and a howling cat who was not quite sedated enough to make the situation easier! Elvis’s eyes wide were telling me, ‘WHAT THE F%&K ARE YOU DOING TO ME!!??’ He clawed and scratched at his cage until he lost a nail, and blood spewed all over the car and cage. That set the kids off too and they were so sad to see Elvis in this very upset state, that all the three of them were whimpering in unison as we rolled out of Capestang in a not so graceful exit. Stress was high and the scene chaotic!

WHAT WAS I THINKING? I never once thought of myself as some kind an animal whisperer, am I really that person travelling with her cat?

But, I love my children, and would cut off my own arm for them, so when they asked if Elvis could come, of course I said yes. He is part of our family, and life without him would be unfair to the children.

After Elvis managed to open the clasp of his cage while we were just leaving Capestang, we explained to the kids, If he escapes, he is gone forever, keep that door closed’.  They made it their job to make sure every door and window was properly closed in case of an accident, they secured him to his seat, and they sang and talked softly to him trying to comfort him.

Daniel said, ‘Poor Elvis he will never see his friends again.’ I asked him if that was his fear and the water works began, triggering my sweet boy started to cry uncontrollably for the first time since we started to unravel our life in Capestang to restart anew in Hungary. I knew they would come for each of us in turn, and this was Daniel’s time.

The cage probably wasn’t secure when we left. Angelina was cool as a cucumber putting the door back on. I imagined the cat flipping out, scratching us while Alfonz was driving like a scene from a funny Garfield cartoon and we would all end up in the ditch as Elvis escaped through the vineyards heading towards the hills! It wouldn’t have surprised me at all ending up in newspaper headlines reading, False Start for the Hamori Family, Waiting for Car Repairs. 

Elvis howled and cried all the way to Italy, even long after his meds kicked in. Got to give it to him, his determination was remarkable. I would have succumbed to my fate and fallen asleep in my cage around the first bend, but five hours later he was still yelling at us, proclaiming his injustice, talking to us the entire way, although his sounds got quieter and quieter. The good news was we were so preoccupied with the crazy medicated cat that the five hour car ride flew by at lightning speeds. There is always an upside.


Upon arrival to Sanremo, Angelina and I placed the cat in the bathroom let him out to use the litter box and gave him water and food. He didn’t have complete control of his functions yet, and we watched him try to jump on the toilet and the bathtub, but his hind legs were immobile pulling himself up with his front legs. It was funny, as we caught him before harming himself we cuddled him to stop him from crying. I didn’t even recognise my own cat; his eyes wouldn’t focus, he looked disheveled, and he even smelled different like a boyfriend that tied one on the night before; bad breath, and all sweaty. Poor kitty-kitty.

The plan was to go out to some amazing pizza joint Alfonz found online for dinner and leave the cat in the bathroom, however Angelina and I wouldn’t have it. We took pity on the poor cat and stayed with him as the boys went foraging for food. They came back with pizzas and beer, and we ate on the terrace of the L’hôtel des Anglais.

Funny thing, our neighbours were out on their balcony as well, stark naked! Daniel and I noticed them first and diverted our eyes quickly enough for them to make a graceful exit without much embarrassment. But what were they thinking? My eyes were shocked to see a giant stomach big enough to cover his privates and two giant white breasts on what I thought were two over 55 American tourists trying to find a cool breeze in the above 30 degree room. Alfonz again missed it all! Daniel and talked about it until bedtime… The question really is why are nudists never beautiful? or is it just my luck?

When we booked we got the last available room, the largest suite in the entire hotel with a beautiful view of the sea below. It was magnificent. We gave the boys the bedroom to make sure they slept through the night, especially Alfonz who had a long drive ahead, but Daniel too as he is far more sensitive than the rest of us, and doesn’t handle change overly well.

Angelina and I took turns holding Elvis through the night, through his very bad (drug) trip, and again it reminded me of an old boyfriend that helped me when I got drunk for the very first time on Sambuca… another story another time. Eventually, somewhere around 3:00 am I fell asleep, and woke up at 7:00 to find Angelina curled up on the floor of the bathroom with Elvis in her arms. Such a good mamma! I was very proud of my littlest little. 

expats on route with cat France to Hungary
Angelina sleeps in bathroom with drugged cat to keep him safe

In the morning Elvis seemed perfectly fine, no more hangover, he was back to normal. I was sad that I had to put him through it all again, as obviously the meds were a little too strong for him.

Alfonz got the pill down his throat at 7:00 am for the 12 hours to Budapest. He willingly succumbed to his fate, and our drug induced docile cat this time curled up in little ball in the back of his cage, and surprisingly was very well behaved for the entire day! Perhaps we broke him, sometimes I checked for life making sure he was still breathing but he happily sat in the car. He may need NA meetings in Hungary, but he made it to Hungary without any further drama. Thankfully Angelina and I slept a little in the car too.

The best advice was to place a large blanket over the entire cage so the cat could not see out. When they see the cars whiz by it is enough to make them crazy even car sick. Made the biggest difference on day two. I honestly thought he would break his leg trying to get out of the kennel the first day.

Seeing Elvis, Angelina and Daniel in Budapest together on their beds, everyone agrees that the two days of discomfort was all very much worth it to have Elvis with us in our Walnut apartment in Budapest Hungary to start our new expat life.

Elvis, Hamori cat moves to Budapest
Elvis now lives in Hungary



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