I recently moved from San Francisco to New York in order to accept a new job. As the usual situation goes, I had to be out of my San Francisco apartment July 31st and the first day I could move into my new New York apartment was August 1st, so, fear and trepidation aside (of the security checkpoint, not actually being in the air) I booked my ticket.

Oh, one thing of note: I have a cat who is moving with me. Of course, I had to pay extra money to take her on board with me and put her in a tiny cage that was too small for her to stand up it. I mean, that's all expected. But the fear and trepidation comes from the possibility of having to take an confined creature with lots of sharp claws out in a stressful situation. In the pre-September 11 days (remember those days? when flying was only slightly more painful than chewing on broken glass? oh, for those days!), I moved the other way via plane, and barely talked my way out of having to take her out of her cage.

But we live in a world where we gotta fear Osama bin Laden -- even if he is dead -- and force small cats out of their cages. I got to the security check point and asked, "Do I have to take her out of the cage?"

"Yes," said the security woman, "Unless you think she'll get out of control."

Uh. She's a cat in a cage in a place with lots of strangers. Of course she'll get out of control. I don't remember how I paraphrased that, but that was the jist of my reply.

"There are alternatives if you think she might escape," she said.

"What are the alternatives?" I asked.

She invited her supervisor over and the supervisor said, "You have to take her out of the cage and take her through the metal detector and put her cage through the xray." So much for the alternatives.

I take my cat out of the cage and she of course immediately sinks her claws into my flesh and struggles for freedom. I manage to slide the cage into the xray machine and walk through the metal detector and wait for the cage to to come out the other side, all while trying to prevent the small beast from turning me into a scratching post. It was then that things got bad.

A security guard asks me for my ID and boarding pass. Of course I showed them this on the other side -- maybe they thought my cat-induced self- mutilation was some sort of distraction? So now I'm balancing on one leg trying to clutch the increasingly agitated cat to my chest as I dig out my ID.

The supervisor says to him, "Let him put the cat back in the cage."

"No," he says, "I need to see it now."

They start arguing as the cat continues to struggle. By this time, I can feel the blood flowing down my chest and I can barely keep control (if so it can be called) of the little feline. I wonder what will happen when she breaks free in a public space? Surely that might be some small security concern. But thankfully, its a passing thought. I'm finally given permission to put the cat back into the bag (brings to mind some old saying) before having to show my ID. At this point, I can't decide who is more traumatized, me or the cat.

Outside of bleeding puncture wounds and even more bitterness than I previously had, I can't say I've taken much away from the experience.