Moving House With A Cat


Fidy Says
26th September 2013

Moving House With A Cat

posted in Cat Stories |

Moving house with a cat can be tricky enough at the best of times, but here we were planning to move house with Leonard, who had spent the majority of his adult life (according to the vet about 10 years) living rough, had been with us less than 12 months, and still spent his nights outdoors, albeit with access to our outhouse.

The move itself was a nightmare, which I won’t go into here, suffice to say it ran into 2 days. The first day the removal men emptied our old house and Leonard just took himself off to a quiet corner and went to sleep.

He emerged several hours later, and although the original plan had been to take him to the new house that night, circumstances were such that we decided to leave him outside, where he was used to, for one more night, while we went to the new house for a well earned rest.

When we returned bright and early the following morning he was waiting for us. We popped him into his basket and set off on the 10 mile journey to the new house.

We had already earmarked a walk-in pantry as Leonard’s new quarters and I was mightily relieved to get him there without mishap. I closed the door firmly knowing he was safe and secure with food, water, a bed and a litter tray (he’d always ‘spent a penny’ outdoors in the past, so I didn’t even know he’d use it) so now I could concentrate on other things.

The ‘other things’ took rather longer than expected and it wasn’t until lunchtime that we were able to check on him. He was cowered in a corner behind a tool box with his face to the wall. Not even the offer of a ‘Dreamie’ or two would entice him out.

The situation wasn’t helped by various workmen coming and going, making noises he wasn’t used to, so we decided just to leave him be until everyone had gone and the place was quiet.

He seemed to know when this happened and was soon tempted out by some ‘Dreamies’ and other food, he hadn’t actually eaten, or anything else for that matter, all day.

At first he was very wary and skulked around, close to the ground, always checking that he knew the root back to his pantry. Gradually he settled down and we managed to watch some TV, sat together on the sofa, just like at the old house.

I have long believed that cats have a ‘virtual’ ball of string in their heads that helps them in these situations. One end is ‘tied’ to a place they feel safe, in this case the pantry, and the other they take with them so they can always find their way back to safety. Stretch the string too far and it breaks, that’s when the trouble can start.

This ‘ball of string’ was in evidence over the next few days. It’s a big house, even I got lost a few times in the beginning, you could almost see the concentration on Leonard’s face as he gradually wandered further afield, extending his ball of string as he went, further and further each day whilst trying to remember how each different room connected to the next one.

In fact he coped remarkably well after his shaky start and soon he was following me from room to room as I tried to unpack bits and pieces, up and down stairs carrying boxes, but he always ran back to his pantry if some strange noise alarmed him.

It seems to me the key thing is to give your cat somewhere he feels safe and allow him to find his way round in his own time, don’t rush him. Now all I have to do is apply this same principle to outside.

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