Traveling 250 miles with 6 cats takes a lot of planning, preparation, and patience. Moving day is stressful enough, but add 6 howling cats who go all teeth and claws on you when you try to make them do something, and the stress levels are off the charts.
The first step was to collect enough cat carriers. We had three, bought two more, and borrowed one. Then we had to make sure no one escaped the house before we were ready to hit the road. Anyone who knows cats understands that they are creatures of habit. Four of our cats like to go outside after they have breakfast. Alice, the oldest (who is … was … a boy) usually spent his days outside. Nights, too, sometimes.
Before the movers arrived, we corralled them all into my office. Not surprisingly, Shadow, the bossy little fat cat Burmese, proved the hardest to manage. With no body armor readily available, I was taking a big risk by dragging her out of the closet. An even bigger challenge was opening the office door, throwing her in (no, not literally), and getting the door closed before she could escape again. Over the years, I have become convinced that Shadow could break out of any maximum security facility, so I wasn’t convinced the french doors to my office would contain her. We piled up suitcases, heavy with clothes, in front of the doors, and I was still only cautiously confident she was sufficiently locked in.
But we managed to keep them all in their carpeted, air conditioned prison until it was time to load them up, two in each car and two in the cab of the moving truck. The next task was to get them all into their carriers. We’d staged the carriers in my office, and a couple of the kitties had curled up and gone to sleep inside, but of course, the moment we opened the door, they were all ready to bolt. Somehow we got them all stuffed inside their little jail cells and got them loaded up for transport.
I had Shadow and George, my husband had Bosley and Fuzzy, and Son #2 had Storm and Alice.
We had planned to make no stops on the trip. So, I was surprised when my husband, driving the moving truck, pulled off at the first rest area we came to, about an hour into the trip. It turned out that the air conditioning in the truck wasn’t working, compounding the misery for Bosley and Fuzzy. I was driving my husband’s Ford Ranger and barely had room for the two cat carriers I already had, so Son #2 got the fun of transporting four cats in his Lincoln soccer-mom-mobile.
On arriving at our new house, the process was reversed and only somewhat less harrowing. We parked all the carriers in the master bath and I closed myself in while I opened each one, then managed to sneak out while they were still doing their low, long-necked, “what the heck is going on?” thing.
We waited a couple of weeks before letting them outside. We had so much to do that we didn’t get out much ourselves. After spending our days working, unpacking boxes, finding places for things, and generally living in total disarray, we dropped into bed at night without too much time leftover for relaxing on the deck.
The first evening that we decided to let them explore the backyard, Fuzzy promptly scaled the privacy fence and was gone, disappearing on the other side. At the back of our property is woods, and on the other side of the woods is a fish hatchery, so we knew there would be all manner of interesting sights and smells for them to take in. But everyone came back eventually, even Fuzzy. They seemed to quickly understand there were entry points to the house at both the back and front.
Our six furry family members have adjusted well. They seem happy and they’re not as territorial as they were at the old house. The wide windowsills here are perfect for bird watching. There’s lots of other neighborhood cats that come around to visit. One black kitty wearing a bright green color wants very much to come in and snoop around the house. We call him Black Bart.
Like the rest of us, the kitties have gotten into new routines. And they’ve been quite helpful. One of them recently tested our glass break alarm by knocking a sangria pitcher off the counter in the middle of the night.
Yep, the alarm works.