Monday, March 28, 2011

Moving Cats

I have heard tell that getting some groups to go where you want them to go is like herding cats, which, I suppose, truly is impossible. Moving them comes close to that. When we moved into our new house, the cats were quite unhappy.

Murjan let us know his unhappiness. For two days, he stomped through the house, yowling. He would not let us touch him, and when we got near, he would yowl again. He hissed at Intrepid and Simone whenever they approached, which had very different effects on each of them. Then, finally, he got his revenge. I had opened the window a paw-crack wide so he could have a breath of fresh air. Somehow, he managed to push that big heavy glass plate open wider, wide enough to slip out and jump the twenty feet or more to the ground. Intrepid, not being intrepid at all when it comes to the outdoors, was balancing on the windowsill, wanting to follow his big brother but a bit hesitant, when Donnie walked by, instantly understood what was happening, and swooped Intrepid back into the room, and closed the window. Then, he went looking for Murjan. He did not have far to go. Murjan had found what he was looking for: mud in the back yard from all the rain. He had rolled around in it until his pure white coat was pure grey and was standing at the door to be let back in so he could let us know of his unhappiness at the move.

Intrepid would have moved easily. He is an easy-going cat and quite independent. He had to be. He was found as a tiny kitten, looking more like a bird than a kitten, after his mother had apparently died. We don't know if there were other kittens and, if so, what happened to them, but Intrepid is a survivor. He approached the inhabitant of a near-by house, and sitting in the grass outside the door, squawled until someone (a professor at the university in Jordan where I was dean) picked him up, and gave him something to eat. The professor had no idea what to do with a cat, so he brought him to me, and I could hear Intrepid meowing hungrily all the way up to our third-floor flat. Murjan, the alpha cat, raised him. So, when Murjan, after the move, started hissing at him, Intrepid was not about to be intimidated. He kept trotting after him, tapping him lightly when he was ignored, and sitting beside him, which prompted Murjan to hiss and move away and start the whole routine over again. Ultimately, Intrepid won out, and we found Murjan cleaning him as so often in the past. How Murjan got clean, we don't know, but it did happen.

Poor Simone, however, was completely traumatized by Murjan's hissing. Herself a rescued feral cat, she has just very recently, after two years, stopped hissing when someone picks her up. She returned to her old defensive habits and spend entire days hidden under the sofa. Once Murjan returned to his old self, however, she timidly moved out from the sofa and started exploring the rest of the house.

The cats seem to like the new house now. We have also purchased cat-proof screening and Donnie is in the process of rescreening all the windows. Sheesh! Had we known it was so important to the cats, we might have asked their permission (or at least opinion) before buying the house!

All's well that ends well. Our grandson likes the house. At least, he likes the lemon tree. That's something!


  1. Sounds like you had more trouble with the cats than with the move and that doesn't surprise me. I've had experiences with moving cats too. You described it very well and made me laugh although I could see the unhappy side of it too and because you can't tell them what's happening, they have to draw their own conclusions, don't they.
    I nearly had to leave a cat behind at one address because she went AWOL just before we moved. I went next door and gave the neighbour some money to feed her for a week, saying I would come back and collect her after a few days in the hope she would come to me. Just before leaving, when the van was pulling out of the street, I saw her on the bank of the river behind the house. I had to get out of the car, cross the little river and catch her, then put her in the car. My it was stressful.
    I hope your cats soon settle in.
    Do pop over to my Blog where there is an invitation to writers to do a guest post for me. I would like it very much if you could join in with that?

  2. Cats can be strange at times.

  3. Star, I will definitely come over to your blog -- still trying to play catch-up. Glad you got your cat back.

    JT -- thay can be, indeed.

    All: Cats have now settled in, thank God. They like their new home even better than their old one. They are like some people, I guess. Just don't want change, even if it is good for them.


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