When I got up before 6:00am on the day of the big move (last Saturday), the cats knew something was up and began alternating their time between slinking around and hiding. When Dad–who they both normally love–showed up an hour later, they hid and wouldn’t come out. It took about twenty minutes of running around for me to capture Benny* so that I could put him and Ella in the laundry room with their litter box and water and soft beds, so they’d be safe and out of the way while the moving was going on. The cats did not care a whit about my efforts to make them comfortable, and they spent the entire day lying on the cement floor instead of the beds they would have been sleeping on had it been any other day. Just to teach me a lesson, I guess.
By the time the moving was over and I went back to the house to pick them up, they were too undone to fight me about the carriers.
I decided to confine them to one room for a while in the new place. When I opened Benny’s carrier, he got out and started pacing and pacing around the room, which is pretty much what he continued to do for the next two days. When I opened Ella’s carrier, she refused to get out. When she did get out a half-hour later, it was only so she could go hide under a chair cushion, which is where she stayed for the next four hours.
Finally she got out and explored the room. A few hours after that, I opened the door and let the cats explore the rest of the apartment.
Benny paced. Ella explored.
After a couple hours, Benny was still pacing, but Ella had decided that this new place belonged entirely to her and that, despite my shortcomings, I was still a reliable source of heat, and she came and sat with me on the new couch.
The cats are both pretty well adjusted now. Benny has started sleeping again, which is nice, and Ella has a whole new set of favorite places to while away her day.
I didn’t anticipate this, but even though the closing isn’t until Monday, the moment I took the cats out of the house, it ceased to be mine. I’ve been there a few times since then, and it seems like something foreign. As the cats settled into this new place, so did I. It’s a mess of boxes and papers and disorganization here, but I feel like it’s where I belong.
I have my moments of disorientation, though, amid all this change. Sometimes I feel scared. Sometimes, like Benny, I pace.
But my friends and family have all been with me, visiting and helping and bringing me food and texting and sending things in the mail.
Thank you, friends. Thank you, family.
This isn’t an end quite yet, but it’s a big step in the right direction.
[*I think it's worth noting that it took me less than twenty minutes to capture the chipmunk who invaded HPL this summer. My Benny isn't as foolish as he sometimes appears.]