Cats are extremely territory-oriented so, before we moved, I read everything I could find to help make it easier for Muffy. To help you understand how important their territory is to cats—
one of the books I read said that it would actually be easier on some cats to stay at the house with new people than to move to a new house!
Well, Muff moved with the rest of us. The first night she had had time to get used to our bedroom—a little bit—but not the rest of the house. We were all exhausted when we finally settled down for the night. Then it started. We have a bookcase headboard and Muff would jump on the bed and up to the headboard. Then she’d get up inside it and purr—and it would echo! Then she would jump back onto the bed and down, but each time that she left the room she would start screaming because she was lost (She’s part Siamese and has a voice you don’t ignore for long.). I would get up and say “here I am”—she would trot back into the room (and start echoing!) and we would try to go to sleep again. This went on—and on—and on until early morning.
That is when, in a very lady-like fashion, she sat on a box—which caused one of Glenn’s packed sound-effects toys to go off. Bombs were exploding everywhere! She continued to sit there, as if nothing were happening. Glenn finally got her off the box so that he could find the toy and stop the noise—only to find that it wasn’t the box that it was in! Sitting on the top box of a pile had shifted things just enough to affect a box underneath. Several more bombs went off before he found the right box in the dark.
Finally all was quiet again—and we tried to sleep (this was the night that the clocks changed, so our agony was an hour longer!). Glenn slept until SOMETHING began crawling around under the covers—and it was finally time to get up!
The point of my story is that moving is difficult for cats (and their people). There are things you can do to make the difficult time easier but mostly they need plenty of reassurance and lots of patience (LOTS!). It occurred to me that there are times when we have our whole lives shifted and we are off balance, too. And we need the same things that cats do (well, some of the same things). Reassurance and patience from those around us gives us time and the courage to explore the new territory we find ourselves in and begin to function normally in it
PS: Muffy is doing much better now—and some day I may catch up on my sleep!
©Micki Parkinson, an editorial from the SPEP church newsletter