The Move – the cats

Emma and I had been worrying a bit about moving the cats. In the last month or so, there had been an influx of cats to the complex and the furries had taken to fighting. In particular, there was one critter, by the name of Oros (Em always gets the names of the neighbourhood cats) that had an unbecoming yowl that sounded reminiscent of a baby being dunked in and out of hot water. He drove us all crazy.

Em did some research and pronounced that the cats would be kept in a room in the new house for two weeks before being released into the house, and then, only then, into the garden.

I privately scoffed but made no comment. Could not for the life of me imagine keeping Ralphie incarcerated for a single day, let alone two weeks!

Whilst Ralph and Edge are not big fighters, they do like to supervise and on the odd occasion felt the need to join in. As a result, Ralph’s nose was looking decidedly dodgy and after having a dream (I think it was a dream but he could have been sitting on my chest in the middle of the night beaming thoughts into my brain) where he asked me to take him to the vet to have it looked at, we loaded him into the cat box and complied. The vet wrinkled her own pretty nose and said we’d try cortisone first, but if it did not get better – we’d have to consider a biopsy – it might be cancer. Apparently they treat cats quite effectively these days with radiation. Did you ever! He had a jab and I got some cream to dab on his nose. Was vastly relieved not to get tablets – last time he had to have pills Chris and I damn near lost our fingers.

I asked the vet about moving too. She agreed with Em’s googling, said we should move them last – once everything had been moved, and also offered up the solution of Feliway Classic. A plug-in synthetic pheromone copy which would supposedly make the cats all calm and happy in their room. (When cats feel comfortable in their environment, they rub their cheeks against corners of furniture or your leg, leaving a message, undetectable to us, known as the feline facial pheromone. This “happy marker” provides reassurance to cats.)

I gulped a bit at the price of this – R558. But cheaper than two calming collars which are basically the same thing – plus it would last for a month – which meant we could probably use it for Grey Cat (mom’s cat who would also be relocating to our “commune” early in September). She agreed to order one for us.

The cats were not one bit bothered by all the boxes that slowly accumulated and piled higher and higher in the passageways and rooms.

But then moving day arrived and Ralph skived off, flat-eared, into a cupboard. We put them both into their cat boxes and positioned them nicely in the sun on the balcony. Edge is not a fan of cat boxes. He was like those bug-eyed, wide-toed cartoon cats that required nine hands to stuff him into the box. He mewled pitifully. Ralph looked at him through the bars, a contemptuous sneer on his face. The two cats are not always such good buddies – I was a tad worried about them being stuck in a room together, pheromones or not.

A few minutes later Em shrieked for me to come quickly and check out Ralph’s nose. It had been healing so nicely and I was beyond chuffed that it looked like a biopsy would not be necessary. Ralph had smooshed his almost healed nose against the bars and it was a total bleeding mess. There was not a lot I could so at that stage – apart from put a blob of cortisone on it. All hell was breaking loose in the house and I was needed. Despite the fact his nose was a mess – he was totally chilled. Edge, on the other hand, was still mewling like a baby in his box.

Once we’d emptied out Luan’s room of all his things – we put the cats into that room – and let them out of their boxes. There were a good few hours before we’d be able to take them to the new house and they were becoming anxious looking at all their stuff being driven away (they had a bird’s eye view from the balcony).

Around five o’clock, after a busy day of shuttling to and fro, Em and I moved the cats to the new house. We had earmarked a room in the granny flat – seeing as mom would only be moving in later on. Em plugged in the happy-cat juice and settled them down with some food and their respective baskets.

The first night they slept in their own baskets. The second they swapped over. The third day we found them cuddled up in Ralph’s basket (a huge one he inherited from Fudges). They went from tolerating each other to being best buddies. After the first day we let them out of the room and gave them the run of the granny flat. One day Ralph was missing. Eventually he was located, snoozing in the kitchen sink.

We ended up keeping them in for four days. By then they were fed up and wanted out. Gemma was also badly wanting to make acquaintance with the strange furry critters. She’d been howling at the door for the past two days.

We closed all the windows and doors and let them out into the rest of the house. Ralph stalked (tail up) through each and every single room, sniffing everything. Except Luan’s – because the door was closed. When he’d finished his tour, he landed up outside the closed door, patiently waiting for me to let him in. He checked that out too and then settled on the ottoman by the window in our room. He gazed and gazed at the garden – wide-eyed.

The garden is full of trees and birds and is a veritable cat TV.

Edge was not so happy. He slunk around the place, tail down and scuttled at the sound of nothing. It took him a good few hours to get his mojo back and feel vaguely comfortable. Not that I think Ralph was exactly comfortable. I don’t think he closed his eyes for the next two days. He found himself a spot on the bar, out of reach, where he could monitor all the comings and goings. He was not an instant Gemma fan either. Don’t think he could understand that you even got dogs smaller than him.

Edge on the other hand, was not bothered with Gemma. Not long after being let out, I heard Gemma shrieking down the passage way – ears flying, and surmised the Edge had showed her who was boss. Not a very hard lesson though, because Gemma can often be found tailing Edge, sniffing his backside and every now and then it looks like she wants to hug him. Probably because he is big and fluffy and ever so soft!

After his initial sacredness, Edge got more adventurous and did a tour of the garden. He found himself a nice patch of red dust and has rolled in it twice a day ever since. It took Ralph a few days to do the same.

It will be two weeks tomorrow – all three furries are now on good terms with each other and happily co-exist. Ralph likes to tease Gemma by blocking her way in the passage and eating her food. He also installs himself in spots that she considers hers. Once he walked on her whilst she was burrowed under her duvet. Her anguished howl shifted him chop-chop. I have no clue if he did it on purpose or if he was considering stealing her baskie.

Edge sleeps with Em and Charl in the flatlet. Ralph hogs large portions of our bed – as he did before.

Just when I was on the verge of taking Ralph back to the vet for his nose – he kept smooshing it against stuff – it started healing up again. It’s still a bit of a mess, but looks at lot better than it did before. I’m keeping an eye on it though.

Thankfully – it seems as though our cats have settled down to their new house as well as the humans have.

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