“Home was truly the best place he could possibly be, but, alas, was not an available option.” ~ Kenneth Eade
Hello, and welcome back. When this morning began I had a passing thought about the possibility of a brief Facebook post sometime this afternoon. Probably just a few words to work out how I felt the moment we dropped our cats off where they were being boarded. I imagined something short and utilitarian. I quickly discovered that I was wrong, very, very wrong. Let me say upfront that I was not even remotely emotionally prepared for this day in any way at all, whatsoever. To that end, I am just now realizing that this travelogue/ adventure blog has a few more parts than I originally imagined it might have . . .this particular part, is about cats or rather the directly proportional relationship between my cats and my emotional stability.
Thursday morning, 7:50 am our intent was to collect Steve and Mortimer and load them into their carriers. As has always been the case, Steve was having none of it. For days now he had been prowling the steadily emptying rooms of the only home he has ever known. While Mortimer was super excited to reclaim all of the mouse and ball toys he had carelessly batted under the sideboard and the sofa, and the dry sink, and the trunk . . . you get the idea, Steve’s uneasiness just grew. I think his anxiety rose steadily in relation to my own. This morning was to launch that anxiety to a fever pitch.
As we closed the doors of every echoing room, in an effort to ease the roundup, Steve began slinking low through the shrinking space. His tiny tiger body emulating a bobcat or coyote when it catches the telltale scent of man on the wind. The pursuit was on. Should you need this information in the future, I can tell you with a remarkable certainty that slowing and quietly trying to manufacture a calming presence in order to corner an animal who wishes nothing more than not to be cornered, is a fool’s errand.
All this while Mortimer moved in and out of each scene fretting over Steve then rubbing on our legs trying to elicit snuggles for himself. Steve darted expertly through his territory but after several attempts to hold that critter down, Cody finally had him in a dead-end hallway with little room to maneuver. The scene was reminiscent of Wyatt Earp and Ike Clanton at the OK Corral. Without any way out but through, our sweet little buddy had gone feral. There was full on hissing and Halloween cartoon level spine raising and a very real likelihood that Cody was going to get bit. In a moment, a brave super quick dive by Cody (not unlike the steady hand of Earp) took advantage of the artificial canyon that is our upstairs hallway, and Steve was captured . . . and miserable. We were all pretty miserable, except Mortimer who is generally the furry living embodiment of insouciance.
We turned our sights on the last of the heard and found, with great relief, that we would not again be facing a showdown. Mortimer came right to us and I picked him up without incident. He was reluctant to enter his own carrier but is such a spaz that we just held up his back end and he slid right into the box. Now he was unhappy too and we were all in this together. After placing calming collars on both cats I found myself seriously pissed off that calming collars are not accompanied package by extra-large versions for the human overlords who have to trap and bag these nervous wild animals. With two cats in two carriers there was a lot of crying . . .both inside and outside the cages.
When we arrived at our destination we stood at the counter and reiterated our instructions to the bright and happy young woman at the counter. Through all of it I noticed her gorgeous bouncy black curls and impossibly large smile. She was giving us all the joy and light she could project. While I appreciated her optimism and encouragement I also wanted her to shut up. I wanted this all over. I wanted to get these babies into their temporary home. I wanted to believe that after a few hours they would be happy and content together in a new space for a short time.
Steve and Mortimer are as of this writing tucked safely away in the kitty hotel for the next month. Their acclimation is anyone’s guess. We hope that it is smooth. Our acclimation however, to a house without cats, is so very much harder than we thought it would be. Cody and I don’t know yet where we belong. As we launch into our journey of discovery, both of place and self, if we were uncertain before we know with a visceral surety now that our space, our life, the world that we build is off balance and empty without these furry reminders of how we feel when we are whole.
Thanks again for stopping by. We’ll talk soon.