Tuesday, February 27, 2018

moving with cats - part 3

We've covered some distance since the last post, having made it from Utah to St. Louis, Missouri, with a two day stopover in Denver to visit some old friends we knew from when we all used to live in Vermont.

I mentioned last time how pleased I am with how the cats are doing. They have really settled into the routines and are doing so well. It's such a huge relief that they are adapting so well. They were afraid at first but as the trip goes on, they are settling in and adapting. Their resilience and ability to adapt is inspiring me - I so want to be that adaptive too.

Oliver, wanting some tummy rubs while underway.

We ran into more snow in Wyoming.

The snow looks prettier on the horizon than on the road. 

Here is what the cage setup in the minivan looks like. The cages are side by side, covered with sheets. The cages in the back have the litter boxes and are accessed through the back door.

A look inside front of Oliver and Pierre's setup.

What it looks like from the back.

I later added a curtain to provide more security, hoping they could get the security without needing to hide in the litter box. It seems to have worked, they go behind the curtain to feel safe and come out to visit when they want. 

The view from the backside of Rose, Theo, and Nahum's cage, which is similar to the other, only the front cage is rotated 90 degrees. I set up the cages thinking of how my friend Nancy, from the Community Cat Coalition, taught me how to setup relocation cages, wanting the cats to be as comfortable as possible in a stressful time.

In Denver, our friends gave us our own bedroom for the two nights we stayed with them. The cats did great, even though they got bored and started getting into things.

Marvin exploring the hallway

Nahum exploring the bathroom. Theo had already jumped up on the cabinet on the left...

and then Theo jumped down into the shower.
Later, Theo explored the closet in our room and somehow got up on the high shelf. He looked so proud of himself.

Theo ready to explore some more.

In our home, Marvin rejects all soft, comfy spots, but in our friend's house, he kept choosing the softest cushy spots! Such a weird cat!

A scale to weigh our cats!

typical Kansas field
We spent a second night in a hotel, this time in Kansas. Once again, we brought in Theo, Nahum, and Marvin. This time they were much less fearful and more curious, checking it out quickly. One of the huge unexpected blessings of this trip is getting to integrate Marvin in with Nahum and Theo. Back at home, we tried and Marvin was so dominate, it never worked. Whenever the cats entered Marvin's space he would get vicious and attack them and he would follow up with spraying on his things. In a hotel room, it's all neutral space and they have been doing great! This gives me lots of hope that when we settle into our new apartment, Marvin will get to be integrated into the general population which will make our lives so much easier.

Marvin has spent most of the trip on one of our laps. I love having a lap kitty for the journey!

Oliver has enjoyed some lap time as well, which has been lovely. I had so much fear about how he would do with the journey and he's been so gracious, patient, and understanding. I so adore that boy.

I've also been very pleasantly surprised by how Pierre is doing. He comes out when we are driving and hangs out in the front corner of his cage that is closest to us. He'll even snooze in this place, which really surprises me. He's trusting us more and more.

Pierre in front with Oliver in back and Nahum being Nahum.
I never tire of seeing Marvin soaking up the loves and sun. This cat is so super chill with riding in the car, makes us think that he's done this before. He's generally pretty unsteady on his feet, so I feared how he would do with a car in motion, but he's done spectacular. He somehow seems more steady in the moving car than at the house.

The journey continues...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

moving with cats - part 2

Packing the car with all the cat stuff and cages took quite a bit longer than I anticipated. The result was leaving Seattle in the afternoon rather than morning as planned. I wanted to make sure the cats had as comfy digs as possible.

Theo, Nahum, and Rose have the crates behind the driver.

I expected Nahum and Theo to be scared and hide in the back, instead they were glued to the window, watching everything.

The weather going over Snoqualmie Pass (out of the Seattle area) was a bit wintery. Grateful we sprung for the AWD.

The cages behind the passenger seat are for Oliver and Pierre. Each grouping of cats have two medium sized wire dog crates that are wire-tied together. Therefore each grouping has their own litter box in the back crate and a living space in the front crate. Marvin has a soft sided crate that is down below at the front. I'll try to get some pictures of the setup for a future post.

Dinner time

The first night, we just slept in the car for a few hours at a rest area in Idaho. Since the cats all have litter boxes, they have everything they need for their comfort and needs. They even have heating pads in their spaces in case it gets too cold.

Marvin loved having lap time in the sun! He's so chill about new spaces and experiences.

I've never seen Marvin this relaxed!

The first day, Theo talked and talked, but on the second day he just chill. We used some oral sedative on Theo and Oliver to help them relax.  Nahum's super chill from the start.

Friday night, the weather was not looking so good in the Utah mountains, so we splurged on a pet-friendly hotel room. Nahum, Theo, and Marvs get to enjoy the hotel.

Meanwhile Oliver, Pierre, and Rose are staying in their crates in the van. 

With the other boys in the hotel, I let Oliver explore the a van a bit.

Oliver exploring Marvin's soft-sided crate in the van.

Pierre has done great. He even came up to the front of his crate and parked and talked with us. He only talks when he's relaxed and feeling good. I love his unique voice. Rose on the other hand has not been enjoying this adventure. She's spent most of the journey hunkered between her litter box and the side of the crate. Poor thing! With the boys inside the hotel, she's got the space to herself and thus more opportunity to eat and relax with no car movement nor humans around.

For the last many months, I worried a ton about how the cats would do on the road trip. I've been very pleased with how they are doing. With the exception of Rose (who always hates change) it's going quite well.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

moving with cats - part 1

We are moving. We are actually moving. This is happening. For so long, I had to keep reminding myself of this. And then suddenly, everything began happening so fast, it was all I could do to keep up. And now it's all over - the house is no longer ours.

Packing, packing, packing...

The cats have been stressed with all the chaos and stuff everywhere.

Nahum and Theo enjoy a cuddle to mitigate the stress.


I had to trap Pierre to take him to the vet for his vaccinations - but he would not go into the trap! I finally had to resort to using Oliver as his bait. He always wants to be plastered to his papa, so I placed Oliver in a carrier and put the trap in front of it, that way if Pierre wanted to get close to Oliver, he had to go through the trap. It worked! At the vet, I had them trim his nails (first time ever). I figured he'll be indoor cat now, he should have trimmed claws like the rest of the cats. He checked out to be in good health.

In preparation for driving our six cats from Washington State to Vermont, we had to get a bigger vehicle for the job. We wanted something with enough space and something AWD for any snow we might encounter along the way. We settled for this Toyota Sienna minivan. 

I took out the back seats and built a platform out of scrap wood. Cats will go in crates on top, our stuff and cat stuff will go on the bottom.

On moving day, I moved Pierre and Oliver to a large wire cage in the basement. That way they would be subject to less traffic and chaos.

Making time for loving on my Oliver! He's such a love!

Pierre is not impressed.

We are letting ABF U-Pack do the hauling of our stuff. They drop off a trailer, we load it and only pay for the space we use, then they haul it to Vermont for us.

We did the loading of the trailer in two stages. A small army of friends showed up to help load on the first day and sadly the skies opened up and it poured and poured rain. Our stuff and our friends all got soaked. It was quite an overwhelming and thoroughly exhausting experience. Later that night the rain turned to snow.

The second day, it was dry, sunny, and cold. A couple friends came over and we organized the trailer so everything fit better and then loaded in the remainder. 

It's so strange seeing our house empty.

We have been staying at our friend Lisa's house for the last few days while we were packing up our house. 

Rose is in the wire crate. She hates being handled by humans and is impossible to catch, so we thought we better leave her contained. She's not very thrilled with being in prison. 

Theo attends to me after I passed out from moving exhaustion.

This is where Marvin, Oliver, and Pierre are hanging out. Marvin is in the far cage with the blue cover. Oliver and Pierre gets the larger crate covered in green.

Marvs doesn't care for being in jail

Oliver's been scared, he cried a bunch in the night, so I got up and gave him some reassurance. It's amazes me how calming my presence is for him. Even though he's in an unfamiliar location, he comes out of his cage and melts into my lap. I so adore my Oliver, I'm so grateful he showed up in my yard!

I wasn't sure what to do about Nora. She only comes every few days to eat and she must sleep somewhere a block or so south of the house. She remains very feral and I'm not even sure Oliver and Pierre remain friends with her. I got word that the people who bought our house have agreed to continue feeding Nora! Yah!! This makes me so happy. 

The morning of our big move, we signed a 6-month lease for a small apartment in New Hampshire (just across the river from where we want to be in Vermont). We found a landlord who loves cats and wasn't afraid to rent to us with our six. We drove by the place when we were in that area last, but we've never seen it in-person. The pictures and video make it look small, but even so, it is a HUGE relief to have found a place we can land for a time while we shop for our perfect home.

We will be leaving soon. The plan is to load up the van with everyone and hit the road Thursday morning!