More cat tales

Our four cats have spent a month confined to two pens after we moved to our new house. We had been advised to keep them inside for up to two months, and Leah’s cousin had given the encouraging opinion that once they were let out, they would disappear forever. But we couldn’t keep all four cats plus five litter boxes inside, and we couldn’t keep them confined to eight-by-eight pens forever. So on Wednesday morning, Leah let Chloe and Dusty out of their pens. And then we went into town to have our usual Wednesday huevos rancheros. We had done a test release Tuesday, and that went well enough. They stayed around, and Leah managed to catch them after a while and put them back into their pen.

On Wednesday, however, they were both gone when Leah got home from lunch. She called and called, but they didn’t show up. She went outside every half hour to check whether they had returned. Just before dark we got a text from the people who bought our old house, along with a photo of Dusty standing on the deck looking through the sliding glass door into their living room. A few minutes later she texted that she had seen Chloe, too.

We rounded up the carriers and some food and drove back to our old house. Chloe met us in the driveway and soon after Dusty came down, too.

Leah put out some food for Dusty and was able to grab him and put him into one of the carriers. Chloe played hard to get. Once she came close enough for Leah to touch her, but before Leah could put down the food tray she was holding, Chloe ran away. Chloe played tag until it was too dark to see, so we had to go back home with only one cat.

Leah was devastated, and, to tell the truth, I was worried. I thought it was the worst thing that could happen, short of having one of them run over. They had found their way back to what they thought of as their home, so why would they come back to the new house? We went to bed thinking we would try to get Chloe Thursday morning, but I was afraid that even if we did, she would go back to the old house, and keep on going back.

So, we woke up Thursday morning – or at least I woke up. Leah was already awake, having spent most of the night worrying. She went into the garage on the way to feed the other cats, and there was Chloe in the driveway, hungry and thirsty.

Chloe and Dusty have been outside all day. It’s getting dark as I write this, and Leah is outside feeding them again.

I think maybe both of them finally figured out what we hoped they would, that the new house is home. Leah hopes they don’t start going back and forth because there’s too much traffic.

Next up, Smokey and Sylvester get their turns.

Almost a month in

We’re still here, as confused as ever. Tuesday night will be four weeks since we moved into our new house. We still don’t have a kitchen, which is every bit as inconvenient as you might imagine. We have four doors, including on the bathrooms. We have no baseboards and no trim on the windows. The yard is bare dirt. This is probably the first time I have thought it just as well to be in a drought; dirt is easier to handle than mud, especially on a dog’s foot. We finally have some rods in our closet so we can take our clothes out of our trailer and hand them up.

We are less than satisfied by some of the work the subs did on the house. The painter was absolutely terrible. He used a sprayer to prime and got overspray all over the hardwood and tile floors and windows. There are globs of trash on the walls that I certainly would have wiped off before calling the job done. The electrician is a nice guy, but we keep having to call him back to fix problems. Some of the work on the deck is also not very professional.

But every night we can look at the twinkling lights of town and see the stars, if they’re out, and every morning we can watch the sun rise, right from our bed. And this was the view Sunday night from our porch.


This is where the cats have been spending their time.


Leah and I were both surprised at how well the cats handled the move, and we remain surprised at how well they’re handling their incarceration. Chloe and Dusty are in the pen on the right, and Smokey and Sylvester are on the left. Leah has brought Sylvester, Smokey and Chloe inside separately a few times. Sylvester seems OK and Smokey somewhat less so. Chloe wanders around like a little lost cat and seems to want to go back out to the familiarity of her pen. We opened the door to her pen Sunday morning but she just stared. Dusty didn’t even respond.

It came as no surprised when we noticed a few days ago that someone had stolen the “Slow Cat Crossing” sign we put up near our new mailbox. I guess we’ll order a new one once the cats get parole. I may move our game camera to get a good view of the sign. Maybe we can identify whoever steals it the next time.

There was a happy note a few days ago. I was walking the dogs down Fouche Gap Road and thought I heard a cat. I listened and wasn’t able to convince myself that it was a cat. I thought it might have been a weird call from a bird I wasn’t familiar with. The next day I heard it and eventually saw where it came from. It was a small kitten that had been dumped and was hiding in a hollow in a tree trunk. It came right out and up to me and the dogs. On the way back up, it came out again and followed us to the house where the people who bought from us had been renting. Some workers were repairing various things and they saw the cat. A few hours later Leah and I came back down the mountain on the way to dinner and stopped to leave food and water. One of the workers had given the kitten a piece of ham from his sandwich so it was staying in the back yard.


The kitten is smaller than it looks here.

The worker ended up taking the kitten home. He told us the next day it had slept on his bed with him that night. It’s too good to be true. Not every animal story has that good an ending.


My father would be 99 years old today. It’s hard to comprehend. That’s the kind of span of time that seems appropriate for a history book but not for a personal experience.
I wanted to say a lot more about this anniversary, and maybe I will later, but that’s going to have to be all for now. Leah and I closed the sale of our old house last Wednesday and moved into an unfinished house – no doors, no trim, no kitchen. We worked to move out last Tuesday until the sun was nearly up, and we have been so busy since that I am exhausted. Almost all we own is still packed in boxes around the house and in the garage. I have not found the box we use for internet connectivity, so I am typing this on my iPad at our local IHOP. Once things settle down a little I will be back with more.

Chloe eyes sly

As we have mentioned, over and over again, Sylvester and Smokey make life hard for Chloe and Dusty. Often it’s just intimidation. Sometimes their very presence is enough. Friday evening we let Smokey, Sylvester and Chloe in for feeding. Chloe is not particularly comfortable with that.


Notice Sylvester’s tail — it’s pretty much upright now.


Scary good

We had the appraisal of our current house on Wednesday. The appraiser had said she was coming around lunch, so we worried about not being able to get our traditional Wednesday huevos rancheros, but we managed to fit it in before she arrived. That’s a major step in the process of selling. We, of course, have no idea how she will evaluate the house. We have certainly spent enough time and effort to make it as good as possible.

With that step out of the way, the closing date of July 21 looms.

The painter says he will complete his work by this weekend. He has a regular, full-time job as a painter and is doing our work when he can, which has caused the process to drag out longer than I had hoped. The plumber installed the toilets on Wednesday and is coming back Thursday to plumb the vanity in the guest bathroom, assuming I can get holes drilled in the back so it can be pushed up into place. I’ll need help unloading the master bath vanity, which currently sits on my trailer in the garage. The electrician needs to install the exterior lights and hang the ceiling fans in the living room and master bedroom, as well as the vanity lights in the two bathrooms.

When the vanity is unloaded, I can pick up the 12 interior doors that have been waiting at the building supply store and start hanging them. Leah and I have to decide on how tall to make the baseboards. I bought a six-inch and an eight-inch board Wednesday night so we can compare them. After putting them down in the living room, I lean towards the six-inch, although several sites I read recommend eight inches for a nine-foot ceiling. After we decide and I buy a fortune in pre-primed boards, Leah and I have to throw a painting party. And then I install baseboards for a while. And trim the doors and windows.

All of this in the next two weeks. That’s why “scary good.”

Oh, yes, Leah is worried about the cat situation. I have to fit in building two cat pens sometime before we move so that we can acclimatize the cats to their new home and lessen the danger that they will take off into the woods when we move them.

Leah is afraid they will travel up the road to our current house, so we got a sign.