Seven year old Nacho; adopted from the Kingston Humane Society on January 2, 2010.
Six year old Mocha; adopted from the same humane society on September 11, 2010.
Up until recently, they’d only known one home and their lives were calm, predictable and uneventful.
That changed last Friday.
When it was time to start loading up the truck, I locked them up in a room along with cushions to lie on, food and water bowls, and their two litter boxes to keep them safe and secure. The room was very familiar to them, so at most they were annoyed. They complained incessantly and attempted to escape every time I visited.
Several hours later, I entered the room carefully, scruffed them, placed them in their carriers and took them out to the car. They were both settled in the front seat, side by side facing me, and off we went. For the next two hours I spoke soothingly and stuck my fingers in the carriers from time to time to pet them. Mocha complained on and off the entire time, meowing and whining and clawing at the front of the carrier. But Nacho, who is typically very vocal and always howls on car rides, was eerily quiet. This was quite alarming. And in addition to all the complaining and eerie silence, a horrible smell was emitted into the air from one of the two. Or both.
We finally got to the new house and I placed the cats along with all of their necessities in the laundry room. I opened up the carriers to set them free and Mocha jumped out right away. Free at last! But Nacho wouldn’t budge. With some gentle coaxing she finally came out, took a look around with big, round eyes and immediately went back in. I checked both carriers and only Nacho’s was slightly damp. I thought it was a tiny bit of pee at first but later discovered that it was fear based (Click here for explanation.). I left them locked up in that space to go help with our stuff. Not a peep was heard from the room.
On my first visit to the cats, I was shocked because I couldn’t see them. This was crazy because it’s a tiny room without closets or hidden spaces, so unless they had magically vanished, they had to be in there. Turns out that Nacho was hiding in one litter box and Mocha had sandwiched herself between the two litter boxes. It was a heartbreaking sight. They were both frightened but Nacho was utterly terrified. And the room reeked! I’d never smelled this horrid smell before.
Anyhow, when I finally opened up the laundry room door for good, Mocha went into survival mode and bravely exited the room to investigate her surroundings. If she was being hunted, she wasn't going down easy! She walked the perimeter, checked behind doors, went over, behind and around boxes, and basically scanned every nook and cranny. Satisfied that there were no hidden dangers or predators, she happily explored her new home. Her resilience was quite surprising.
But Nacho, oh poor Nacho, was so terrified that she would not come out of the laundry room for the longest time. When she finally did, she tracked down a safe place to hide (we couldn’t find her) and we didn’t see her until the morning. By then, she was feeling a little bit better and that horrid smell had dissipated. She is doing quite well now but she’s still not entirely her old self. I imagine it’ll take some time. As for Mocha, she bounced back immediately, loves her new space and I swear this move has made her more confident.
It was a very stressful period for both of them, but particularly so for Nacho who took it the hardest. Eventually she’ll recover. And thankfully, she’ll never have to worry about this again because this will be our last home!
Have a great day, all!