Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Moving with a blind cat: Is packing or moving worse?

Lucy the blind cat in our old house
Lucy in our old house, wondering what in the world is going on.
It's not too surprising that blind cats don't like to move to new houses. The packing process is distressing, as every day brings a new box to walk around, and all of those boxes have new smells that are disorienting and strange. Predictably, as the Portland house became more and more maze-like, with tiny tunnels leading the way from one room to another, the more upset Lucy became. She began to move in slow circles, trying to find the edges of things she might run into, and she sometimes vocalized late at night, calling out for another cat to help her find her way.

When she first moved into the Portland house, she remained quite confident throughout the entire process, and I began to wonder if this move would be harder because Lucy is simply older. Where little kittens are flexible creatures that easily transition from one environment to the next, older cats tend to become fixed and set in their ways, and they can be quite upset at the mere idea of change. I was worried we'd have a bad move on our hands.

Turns out, Lucy was intimidated by the packing, but once we got here, all of her fears seemed to resolve. Within 24 hours, she had the entire house mapped out in her mind, and she could quickly fly from one room to another. If she ran into an unpacked box along the way, she simply shook off the bump and kept moving. No circling and no mewling took place, and she ate like a horse.

I'm no expert, but I wonder if she's just sensitive to the emotions her humans were exuding. I find packing to be incredibly stressful, and I hate putting precious items away and thinking they might not make the trip in one piece. I hate cleaning up after packing. I hate having boxes stacked to the ceiling. This move was particularly distressing due to the sheer amount of stuff we had to pack. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry and walk in circles, too. However, I love to unpack, and this house is a particularly fun project to work on. I like to find new homes for things, and I like to uncover all of those objects and find that they made it in one piece. Once we got here, I was instantly happier. Perhaps Lucy was just providing me with a mirror for my own emotions, and I wasn't aware enough to see it.

I'm happy to report that we're both quite settled in Salem now, and we both seem to be doing well in our new environment. Here's hoping we have no more moves in our futures!