Have You Ever Felt Guilty About the Effect Your Move Has on Your Cat?
It was cold, it was expensive, it had no walls and our landlord was selling it. I knew moving out of our rented loft would make me and my husband happy -- but I just knew Ghost Cat would be homesick. My little urban kitty loved that place.
When I’d brought Ghost Cat home to that chilly, concrete apartment, she was 11 months old, and I’d promised her that her shelter days were over. I told her she was now in her forever home. I even considered buying the apartment so that we’d never have to move again (only briefly, and before realizing how high it was priced).
Maybe that’s why I felt so guilty prying Ghost Cat out of the loft. I swear, from the moment I told her we were moving she started getting stressed. Perhaps these last couple sentences say more about me than they do about Ghost Cat, but I maintain that Ghosty took to that spiritless, sterile loft like it was her natural habitat.
From day one she just seemed to love the openness of the space. We had hardly any furniture in there, and while it wasn’t great for seating guests, Ghost Cat saw the expanse of empty floor as freedom to run, jump, climb and practice feline parkour all over the place.
Aside from the expanse of empty floor, I think views and vantage points had a lot to do with why Ghost Cat fell in love with the space. There were plenty of places to perch, and she could always be counted on to be keeping watch.
I think Ghost Cat’s very favorite feature of the loft was the one that worried me the most. The upper level didn’t have proper walls, but rather just half walls to prevent you from rolling out of bed one night and falling to your death. Ghost Cat would frequently perch herself on the half wall for a cats-eye view of the household happenings down below. I didn’t mind her sitting up there; but, when she would run, full-tilt, back and forth on the thin ledge, or jump onto it from the bed, my heart would flutter.
That ledge was also the biggest reason why Ghost Cat remained an only cat for our entire tenancy. My husband and I were worried that if we brought another kitty home, the inevitable cat fight could turn deadly real quick if it happened on the ledge.
When Ghost Cat wasn’t sitting on the ledge, she was usually found near the only window in the place. She would bask in the sun, watch the cops arrest people, and play with her toys. It seemed she was happiest when she could keep an eye on the streets she used to live on. Her window activities weren’t limited to people watching, though -- she loved to stretch out and play in the bright sunlight that lit up that section of the apartment.
Ghost Cat also loved the stairs in the loft. From her perch on the backless steps she could lay around but still see the whole lower level. When heavy human feet hit the stairs, the clattering would wake the dead and shake the wall -- but when Ghost Cat ran up or down the metal steps, her tiny paws played an almost musical tune.
When I tied toys to the steps or tossed a bottle cap down with a clang, she’d rise up from whatever step she was blocking and fly into cute kitty action. The staircase was simultaneously her jungle gym and her lounge chair -- but I guess that could really describe the whole apartment.
Aside from taking away her views and vantage points, another reason I feel guilty is because we’ve taken the one thing that Ghost Cat couldn’t stand about the loft and moved into a house full of them.
I’m talking about doors.
With no real bedroom, the only door in the entire loft was the the door to the bathroom, and Ghost Cat seriously could not stand to see that door shut. If you went into the bathroom she’d cry and stick her little paws under the door until I either let her in or she’d grabbed the bath mat. Eventually, I just started letting Ghost Cat come in with me. It was just too much effort to fight it.
When we made the decision to move into a typical suburban house (full of walls and doors), I seriously didn’t know how Ghost Cat was going to cope ... but it seems she is.
I was so afraid that the stress of the move would traumatize or even kill my sensitive little princess, but she’s stronger than I thought. Maybe it’s because she spent a month with us at our friends’ place between leaving the loft and moving into the house, but she’s taking to the new environment better than I thought.
As Ghost Cat adjusts, I am letting go of my guilt, but I’ll never let go of the memories of the first home we shared.
Have you ever felt guilty moving from the place you first brought your cat home to? How did she react? Did she like the new home? Tell us your story in the comments.
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About the author: Heather Marcoux is Ghost Cat’s mom. She is also a wife, writer and former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts GIFs of her cat on Google +.