Saying Goodbye

Today I referred to my home, as where I used to live. It's been a good home. I will help my neighbor to repair his pickup truck - I've found an old Volvo for 400.00 and repaired it to get my family and I to a new place. I will use the pickup truck to more or less complete the bigger elements of the move this week. We've sold off almost everything. An old english armoire. The washer/dryer. The cars. The home. I have moved out of a home I've lived in since the '90s.

I'm going to a place where we'll be closer in-town, a bit farther north. The cats will have to make up their own mind whether or not they will stay. They're used to hunting the woods near my home. They will miss the readily available prey. I will keep them indoors for a while, to let them know where home is located. And then, as all my cats - I will let them become indoor/outdoor animals.

This strategy has backfired only once before. A kitten from one of my first cats grew to a very large and dominant male. And even though we had brought a new kit home, and he let it play in our home alongside him - when the kitten turned to cat, he attacked it and drove it off. To this day our cat "Stitch", will not come close to our home. The good news is, we have a kind neighbor who took him in. The kids used to joke about how Stitch became a manager for Captain D's seafood restaurant, and he drives a '68 Chevy Nova to work.

I understand the risk of my cats going feral. But that is a risk I am willing to take, in trade for allowing them to roam their immediate surroundings and take prey. The dominant male became so mostly because of the incredible size he has gained as a result of his hunting prowess. The cats I kept were to keep squirrels from our dormer and roof - and they did a great job. I have two females now, and one male. The male is antagonistic to one female (she is his surrogate mother) and very close to the other, a kitten named Tarot. He is neutered, and the hope is that his limited range and his taste for good food will keep him close to us. The plan is to feed them very good food, and keep them close-in, only allowing them access to the upper deck of the new home for the first few weeks. They are going to be a bit disoriented until we can get the furniture in place. Hopefully I can get that done before we bring them there. But if there is some re-arranging to do (at time of writing, I am still married) it is my hope they won't take it too badly.

The next step will be to allow them into the backyard, so they can gather the sense of location for their home. And finally, one day, allowing them free access. All of my cats are trained to ask for the door whenever they need to go out. I hate the whole kitty litter thing, I won't do it. The litter box will be placed further out. There are woods where we are moving to , although not as deep as where we are now. Hopefully they will be able to construct a new territory without too much trouble.

Their imprint is strong, however. As is my own.