On 21st November, we moved house from North Somerset to Kingston-upon-Hull, in East Yorkshire. This involved someone – me, in fact – drawing the short straw and driving the five cats 230 miles.
We put the older two in a cattery – I felt that if they were around while the removal was going on, they’d leg it. I bought a big dog cage for the younger three, but in the event, they were quite happy, and had to be fished out of the lorry on a regular basis. So when we were packed up, I looked for Henry, Ron and Lilith to enbox.
No Lilith. She was, inevitably, in her second home, a house which backed on to ours. I went round with a basket and knocked on the door, and the mother opened it. “Can I have my cat back, please?” I said. “We’re moving to Yorkshire and I need to take her with me”.
She was aghast – “my daughter loves that cat”. I knew that, but Lilith is actually *our* cat. “Why not get her one of her own?”, I asked and was told that she worked irregular hours. No idea what that has to do with it.
Then she asked me not to tell the daughter that we were taking Lilith away for good. In my haste, and against my better judgement, I went along with it, but oh – how I wish I hadn’t. When she asked why Lily was going in a basket, I said we were going away for a few days, to friends, and that they wanted Lily to come with us. I can’t begin to imagine how that girl must feel now, and I feel I betrayed her.
Anyway, EnRon went in a box together and were as good as gold. Lilith went in the small box, and I went off to the cattery (which was in the wrong direction) to collect the spotty boys. I couldn’t get anybody to answer the phone, or the doorbell, and stood in the rain for 25 minutes in an increasing panic until the woman who was looking after the place for her son finally realised there was someone there when she looked through the window …
She yattered and yattered, gave me a bill for the wrong amount, and I just wanted to get the boys, and get going, as I had a 4.5 hour journey ahead of me. Eventually I got them in their separate boxes, and into the car, with Lily between them, and off I went.
It was a *vile* day – sideways rain, and really dark, and Iggy and Mustrum shouted – screamed, at times – the entire way. I’m sorry to say that Iggy was so distressed that he disgraced himself in his basket, and so I had a Smell to content with too. We let them have the run of the house and yard as soon as we arrived, and while they weren’t happy, they seemed to be settling.
And then, the next evening Sunday), Iggy disappeared. We tried not to worry, but we did worry. And as the days went by, we worried more. I went out often calling him, but we now live in a part of the city which is a grid of Victorian terraced streets, and they all look the same. I didn’t see how he could find his way home. I phoned the Identichip people, and reported him as missing.
Since I arrived here, it’s been my habit to come downstairs early – about 6 a.m. – make a cup of tea, feed the cats, and catch up with some stuff on my laptop. And on the Thursday morning, as I was making the early tea, there was a rowl from the living room, and Iggy strolled into the kitchen. He wasn’t thin, he wasn’t hungry, he wasn’t stressed, but he was home. I can only assume that he’d gone to check out the neighbourhood.
He came in through a cat flap that wasn’t even fitted when he left – what a clever cat.
We now have five stay at homes, which suits me fine, but my word – what a lot they’re eating. I knew they dined out and about, but we’re getting through more than twice the amount of food we used to!