Cat Sanctuary

Not My Home!

I’ve just returned from a 5-week summer trip, for which one of the biggest queries was what to do with Scout. My Scout is a former feral, who came to me from RAPS when I was looking for a companion for Madame Hooch early in 2019. He’s always been a shy boy – comfortable enough with me, but let anyone else come in the house, and he’s gone to hide. Once a feral, always a feral…

Debbie has always been my reliable cat-sitter, ready to visit and feed and interact when I have to be away for short periods. But this was going to be a much longer trip, and we decided that the best thing was to move him to her place – she and Kevin have been cat-less for awhile, and this would give Scout the ongoing presence of other people around. So we packed up all Scout’s things – including his cat-tree (he has more luggage than I do!) and moved him over a couple of days prior to my departure. I knew this would not be easy for him – vet-visits are stressful even before we get to the vet’s. All the body-language spoke of his discomfort – big poofy tail, slinking close to the ground, not wanting to interact with either Debbie or me. Finally, he made his way to her bedroom and hid under the bed.

Hiding in a box – big pupils and body language all say “scared” (DW)

Comfortable with petting (DW)

And hid, and hid…  all through the next day. We decided that I should not go and visit, because I’d be abandoning him all over again when I left. It was an enormous relief to get a message on departure day to say that he’d slept in one of the hidey-boxes Kev had made for him, that he’d scarfed down his breakfast and allowed himself to be cuddled.

The trip was wonderful – as was the steady stream of reports from Debbie:  Scout was eating and drinking well, no litterbox problems, loved sitting by Kev’s feet when he was at the computer, coming to ask for pets and loving.

I arrived back with a horrendous traveller’s cold – did all the errands I had energy for and then went over to Debbie’s to get Scout. And he would have nothing to do with me! – treated me like a total stranger, and hid from me. As any cat person knows, the approach has to come from the cat – so I sat on the floor and waited… and waited…  Even bribery wouldn’t do the trick.

“Do you love me too?” (DW)

More than anything else, I needed to deal with the cold – so I left him where I knew he was safe, and took myself back to my own hidey-hole to dose my germs into submission.

Favourite relaxed pose (DW)

Scout (BC)

So this is an unfinished story blog – I need to be with him as he comes to term with a return home, and since I have other commitments this afternoon, we’re going to leave the transfer till tomorrow morning. And Debbie and Kev will get him into his carrier and deliver him home – and then I can deal with moving all his stuff. We’ll see how the whole thing goes – I suspect it’ll be similar to the initial move, and he’ll spend time hiding, before he decides that he can come out and be with me again.

What’s your experience with leaving a beloved pet?  Do they greet you or snub you? And if the latter, how long is it before you are forgiven?

Blog by Brigid Coult
Featured Image: “Scout at RAPS Shelter in 2019” by Brigid Coult