July 10, 2011—When we took our maiden voyage, we left our cats at home. We wanted to “shake down” Baby without worrying about Charlie and Xena. But on this trip, we decided to bring them along with us.
My biggest worry was that whenever we opened the door, one or both of our kitties would bolt. They are used to a lot of freedom. For the last eight years, they have been able to go wherever they wanted—indoors or out. When we moved in, Jim had installed two cat doors: one from the house to the porch, and a second from the porch to outdoors. (As a side note: The second cat door was billed as “critter-proof,” requiring our pets to wear a magnet that allows entry and keeping all other animals out. Not quite. Several clever raccoons in search of an easy meal have managed to open the door. As recently as a couple of months ago, when the evenings were still cool, Jim had opened the French doors so we could enjoy the night air. At 3 a.m. we discovered a little bandit helping himself to the cat food—in our kitchen!)
I shouldn’t have worried. Charlie and Xena are true “scaredy cats.” Whenever they hear the door open, they head for the bedroom. They would like to hide under the bed, but that is not possible, since it rests on a platform. So, they either bury themselves behind the pillows on the bed, or in the corner on the side of the bed.
Yesterday, while we were driving, it was even worse. Apparently they really did not like the noise of the diesel (which is louder in the bedroom, in the back of Baby.) So where did they hide? In the kitchen cupboard beneath the kitchen sink, where we had placed their litter box. (We took the door off the cabinet to give them access.) Charlie hid behind the box; Xena sat in the box during most of the ride.
We aren’t unsympathetic to the difficulty of the cats’ adjustment. And we are trying to accommodate their needs. We bought a harness and leash for each of them. Charlie’s is blue; Xena’s pink. We have yet to try them out. Every time we try to put them on, that’s when they bolt—to their favorite hiding place.
Jim is the “softie” when it comes to the cats. He makes sure that the shades are up during the day so they can stare at the world, and he even keeps a couple shades open at night so they can keep an eye on the comings and goings of any night creatures that might pass by our motorhome. For privacy at night, we draw the curtains around the huge front window. Jim has discovered that both of the cats like to jump up on the front dash and lurk behind the curtains during the wee hours of the morning.
I mentioned the litter box. That was my second biggest worry—that they would not use it. After all, they had had an endless “sandbox” in our backyard. The first day, someone had an “accident.” Same, the next day. But I think they are finally getting used to it. At least, I hope so.
All said, I think Charlie and Xena will eventually adjust to their new home. They might not like their restrictive environment much, but that’s too bad.
Until next time,