“Our house is a very, very, very fine house / With two cats in the yard…”
Lyrics from “Our House” by Graham Nash
The dark hardwood floor could barely be seen under all the boxes, which besides cluttering the floor space, scaled the French doors that opened to the back of the cottage. “Where was everything going to fit?” said an anxious voice inside my head as I surveyed the dollhouse of a house I was moving into. And I still had two last loads to fetch—Lexington and Bobcat. I hoped they would fit in here, in this new world away from the comforts of their spacious condo in the canyon. How would they fair living in a space less than half its size?
By the time I returned with the cats, the movers had unloaded everything from the moving trucks and were organizing the boxes into a tidy maze. Don, the owner of the moving company helped me unload my precious cat cargo from the car. He put the carriers in what little space was left in the living room, I graciously thanked him for his hard work and he was on his way. That was it. After a grueling eleven hours of moving, the kitties and I were in our new home—a tiny Laguna Beach cottage built in 1922, complete with a porch, a yard, a picket fence and peek-a-boo ocean view.
I opened the doors of the carriers containing the cats, cooing to calm them, “Kitties, my sweeties, welcome to your new home!” They both cautiously stepped out onto the area rug that was once in my former dining room, now in my new living room. Lexington casually sniffed boxes and investigated all three rooms—bedroom, living/dining room and bathroom, then reclined on the hardwood floor by the kitchen. He nonchalantly looked up at me. “Sooo…what do ya think Lex?” “It’s cool, Mom. I like it,” said the look on his face. Meanwhile, a leery Bobcat hid under the sofa. “Hey, Bobbycat, come on, it’s okay, “ I coaxed. He slowly crept out from under the slipcover and jumped up onto the piano in front of the windows to get a look outside. Satisfied with the sight of his new yard adorned with king palms and patches of grass, he settled in on the perch of his cat tree.
Life’s plans don’t always pan out the way we want them to. After living in apartments for all my life until I reached midlife, I finally bought my first home. The townhouse style condo was mine, all mine and I loved it. It was my forever home; yet after eleven years and unexpected financial hardship, I came to the hard conclusion that the only way to gain financial stability was to sell. The sale went fast and I got above asking price. My wonderful realtor, Cherie Phan, also negotiated the rental of this charming little house for me.
Surrendering to a tough realization that I initially fought with all my might turned out to be the very best course of action for me. It’s hard to let go of things that we become so attached to—the walls that harbored so many sweet and sorrowful events, moments and memories. The countless tears I shed as I downsized and packed-up have finally dried as I settle into this vintage abode in which I will experience newfound happiness and peace, and in which I will make new memories.
And how are the cats doing, you ask?
Moving tips: I used a Feliway (a feline calming solution) diffuser in the condo days before moving and one in the new home on moving day. I also sprayed the cat carriers with Feliway and sprayed the new home with Convivial House Cat (anti-stress solution) by Cat Faeries. I kept this routine going for a couple of weeks for a harmonious and seamless adjustment. (Note that the kitties are only permitted outside during the day under my supervision, and are disciplined at staying in the yard.)
Hi Pamela, Thank you for this post. I am in the process of clearing out my parents’ home which they bought in 1965 and raised me in. They have now both passed away, and it is time for me to sell the house and move my mom’s 2 cats and me to someplace new. I don’t know where we’re moving to yet, much is uncertain. But I can certainly relate to: “It’s hard to let go of things that we become so attached to—the walls that harbored so many sweet and sorrowful events, moments and memories.” I am surrendering to the tough realization that childhood is over, mom and dad aren’t coming back, and it is time to clean out, sell and move. I hope it will be a wonderful new beginning for me, Chester and Cecily, as your move has been for you, Lexington and Bobcat. Your new place looks really special! Thanks also for the moving tips. Best wishes! Karen
Thank you for reading! It warms my heart that the story struck a cord with you. Once you embrace the change rather than fight it (as I did initially), you will be relieved and come to find joy again. I wish you, Chester and Cecily (cute names!) all the best! Cats are sensitive to change as you probably know, but just talk to them reassure them that they will be safe and happy in a new home. Hugs from Pamela, Lex and Bobcat.
Yes, I’m finally getting around to embracing the change rather than fighting it. Because cats are sensitive to change is one of the reasons it’s been taking me so long to really get going with the move preparations. I’m so reluctant to take them away from their long-time familiar surroundings (including the enclosed front porch that they like to sit on so much – I will be looking for a new home with one). But change can be good, and cats are resilient and forgiving, and I think they will do just fine if I reassure them and let them get used to their new surroundings at their own pace.
You are on the right track and I know exactly how you feel about taking the kitties from their home; that was one of my stressors in the moving process, but it turned out to be better than I ever imagined. More stories about the kitties in the cottage to come. Keep me posted, Karen!
Karen, PS, I am very sorry for the loss of your folks, which certainly adds another layer of difficulty in moving on. I do hope that your new home brings you a fresh new perspective and start. And I bet your parents are watching over you from above…
Good to hear from and see you after many months; I’d been wondering…I can only imagine the mixed emotions of your move and it must have been tough choosing what to keep while moving into a much smaller space. I don’t remember what part of the canyon you lived in. Love all the photos and I wish you happy new beginnings and discoveries!
Hi Chantal! Thank you for the warm welcome back! My creative juices are finally flowing again now that I’m getting settled. And do I have stories… Thank you for reading. Downsizing was hard, but once the pressure was on to pack and move I became detached and kept only those items that were truly near and dear to me. I’m adapting to my new cottage way of life and am loving it! Thank you, again!
Great entry! Great pictures! Welcome home!
Love your blog and photos. It’s amazing how your move turned out. You cottage is just adorable and a real feeling of home. I like your private yard and the closeness to the ocean and downtown area. Pam, you did good and l would like to read more stories about your new experiences around your historical cottage.
Thank you, Pops! And thank you for all your support and help during that arduous transition.
So happy that you’re enjoying your sweet new home (and the cats too, of course). Such great photos!
Thank you, Lynette! 🙂
Thank you so much, Miss Marilyn! 🙂
Moving is always a stress but with your kitty children it was even more of a challenge. The little cottage that could is adorable and we know you will be happy there. It’s fun for us as well to visit a totally new place to see you and our “kitty grandchildren” and enjoy what a cozy nest you’ve made of it. Love, Mom
Awww, thank you for your continued love and support! xo
It looks like you found a nice place to live. I hope you will be happy there. I understand about downsizing. We downsize so much that we eventually had to upsize again but there is a certain appeal to not having so much stuff.
Hi Charles, downsizing is a lot of work on so many levels, but I’m liking the simplified “cottage” life I’m having now! I agree on the appeal. Clutter and too much stuff just blocks energy and takes up space! 🙂 Thank you for sharing.
Looks like you ended up in a great place, and I love that the kitties can go outside under your supervision.
Despite its tiny size and a few other quirky features (more stories to come), it is a wonderful new home. I’m so happy the kitties can safely enjoy the outdoors. Thank you for reading!
Loved your blog as always! The Kitties & you are in an enchanting cottage in Laguna Beach! They look very happy! Love all the photos!
Thank you, Trish! Indeed they are happy. 🙂 Cheers!
Wishing you good luck and all the best in your new home. It looks like the cats think it’s ok and they seem to love their new garden.
Hello Mr. Bowie and Herman, thank you very much! The cats think its pretty awesome, and yes, their new garden has them quite intrigued! Cheers!
Congrats Pamela on your move !!
You are now Cat Lady of Boat Canyon.
Thank you, John! Love the new title… 😉 I’d love to connect with you to do some research on this vintage cottage. Cheers!
Great to see you at our meeting last Wed.. Let’s meet to talk about :”your old house”.
John [Wave St.] Hoover 949 212 1282