“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.)