For the past few months, I’ve been preparing to sell my house in the Finger Lakes region of New York to move closer to my family and childhood friends who live in New York City and Long Island.
With that life change comes a number of complex circumstances when one lives with pets: Repairs that need to be done in remote areas like the basement and the attic; real estate showings that have strangers walking in and out of the house, not always focused on closing doors and windows properly; and the whole act of boxing up items and creating a new and different environment each day when our cats appreciate a consistent and quiet home space more than anything else.
Early in the process, I made a checklist of rules to keep my two cats safe. My number-one priority was to constantly remind my realtor to check all doors carefully throughout a showing, not assuming that a stranger would be careful to snugly shut a basement door. (When we had an open house, however, I did move the cats to a neighbor’s guest bedroom to keep them out of the way of the stream of steady traffic.)
When repairmen were in the house, I closed them in a quiet room — complete with litter box and bowls of food and fresh water.
And while boxing up my items, I was careful not to make tempting items a hazard: wrapping materials and packing tape were stored away after use, and boxes were neatly organized so they couldn’t become a fun entertainment just before trapping a panicked cat inside (yes, I learned this lesson a number of years ago!).
On moving day, I will lock the cats into a room already emptied — with a big sign to warn the movers from entering!
Even with these precautions, I know that this will be a stressful and overwhelming experience for all of us. But as their guardian, it is my job to put their safety and needs at the top of my list when making major life changes. I’m sure all our readers understand exactly what I mean.