The craziness that comes with life REALLY seems to affect the animals. They really just like to be in a routine, and are quite upset when we break that.
The one who reacted the strongest this time was Romeo. I was deep into spring-cleaning the house; it was high time, and I had the extra motivator of having my parents coming to visit me over the holiday weekend. I was caught up in what I was doing, and didn't notice that Romeo was becoming more and more upset, with every corner that I vacuumed out, every knick-nack that I dusted, every floorboard that I wiped down.
I'm not sure if he just didn't like his environment being altered, whether he thought that HE was going into the garbage next, or if his bad behavior had nothing to do with me at all, but all that I know is... four days before my parents came, he started peeing on the floors. Little puddles all over the kitchenette, no puddle in the litter box, where there SHOULD be a puddle.
I was torn between being worried about his health and being frustrated with him... the timing couldn't have been worse! Since he hadn't lost his appetite, and didn't seem sick or lethargic (and I didn't see blood in the urine) we decided to observe him for a day before deciding on whether to take him in to the vet. Jeff carried him upstairs and put him in the study, along with a fresh litter box and food and water, so that he could be there with him while he was working from home.
Not only did he stop leaving little puddles around, but he actually started pooping in his box! (Those of you who are long-term followers might remember that Romeo has issues with pooping in the box. He always goes right outside the box, and always has, no matter which type of litter we use, which shape and height of box, whether he's alone or with other cats, none of it made a difference. But so far (and we're five days in) he's been doing really well where he is. So... we've decided that he can be "study cat" for now, and we'll just have to make sure that he gets the same amount of exercise or more that he was getting when he was downstairs.
I personally think that he's happier up in the study because he gets to hang out with us more often. We've also discussed that he might feel more secure there; he can keep one eye on the door at all times, so can't be easily ambushed by any of the other cats if they were to get in.
Charlotte wasn't thrilled with the super-deep-cleaning of the house either, but as you might be able to see from the picture above, she chose to curl up into a little ball and pretend like it wasn't going on around her. And she jumped up on the bed every night insisting on reassurance.
She for one seemed VASTLY relieved when my parents showed up Friday afternoon. It was as if she realized that the cleaning was for someone to come in, and not for us to go OUT. She was pleased to have two more people here to give her attention this weekend, and strolled throughout the house with a queenly air the entire time. I'm not just making it up, my parents noticed and commented on it as well.
Annie didn't seem to be affected by it at all. This is her "helping" me make the bed. This picture might be a clue about why I have difficulty with these simple household chores sometimes. That and making beds makes me bored silly. Annie was friendly towards my folks too - which shows just how very far she's come. Last year when they were here, she was very stand-offish, and wouldn't let them touch her, and would panic if she got too close. This year, she almost seemed to prefer my mom to me.
Bit was very much herself through the entire process of cleaning and visiting. What this means is that she acts like she is being followed by a pack of demons, and one wrong move; one too-loud sound, one mis-step from you, and she panics and runs away in terror. So I have no idea of whether this affected her or not... because she's always on edge. I have no idea of why. To say that she's had a gentle upbringing in this house is putting it mildly. So... she sat in the room with my parents and my husband and I, and offered loud, continuous commentary, but wouldn't let anyone but my husband pet her. (She would sit in HIS lap.) She has always been a "daddy's girl" from day one, though, so that doesn't surprise me at all.
The fosters were the ones that had to deal with the biggest changes, and they handled it beautifully. You may remember that they were being kept in the guest room, as it was the one room of the entire house that could sit unused for multiple months. But of course I had guests this weekend. Guests that wouldn't like to tangle with cats trying to get out and other cats trying to get in every time they opened their bedroom door. And my mother might have developed at least a mild allergy to cats, so was nervous about being in a room with two of them. Fair enough.
But since they are being kept separate from the rest of our cats, there was really no place left for them to go. So this was the only weekend out of the entire year that they were going to have to be sent away. We took them to "kitty camp" at Jeff's mom's apartment. It sounds like they had a great time - they had the freedom to go anywhere in the apartment that they liked (and did so... I have reports that she found kitty footprints in her bathroom sink.) She didn't have any other cats for them to tangle with, they got room to roam and didn't have to go to a more official boarding facility where they'd be in a cage, and my parents didn't have to share a room with two feline roommates.
They're back now... we went to pick them up and brought them back home today after my parents left. Mitchell is pretending that he's never seen us before in his life, and is not letting us pet him. Patches is more friendly. Both of them are in exploration mode, making sure that nothing changed too much, I guess. They'll warm up again - some of ours are a little standoffish when we've been away too.
|Patches, reclaiming a pillow as his own.|
|Mitchell, demonstrating why his nickname is "Mitchell Long-Tail."|