Tuesday, January 8, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

It has been slow going getting settled in our new home.  We had to move quickly when the last house we were renting was sold.  It was just as we had perfected our living space to make it super efficient for living with multiple cats that we got the news.  We had sold furniture that was not cat friendly and replaced it with tougher stuff.  We had gotten as much as we could up off floors and onto walls.  It was a creative exercise.  IKEA was our friend. In fact I am pretty sure it is a new religion. 

The new house is bigger, with three bedrooms as opposed to two.  And although they are smaller, we can now entirely devote one bedroom to litterboxes. This is a gift.  No longer are there cat litter granules on the floor of every room and in the crevice of every seating area. Hallelujah.

At my age, change is jolting, and it takes a long time for me to adjust.

One of the hardest changes of my life was when we sold our family home after our parents died.  Here is a painting I did at the time called My Father's Backyard:

My Father's Backyard

I had three dogs then, I was soon to add a fourth, little Gracie, who was eventually poisoned here in Cyprus by a neighbor. She was sixteen years old.  The tree in the painting is where I used to feed the birds.  Sandy, the white and brown dog, used to eat the seeds that fell on the ground. 

I crave stability.  And I get very attached to my surroundings. What I miss most about America are places, geography.  I miss the river where I used to take my dogs.  I miss the tree on the corner of I-75 and Northside Drive.  I miss my little yellow house, my grocery store, my post office, my church. I don't miss but a couple of my neighbors. 

Places don't go away.

And as I write this and Twigs sits on my lap nibbling on my hair, I think about all the changes we have put the cats through, too, moving and all.  It was hard for them.  Especially the disabled ones.

Twigs, the sweet nibbler

We wanted to  bring all the outdoor ferals and street cats we were feeding at our old house with us, but it turned out not to be what we did.  We also wanted to bring some of the park cats here, but that turned out not to be the thing either. Here's what happened.

First we brought Amber.  That was a no brainer.  Amber had been left more times than a train station.  She was a domestic cat.  She had been altered by someone previously.  Amber is sensitive and has never made friends easily, always being prone to bullying by other cats. 

Sylvia and Amber, friends

Sylvia was Amber's only friend.  Sylvia was a feral cat who I made friends with over the past year and a half.  The two female cats slept together in a basket at night on our front doorstep.  They greeted eachother happily. Sylvia rarely spent the days with us like Amber did, but came at sunset. Sylvia probably had other human friends.  I think someone was occasionally giving her souvlaki or leftover fish from the local fish taverns, because sometimes I wouldn't see her and she started turning her nose up at our soft food.  Sylvia is a good egg, and whoever her feline Mom was should be proud.


So we brought Sylvia, too.  The next plan was to trap Jazzy and bring him, because he has only one eye, and we worry about him.  We were on the fence about bringing Big Van, because he scares the other cats.


After that, I picked up Strike from the park during a terrible rainstorm and brought her here.

Sylvia was here for one night.  Then, she disappeared.  I felt sick. 

Strike took off almost immediately.  Again, I was sick.

For days I worried about them.  I prayed they would find some kind soul to feed them and give them shelter. I reprimanded myself for being so foolhardy and presumptuous.

Days later, I can't remember how many, I drove up to the park to find Strike here, under her tree:

Knock me over with a feather, Strike was under her tree
A couple of weeks later, I found Sylvia greeting me at Sammy's, which is two doors down from our old house, and which is still one of our feeding stations.

Sylvia, too, had found her way back home

From our new house to the park, as the crow flies, it's nearly 1.5 miles or 2 kilometers.  That is the journey Strike made at least. 

From our new house to our old neighborhood, once again, as the crow flies, it's nearly 2 miles or 3 kilometers.  That's how far Sylvia walked. 

If they took the scenic route and walked along the roads, they walked even farther.  Either way they had to cross roads. 

After that we gave up the idea of trapping and bringing Jazzy. 

I guess it is true for even some cats.  There's no place like home.


Amber, on the other hand, never left. 

  Art Prints

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