I don’t know how to explain it, but my formerly curmudgeonly cat is undergoing a change.
It started with the drive to Minneapolis. Prior to that four-day schlep, Kitty had cried every second of every time spent in a carrier. When we got her from LA, she yowled for the entire six-hour drive, until somewhere just before home she lost her voice. Even then, she managed to croak for the last 20 minutes or so. Knowing this history, I contacted my vet a week prior to the move and asked for a sedative. When I told them why I needed it, the vet tech literally cackled. Kitty’s reputation, it seems, had preceded her. Not a single person at my Berkeley vet, who have been treating her for a decade, believed we would make it to Minneapolis without murdering the cat.
The kitty Xanax they gave us failed an initial test. It made her weave around the house like a furry little drunk, but she still yowled the moment I put her in the carrier. The vet seemed entirely unsurprised at this news, and instead gave her something that would knock out an animal 10 times her size. I didn’t have time to test it before we left, so just before I stuck her in the carrier, I shoved the Xanax down her throat and hoped for the best.
Turns out, I needn’t have worried. In what I can only describe as a Christmas Miracle, Kitty was a super champion traveler. Over the four days, we barely heard a peep out of her, unless the door to the carrier closed and she was denied access to the spacious kennel I bought for her. (The Internet suggested this carrier-within-a-kennel solution, bless them.) She was also shockingly cool with all the hotel rooms, and except for one overly-zealous dog outburst, explored a bit each night before settling in to sleep with us.
This good-naturedness continued once we got to Minneapolis. For the first week, we kept a gate at the top of the stairs, containing Kitty to the second floor. After maybe an hour of tentative exploration, she just settled right in and went to sleep on the bed. When Claire arrived the next day, she claimed her as her own, and slept with Claire. Claire says Kitty tries to sleep on her face. The most shocking thing is that she lets Claire pick her up and carry her around and even kiss her repeatedly on the head. This cat has scratched me for far, far less an offense.
When we opened up the first floor to her, she went right downstairs and slept on the couch. Hours after the movers completely disrupted our lives will all my stuff, I found her asleep on the newly set up guest bed. Out of all the animals, she is the one who has just settled right in and made herself at home. Totally bizarre of a cat who previously hid so much in the closet that she had a chicken cutlet box from Costco at the back so she could feel more secure.
Kitty’s appetite has also grown, and she is now eating a full can of food each night instead of half. Her fur, which before was brittle and full of dandruff is now soft and luxurious. Her eyes, which were starting to show calcium deposits, are now bright and clear. A worrisome cough – thanks to a slight case of asthma – is almost completely gone, without the steroid shots she needed in Berkeley. With the exception of her exceptionally sharp shoulder blades and spine, she looks and feels like she is five years younger.
We’ve no idea what’s happened, but I’ll take it. Thanks, Universe.