The renovations in the basement are done. The old carpet, with its multiple, cat-induced stains, is gone, replaced with linoleum. It took longer than expected, but the installers did not charge me any more than the amount that they quoted me, which was a surprise. Though it feels a little cooler, metaphorically speaking, the new flooring will probably be healthier, since my cats left half of themselves behind every time they went downstairs. Now, I will still find cat-hair everywhere, but it will be swept up with little trouble. As well, any intestinal reversals will be simplicity itself to deal with.
Yes, yes, you’re no doubt thinking, that’s all well and good. But how did the cats react to it?
Well, last evening I opened the door to the basement and let them explore. Tungsten was the first to head downstairs. The orange one is fearless, and looked all over. She found it very new, of course, but I had placed a couple of cat-trees there already. (The rest of the furniture will follow in the days to come.) I was worried that the beasts might try to scratch the linoleum, so I thought I would tempt them with something familiar.
Tungsten considered what I had done to the basement to be mildly interesting, but not amazing. She walked around a bit, but was soon upstairs again in her comfy armchair. I chose a black and white, chequered pattern for the floor, as I like tessellated marble, and I think it looks rather collegiate, a quality that will suit the library, once the books return. But it made Tungsten appear the only bit of colour in the room.
Next down was Renn. My big boy has become very brave over the last few years. He hesitated briefly at the top of the staircase. (The effect on the steps is rather like the ‘crazy’ camouflage applied to ships during World War Two to confound submarines’ range-finding, and so I will have to watch the range of my footfalls going down; that’s a minor, though unforeseen, result of my choice of pattern.)
He joined Tungsten in checking out the new look, though his interest lasted rather longer than the orange one’s. Renn is, as you may know, of a scientific bent, and he doesn’t take study lightly. He was downstairs the longest.
Then my Chubs must have wondered what the attraction was, because she lumbered down the staircase next. She is still the nervous cat she was years ago, so she came on slowly. Once there, however, she found nothing frightening with the new set-up.
My two guest-cats took the alterations in their stride. Bear-Bear, like his fellow orange cat, Tungsten, is fazed by little. A destructive hailstorm and a summer of thunder didn’t bother him, so a change of flooring wasn’t going to amount to anything in his estimation. His main concern was how close it was to his next meal-time.
Cammie walked about slowly, sedately, taking it all in. She found nothing too exciting about it; I think she was simply glad to have the extra level open once more. She sometimes retreated to the basement when she needed to be away from the other cats (and me), or when things were a bit a scary upstairs.
And then there was Tucker. He is skittish at the best of times, and it took a long time for me to coax him off the half-landing where he spent a quarter-hour rubbing against the edges of walls. Perhaps he wanted to reaffirm that this was still the same basement with which he was familiar.
But my roly poly isn’t quite the scaredy-cat he once was, and he ventured down, one step at a time, stopping and squeaking on each. But he made it to the bottom, where he cautiously smelled the new fragrances. (Hopefully, the carpet contained all traces of unwanted odours, such as the instances when Tucker wet outside the litter-box due to something troubling his delicate nerves. Certainly, the aroma of new plastic - rather like the smell of the interior of an automobile just purchased - was strong, though not unpleasant.)
Tucker did not range far, and kept close to his escape route. But that will change. Like Renn, he has progressed, and no longer fears everything. Just most things.
And so the cats have been introduced to the new flooring. I think it was a successful evening. I have already replaced one litter-box under the stairs, where the boxes have always been. One remains upstairs. I will move that in stages back downstairs, but I want to make sure the roly poly one is comfortable in the basement before he must go there to relieve himself. As well, there is Cammie to think about: she has had a litter-box in the back parlour (where she was initially confined) since her arrival. She will have to get used to going elsewhere. She knows there were and are boxes downstairs, but I am not sure she has used them. Last night was the first time the parlour was without a litter-box, and I don’t know if she visited the one temporarily placed just around the corner. I’m sure she will use one or another, though.
I’ll leave you with one more photograph, an image which depicts another unforeseen effect of the new pattern on the floor. You’ve heard of “Where’s Waldo"? Now, where’s Renn?!