The selling of my house - or, as I should more accurately term it, the attempted selling of my house - is hard on my cats. I put them in the downstairs spare room whenever there is a showing. I don’t want to enclose them there all day, so I ride home an hour before the viewing, clean up the house and then incarcerate the beasts. If there is time worth the effort remaining in the day, I ride back to work. The cats remain sequestered for two or three hours; I try not to extend the time further.
They have a litter-box in there, of course, and water. I don’t give them food, since they have it before, and they have it after. When they regain their liberty, it takes them but little time to recover, especially if a meal is immediately served. Yesterday, however, was different.
I returned home to sweep, clean and put the cats away, only to be interrupted by the arrival of the viewers and their realtor. They came half an hour ahead of schedule. My realtor told them that it was acceptable, but he did not tell me, thinking that I would not be at home. I was. Regardless, he should have told me since, until the house is sold, it is mine and I object to strangers making themselves free with my property because they are a few minutes ahead of schedule. Brooms, unswept dust and litter-boxes about the place probably did not make the best impression. I called my realtor and expressed my displeasure in no uncertain terms.
That is, however, beside the point. The cats had just been put in the spare room when the viewers arrived. The people stayed for only a few minutes - they tend not to stay long if the owner is loitering about; I didn’t even have time to put on a coat and leave. I immediately thereafter released the cats.
Their reactions were unusual this time. I set them free only about five minutes after putting them away. Abnormally, they did not rush the door in a feline version of a slapstick farce. None of them could understand why I had locked them away only to release them minutes later. They came out but hesitantly, slowly. The worst was Cammie.
My princess is put into a large cage, with her own small litter-pan and dish of water. She may not bolt if strangers open the spare room’s door, but if she did, there would be no catching her. Consequently, she is put into a jail within a jail. I cover it with a sheet to prevent the other cats from taunting her with their relative freedom.
This time, she seemed to think I had played a dirty trick on her. I opened up the cage door and she decided to remain within. Not only that, but she growled and hissed at me when I tried to explain the situation to her. All she knew was that I had picked her up, put her into a cage, and then told her she was free to go, all to no purpose.
Cammie sulked in the cage, the door open, for about twenty minutes before she condescended to appear upstairs. Within a few minutes of that, I was evidently forgiven my dastardly behaviour, and she consented to be petted. Later, she spent time on my lap.
This shows, I think, that cats, especially those who do not tolerate fools, will suffer only so much that they do not comprehend. Every previous time that I placed my cats in the spare room, they could undoubtedly hear strangers’ voices, the tread of unknown feet, perhaps even some unfamiliar human opening the door to peer in at them. They understand, I think, that they are put in the spare room as some sort of safety measure. In this instance, though, all was for naught. The beasts probably heard no stranger, the visit being so brief. I didn’t even leave the house. Their routines were disturbed to no purpose. Cammie was picked up for nothing. This was not right, and I was made to know it.
The cats will have to go into isolation again, I’m sure. The house remains unsold, and will without further visits by potential buyers. Hopefully, however, the animals’ incarceration will serve a point in future, and their lives will not be bothered by needless disruption. And I will not have to face their righteous anger.