Today I assisted as my friend E moved her cat Jackie Chan (or Ms. Chan, as we often call her) to her new house. My friend E has two cats and a dog. She and her husband moved most of their possessions the dog and one cat over to their new house last night. Today we were moving the other cat.
Ms. Chan is one of the cats that hide. I joke with my friend E that Ms. Chan is an odalisque, because she's generously proportioned, she likes to hide and she has eyes that would not be out of place on a Turkish slave girl. Also, she reclines on her back like a Playboy model (another friend of mine calls her "Porno Kitty" for this reason.)
Although I've known Ms. Chan for several years and have been a frequent guest at her house the extent of her familiarity with me is that she will sit near me and purr (provided I don't touch her) or, lately, if she's in a good mood, I can hold out a hand and she'll rub her head against it.
Yesterday, her owners moved most of the furniture out of the house where she lives (including the cabinet under which her basket is) and didn't come back until this afternoon. That was bound to mess with her little kitty head a bit. Later today we came back to move her and she sensed that Something Was Going On. She went and hid under the couch. To get Ms Chan into the cat carrier, my friend E told me to leave the room and put a bowl of yogurt out. It took 5 minutes of coaxing before Ms. Chan would come out and I heard a few "Ow!"s before she was unceremoniously dumped into the cat carrier. I thought "this is not likely to improve her outlook or make her a friendlier kitty." And I felt sad for her because she didn't actually get to eat any yogurt.
"She's going to cry all the way to the new house." My friend E told me. "You and Ms.Chan can make angry cat noises through the whole ride!" offered E's husband M. We gathered up all Ms. Chan's stuff--her catnip and her litter box and her bed full of enough cat hair to knit another cat and drove across town. E drove, I held the cat box. Not surprisingly, Ms. Chan complained the whole ride. Because she is a big cat, I could feel her changing positions in the box. We spoke soothing words. I meyowed with her. We got her to her new space, set up the food dish, water dish and litter box and let her out.
It's fun watching cats explore new spaces. Her tail was twitching the whole time. She found a tiny crawl space she could sneak herself into (we got her out and blocked it) and then went to "hide" behind things left on the floor under a desk.
I went in to check on her before I went home for the evening and she not only rubbed her head against my hand but actually let me pet her. Well, maybe even thought I'm not her favorite person, I'm at least familiar.