I will forever remember this autumn because of its whirlwind of activity and change. First, my wife Kazumi accepted a position at a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, 1,000 miles from our home in Southeast Minnesota. Next, we took a nine-day road trip to Atlanta to find an apartment. Finally, after we secured a lease on an apartment in the suburb of Decatur, we moved Kazumi and our cat Muffin to their new home.
The two-day drive to Georgia with Muffin went better than we expected. We tucked her into a large pen in the back of the car. She cried on and off for the first two hours of the drive before she settled in. Within minutes of entering a hotel room in northwest Kentucky, she hid behind a sofa sleeper. After we coaxed her out, she cautiously explored the foreign domain.
As we drove away from the hotel in the morning, Muffin resumed crying periodically. But she calmed down by the time we reached mid-Tennessee. Then, Kazumi took a risk and unzipped the front door of the cat’s pen. After a few minutes, Muffin wandered into the front seat of the car, alternately sitting on Kazumi’s lap and mine.
I feared that Muffin might wander down to my feet and interfere with the brake and throttle pedals. But as we kept an eye on her, she never crept below. Instead, she sat on our laps and took in views of trees and cars as they passed by.
Finally, we arrived in Decatur. After we inspected and took posession of the new apartment, our next priority was to familiarize Muffin with her new domain. First, we set out her litter box, food and water bowls, cat tree, and bed. But she hid herself away wherever she could in the unfamiliar territory.
Occasionally, Muffin wandered out of her hiding place, mostly beneath the bed, to explore, drink and eat, and use the litter box.
After two full days, Muffin seemed at home in her new apartment. Even at one-third the size of her house in Minnesota, she found adequate places to play and perch. She showed us that that she was at ease when she sprawled out on her back. Only then did we know that she truly felt at home.
If all goes well with Kazumi’s new position and with life in the Atlanta area, I will sell the home by next summer and move in with her and Muffin. I will visit them several times between now and then, and can hardly wait until we reunite on Christmas Day.