The Ulvika Rules of Moving House
Moving home is a traumatic life experience for humans, but when you are a member of a family of 9 Ulvika Norwegian Forest Cats, you approach the topic with trepidation.
The first we heard of our impending return to Yorkshire was on Mother’s Day, when I overheard Ulvika Management discussing how nice it would be to return “home”. She was in long discussions with the owner of my grand children, Ulvika Martha Hunter Bills and Ulvika Atticus Skywalker Rasputin of Freshfield. Martha, Cuss and I have had lengthy discussions about the nature of our owners’ relationship. We were told they “worked” together for 11 years. But it seems to us that they did very little other than stand around chatting and ‘analysing spreadsheets of very dull statistics about Local Authority Performance’. Doesn’t sound like work to us....
Humans talk and talk over their phones –but I twitched my fabulous ear furnishings when I heard the phrase “and you’ll help us with the cats, won’t you?”
I immediately called an emergency meeting of the Ulvika COBRA Committee set up for the purpose of discussing imminent erratic human behaviour that might affect us. Naturally, I chair this committee, as I am the most vocal and by far the most decisive of the family and the others tend to do as I say – or I simply drone on.... and on....and on...as my followers on Twitter will verify - but I digress. “Not again” was the overall reaction, and several older Ulvikas wandered off for a quick biscuit or two, but I had to remind them that each move we have made has been quite successful as long as the humans understand the rules. I thought you might like me to share them with you.
Ulvika Rules of Moving House
- If a move looks inevitable, ensure that your owners are reminded of any bad habits you may have picked up over the years. Immediately. This will ensure they look at an alternative property bearing these habits in mind. The clawing of wooden banisters is a case in point. So is peeing by the front door on particularly good quality carpet.
- If any of the younger female members of the family are about to call, ensure that they are booked in for several weeks with their respective stud’s owner, so they do not become difficult or distressed during a move.
- Any relevant “cat paperwork” should be kept to hand in case of emergencies. Humans do not enjoy searching for vaccination certificates and blood test results when they are lurking in packing cases full of files labelled “Cats/General 2013”.
- Never allow humans to book removal firms before first checking that their best friends are available at least a week beforehand to deconstruct and reassemble cat pens and cat runs at the new home.
- A visit to a large pet store is always a good idea to investigate whether there are any cat carriers on offer and purchase immediately.
- Assigning a family of 9 cats to 4 carriers can be tricky. We don’t all travel well. Neutered males usually don’t even notice they’re on the move, but we girls have our preferences on long journeys, and experience has taught our owners that the two who are most likely to vomit mid M62 are my mother, Daisy, and sadly, myself. This last move was a perfect example of this. I had an accident just 5 minutes after leaving the old house, and hence an emergency stop off in the Aintree Odean Cinema car park was called for so we could be cleaned up before embarking on the aforementioned M62.
- Food is a tricky subject, as I am very fond of it. I do, however, recommend that only dry food is served the night before travelling, with plenty of water available on the journey.
- The mode of transport is important. Ulvika cats prefer a large Volvo Estate, but put up with a Peugeot Partner if we have to. These vehicles accommodate 2 very large comfy carriers and litter trays and afford us a good view of whoever is driving.
- On arrival, it is important to realise that owners will be tired, cross and in need of a kettle and teaspoon. Sit patiently in your carrier and then emit the odd loud call, or feign a fight, so they remember you are there. They will then move you to an empty room with a “Beware of the Cats” sign on the door. Be patient, you will be allowed to explore later. After they have found the teaspoon.
- This is the fun bit. Exploring a new house, scent marking your territory and claiming the best windowsill is always more fun than the human preoccupation with paperwork and unpacking. However, if they’ve used packing paper, then hours of fun can be had chasing scrunched up balls of the stuff around the house.
- Establish where your trays are and also where your food will be served. Once drinking fountains have been plugged in, deter younger members of the family from using them as a bidet. It is also crucial to locate where humans will have lunch. This is a good time for being given titbits of sandwich filling,or crisps. Be one step ahead - sit patiently, awaiting the first piece of cold ham thrown in your direction.
- Maintain your pecking order. A change of environment can cause other members of your feline family to mount a sudden challenge to your superiority. This must be stamped on immediately. Humans will attribute the odd tiff to having moved, so if you have been yearning to have a go at one of your older Aunties, now is the time to grab the opportunity while you could easily get away with it.
- It is highly likely that younger, more fertile members of your family will now return. It is also likely that they may be expecting a litter of kittens, though they might not be aware of it. This, too, can lead to outbreaks of hormonal behaviour, which will be excused by humans, so don’t let this chance of a spat slip by.
- The advent of kittens is a joyful period of time. Extra titbits and tasty food is available, and should be taken advantage of at every opportunity. As chief midwife, I am always extra vigilant at this time, and assert my authority frequently as the expectant Mum will need my attention after 63 days, and must also be aware that I am in charge.
- Do remember, if you are a social media personality like I am, to inform your followers of your new contact details. If you don’t want uninvited visitors, be vague on Facebook and Twitter as to the precise location of your house.
- If these Rules are followed, you will have a happy experience in your new environment. Be kind to each other and to your humans. They don’t seem to follow the same rules as we do, and can become very stressed when moving home. Give them some extra attention and purr more than usual. They love you. And you own them.....
©Jane Bancroft All inquiries re available Ulvika kittens to Jane.Bancroft@btinternet.com