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On September 18 we said goodbye to the pets. This was the very first time, since I was 5 years ago and got my black & white kitten that I named Fluffy, that I haven’t in some way lived with pets. This was the very first time, in the past 9 years that my family has lived in our house in Connecticut, that there hasn’t been pets also living here.

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It’s been almost a month now and I still haven’t gotten use to it.

When we arrived home from Korea/British Columbia we met up with the pets. As soon as I stepped out of the car Wynnie, my mom’s tiger cat, skidded off the roof of their little Volkswagen in the garage and came bounding up to us.

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And as I walked over to get the month’s worth of mail from the mailbox Marty, mt brother’s extremely grouchy and independent white cat leapt into my arms and wouldn’t quit purring. They’d been living at the house for the past month since my brother had moved to BC, with a friend checking in on them every few days. It was adorable and touching to see how much the two cats had missed us.

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You can tell just by looking at the first picture of Wynnie and the first picture of Marty just how happy they were to have us home.

Then, when we went to pick up groceries later that afternoon, we stopped by the family friends that had been watching Oscar, my brother’s extremely large golden retriever, and brought him home.

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(In that second picture he’s cuddled up to our good friend Marc.)

The plan was that we would ship all the animals out to the West Coast where they would live happily at my parents’ cottage in BC. Oscar would get along great with my mom’s Little Dog and the cats would have to get used to being indoor cats. We were all very concerned about Marty. Although Wynnie had moved around quite a bit and had been an indoor cat at my parents’ old place in Quebec, and Oscar could adapt pretty much anywhere as long as he got love, Marty had come to live in the Connecticut house as a tiny kitten. He was even bottle-fed here, he was so young. He’d always been an outdoor cat, a hunter, independent, and had never ever lived anywhere else. He’s also extremely bitey…

We had to take them all to the vet to get their health certificates, stating that they were all good to travel, and putting Marty into his cat box was a terror. Eric wore work gloves and his winter coat, and still it took 10 minutes to wrestle Marty into his box, with biting and scratching and growling so terrible that Oscar, an entire floor away, was trembling.

Then, after the vet appointment, we had to keep the cats indoors overnight while we waited for their flight the next morning. Marty was furious with us. He barred us from the kitchen where he stalked the door, lunging to attack our ankles if we even got 10 feet from him.

He settled down from pure exhaustion in the evening (you can see it in his face).

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But all throughout the night he paced our bedroom, growling and hissing. We kept Wynnie on the bed with us all night; she was too afraid to venture to the floor in fear of Marty’s wrath.

After barely any sleep at all we groggily got up and got dressed at 3:30 in the morning. All the animals could sense something wasn’t right. In an attempt to snuggle with Wynnie one last time she gave me a good-sized scratch across my thumb. Marty was a little easier to get into his box this time, but I think that’s because we were more experienced, not because he was any more willing. It was a little over an hour to the airport, and another 15 minutes trying to find the cargo terminal, and another 15 minutes trying to put Oscar crate together in the dark parking lot.

Finally we had them all loaded, the papers and forms were completed, the fees were paid. We went out to say one last goodbye to all three of them, trying to assure them all that everything would be ok in just a few hours. As we left the cargo area I turned back one last time to see Oscar watching us through his crate, seeing that at that very moment that he realized we were leaving him. He eyes were a heartbreaking mixture of pain and confusion.

As we drove home to the sun just beginning to lighten the morning sky, we tried to ignore how depressed and sad we felt to see the animals go. Once home we immediately began busying ourselves by scrubbing down and painting the entire living room, and then kitchen. If we stood still all we could think about was how empty the house now felt.

I Skyped with my mom later that evening. The animals had all been picked up safely, and were already adjusting  to their new lives. My brother was spending the night to help them get use to their new home. Oscar had already barked at the horses, and Marty was sitting on my mom’s desk, constantly growling and swatting at her whenever she got too close for his comfort. I know they’ll be a lot happier there, with people around constantly, but I definitely miss them.

Like I said, it’s been almost a month now and we’re still not use to the house being so empty. I’m a little more jumpy lately. Every time the house creaks I can no longer blame it on a cat prowling around at night, and I no longer have the assurance of Oscar scaring away the imaginary gouls that I think up.

I really very desperately want a new kitten. But how could we keep one, with us going on tour so much and no one here at the house to watch it any longer? My dream is to teach a kitten to be leash-trained, and bring it on tour with us. The biggest problem there would be what to do with it when we’re playing shows, or if someone lets us stay at their place for the night and doesn’t like cats. What we need is to get stable enough to were we could afford a hotel room every night, and then the kitten could chill there while we’re playing a gig. sigh, dreams.

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