Meet Simon – he’s a very special kitty. This isn’t him, but he is Siamese. He lived happily in the Bayshore Animal Hospital, who is our favorite local vet. He was allowed to come and go as he pleased. But he always came in at night. He had a good life, welcomed animals that were in for treatment, comforted humans waiting for their animal friends, and was loved very much by the vets and staff at the clinic. This was home. He showed up as a kitten and had lived in the clinic his entire life.
The original clinic was a large mobile home that had been been used for years. But their successful business and the need for a larger space was becoming evident. So last summer, construction began on a new larger facility that was located right in back of the original one. Simon watched the construction with curiosity and anxiety. What was this new building? Why was it being built in his back yard? Who was going to live there?
Finally construction was complete the day came when it was time to move to the new building. Simon watched as his humans and all their things were loaded out of his home and into the new facility. It can be chaotic in moves like this, equipment, office materials, medical equipment etc. And throughout the move, Simon became more and more anxious.
Animals are very literal. Simon didn’t understand that the brand new building was going to be his home too. To him, everyone had left him. His home was vacated of all his humans and animals. Confused and scared, he packed up and left.
I was called and asked if I could locate him through my skills as an animal communicator. But lost animals are not my forte. They are difficult to work with in that they are scared, constantly on the move, and rarely sit and wait for you to find them. I talked with him and he told me he was “in his body”. Animals know when they are still in their body and when they’ve moved to spirit. So I knew he was out there. But where?
He showed me a wooded area behind the building. He told me he hunted for food and was hiding back there. He was scared and not willing to come near the new hospital. He may have seen some of his human friends from his vantage point in the woods, but he wasn’t willing to risk coming out. Meanwhile, the devastated staff were doing everything they could to find him. They put up fliers and set traps in areas they thought he be, and also a place I suggested. The result? They captured several strays who who were kindly neutered and released back into their familiar environment.
Meanwhile, the old clinic was moved to a location down the road a few blocks. It sat there, sadly broken in half. The plan was to move it back to the property and create a second building for other uses.
Simon had been missing for three months when one day I happened to be in a shop across the street from the old clinic. It looked so sad and kind of creepy broken in half up on blocks. I had visited this old place many times with my kitties and it looked sad and lonely in the rain. But I had a “hit” – Simon was there somewhere – in his home.
I called the new clinic and reported that I was fairly sure he was in there. But since that day was so stormy and there was no way to get into the mobile home sitting high on blocks, I couldn’t get in to search. Turns out the staff had thought the same thing and many had made frequent visits to the old building, calling his name, hoping he was there and would respond. Nothing.
Finally the day came to return the old mobile home/clinic to the original property. One of the vets watched as the large trucks slowly moved the building down the street in order to return it to its original spot. And what did he see? Simon. He jumped out of the building as it was being placed and scampered into the woods.
When cats have been away for as long as Simon had been, they go into “survival mode”. They don’t respond to those they once loved. They simply have the basics on their mind: find food, find shelter, and don’t approach any humans whether they know them or not. He wouldn’t come to the calls of his loved ones, but stayed hidden in the woods AND his home. No one could get him to come to them and traps still weren’t working.
But one stormy night, one of the techs was called in for a late night emergency. The rain and wind were howling and it was pitch black. She decided to try again and went to the empty mobile home sitting whole next to the new hospital, and called his name. She heard a faint “meow” and that’s when he decided to give up life on the run. That’s when he finally came out.
Skin and bones and still terrified, Simon was finally home. He was greeted with lots of love, happiness, good food, and a warm place to sleep. He came home on Christmas Eve which was the best gift of all for the staff at Bayshore.
Animals understand everything we say to them. I have clients that want me to tell their animals they love them – when this is something they can do themselves. If Simon had been shown the new facility each night as it was being built, if it had all explained to him that they were moving and so was he, this may have been avoided. But then again, animals have free will and he may not have accepted any attempts to acclimate him to his new space. He may have done exactly what he did. Run for it!
But to me, this is a perfect lesson in talking with our animals about upcoming moves. Tell them where you’re going. While you’re telling them, hold a mental “picture” of the new home in you mind. Tell them who will be coming (and who won’t). Tell them that all their toys and beds will be waiting for them when the moving day comes. Many people make the unintentional mistake of taking for granted that our animal friends will simply come along with us to a new home and after a few days – accept that this is now their new dwelling. But many animals don’t. They become afraid and think they’ll do better on their own. Or if they’ve been relocated miles away, they may even try and make the journey back to their original house.
When you are planning a move, you don’t need an animal communicator. You can explain yourself (without too much detail) what is going to happen. Always keep outdoor cats in for a minimum of 10 days (longer if you can) so that they adjust to their new surroundings. Then slowly let them out to explore their new territory. Make sure you stay with them and talk with them as they explore. After a week or so of short outings, if you feel confident that they understand that this is home – then let them roam for themselves. Cats are real home bodies. And they need to understand and feel comfortable in their new homes and surroundings.
There are many smiling and happy humans today at this wonderful Christmas “miracle”: Simon’s return. I made a phone call today, nearly three weeks later, to hear an update on Simon. I was told that he’s doing great.
And he hasn’t even tried to venture outdoors.
The real Simon: