The natural inclination is to view my cats with the same loving affection I afford my son--to see their little quirks and imperfections as unique elements of their personalities, not good or bad but simply them. This rose-colored view has become more difficult in the process of selling our house. Now we have to be concerned with the needs and sensitives of strangers, and that forces us to look at our cats' charming proclivities as, er, problems.
The cats are their own souls, completely singular. Edgar is a sweet, fat, lazy boy whose difficulty finding the litter box and anxious bowels create messy, unpleasant situations when you're asking people to come into your house, relax, and imagine it as their own.
Poe, on the other hand, loves NO ONE save mommy and daddy, and openly shows her displeasure at those who invade her space (i.e. any part of our house). She has been known to corner guests on top of their beds, to chase cleaning people and sitters around the kitchen island, hissing, baring claws, and generally scaring the wits out of them.
So imagine coming to our open house: you walk in, notice the lovely floor plan, the beautiful windows, the great kitchen, and just as you are saying to yourself, "I could live here," you are greeted by an angry black cat ready to slice off your Achilles. You run frantically around the room, tour forgotten, trying to find a means of escape--a hissing, angry mass at your heels--and there at the door where salvation lies, you step into a wet puddle--or worse.
Good first impression, no?
So we decided to corral the kitties while we showed our home; first at the open house, then whenever needed as new appointments arose. This experiment did not go fantastically. We brought them over to our in-laws place just around the corner and thought they would find the familiar smells comforting. Not so much. They did fine while they were there (in spite of Poe's attempt to crawl into every small, dark space and Edgar's multiple attempts to mark his territory), but when we returned home they were both emotional wrecks. They hissed at each other, fought with us, and seemed to feel generally betrayed.
We have since had to evacuate them two more times (a private showing just before we sold and the inspection this weekend). The effect of these banishments have made them even more uneasy and off-kilter.
I had no idea how difficult it would be to simultaneously sell our house and keep the kitties happy, but I am so thankful that the process is nearly over with. Can you imagine if we hadn't sold in record time, if I was carting the cats away every day or two so buyers could look at a welcoming, pee-free house?
I can only say thank you thank you to the gods of cats and real estate.
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