Sixteen months after moving to Myrtle Beach, it was time to go back to Florida. Rose was asked to manage the property she left when she was an assistant manager. It was another promotion for her since the Florida property was more than double the size of the Myrtle Beach property. More importantly, we really wanted to go back to where we belonged.
Since Rose did not want to live on the property, we ended up renting a condo at the same complex that we used to own. We knew it was nice there and did not want any unpleasant surprises, since we couldn’t see the rentals first hand.
The big problem was that renting almost always means two pets. This place had a two pet rule in their bylaws. When we owned it was easier to sneak in a few extra cats, but as a renter, forget it. We decided we could get away with no more than three. That meant that two cats had to go. It was something I was not prepared to do and even tried to talk Rose into moving into one of her own apartments. At least I would have some pull with the landlord. Unfortunately, that did not work.
It was decided that Princess was an obvious choice because she didn’t like any of the other cats and absolutely despised Abbey. She would spend her days hiding under Rose’s dressing table and hiss and growl at Abbey when she came in the same room. Tony, the maintenance supervisor, took Princess for his little girls, who planned on spoiling her.
The next choice was difficult. Chris, we knew, could not be tolerated by anybody and would wind up back at the shelter so, in this case, being bad was good, for him anyway.
That left Tigger and the sister and brother, Abbey and Alex. It was not a matter of which one we cared about more, it was who we thought would be less affected by the separation. In this case, being good was bad. Alex turned out to be the better choice to stay behind because he wasn’t as needy. He also seemed to have become more of a loner as he aged. Don’t get me wrong, he was one of the friendliest cat I knew, he just was becoming less social with the other cats.
Alan, the maintenance technician, took Alex. It was nice to know our cats had someone to take care of them. I could not leave them in a cage at a shelter.
I brought Alex to Alan’s apartment a couple of days before we left and then went over a couple of times to visit him. He seemed happy there. I hated to leave him but that’s life sometimes.
I decided to plan the drive to Florida better than the drive to South Carolina. The first time we drove straight through and that was hard on the cats. This time I calculated the half-way point to be somewhere near the Florida border. I had checked hotels in Brunswick Georgia and Jacksonville Florida and found the ones near the expressway that took pets. This time we were going to leave later in the day and spend the night at a hotel.
On November 12, 2010, we spent all morning and part of the afternoon loading the rental truck. When that was done, we were left with the hard part, packing the cats. We had to put the cats between us on the front seat of the truck. In the large carrier, we put Tigger and Abbey because they get along well together. Chris went on top in the small carrier because we thought he would appreciate being able to look out the window.
The cats were pretty good for the most part and we made it to Jacksonville before stopping for the night. They were all happy to be out of their boxes, especially Chris, who had to investigate every nook and cranny of the hotel room.
The next day we drove the rest of the way to Dunedin. When we arrived we had two men come and help us unload the truck. That took many hours and the cats had to be shut up in the bathroom the entire time. I supposed after being in a truck all morning, it was a welcome respite.
Our new place had two levels and Chris shot up and down the stairs like an old pro. He would sometimes skip two or three stairs as he bounded down, usually hitting the ground floor and sliding into the bathroom door. Abbey, however, would come down very carefully, first the two front feet then the two rear feet, one step at a time.
The biggest problem with our new home was that our patio was not screened nor could it be, so the cats had to stay inside. The other cats didn’t mind but poor Chris was like a bird with no wings.