Another Move is Coming

I did a DNA test recently and I was almost certain it would come back 100% Nomad but apparently they don’t test for that. I counted all the homes I have lived in throughout my 57 years and ran out of fingers and toes. 22 was the number I came up with and that is assuming I didn’t miss one or two. Well, soon that number will be 23.

We currently live in a 55+ mobile home community in Florida where we own our home but pay lot rent. That rent goes up every year faster than inflation. Our original plan was to buy a motor home when we retire and travel in the summer but we needed a home base that wouldn’t cost so much while we were away. We spent a lot of time looking around here but it is almost impossible to find anything but a fixer upper or a tiny home with one bathroom for less than $200,000. Condos are an option too but with their high maintenance fees they are not much better than what we are paying now.

Enter option number two. A couple of years ago I went with Rose on one of her business trips to West Virginia and Virginia. At the time she was managing an apartment complex in each of those states. I was most impressed with the town that the West Virginia property was in. It is a small town on the Ohio River of about 3500 people or so and it just seemed like a nice change of pace. We currently live in the most densely populated county in Florida and driving places can be a real drag sometimes.

We stayed at a bed and breakfast and the owners there mentioned that the house across the street was for sale. They said it would probably sell for about $40,000. The place was about as big as the bed and breakfast and Rose and I figured it would probably take another $40,000 to restore it, still an excellent deal. While the idea of buying a home there intriged us, we were not ready for that commitment.

Two years later Rose comes across a Five-bedroom, three-bath, 3000 square foot home for $159,000. The home is not only in good condition but it has a separate two-car garage that has an apartment above it that we can rent. It is also 120 years old and is on the National Historic Registry.

I always assumed we would downsize when we retire. We even talked about living on a boat in the winter and then living in a motorhome in the summer. This house is the exact opposite of what I imagined but I think we will really like it there. The photos below were taken from the website. We have not seen the house in person.

I think the cats will have a great time exploring this house but I may have a hard time getting an accurate cat count.

I was hoping to get a home with a fenced yard where we could let the cats out but this fence probably is too short to be useful. Still, I could probably figure something out so that they can enjoy the outside. Maybe we could screen in this patio for starters.

Of course, this won’t be a done deal for a couple of weeks and anything can happen before then but so far, everything seems good. For now we will be going back and forth between our two homes and eventually we will sell the Florida home.

My biggest problem has been figuring out how to best transport the cats. My original plan was to rent a cargo van and put a cat playpen in the back. (Note: I am using Amazon links so you can see what I am talking about. I am not recommending anything but I will get a small commission if you buy something). I thought I could put the three cats in the pen with a small litter box and some water and maybe food. Then we could pack the rest of the van with supplies. I didn’t think we needed to bring anything big since it would be easier to buy everything there. I also thought we could rent a car carrier and tow Rose’s car. That idea was shot down when I could barely find van rentals that were one-way and none had a towing option. In addition, the vans that were one-way had a $350 drop off fee that doubled the price.

My second option was to buy a hitch for Rose’s car and rent a trailer. I would then have to put the cats in the back seat of her two-door car which wouldn’t be easy. I thought I could find one big carrier that covered the entire back seat but no such luck. Then I found out that her sister was giving her a sofa and loveseat which meant we had to rent a truck and since we were renting a truck Rose decided to bring the bed in the spare bedroom and she also bought the mermaid dresser from the last post.

I dreaded the idea of renting the truck because we would then have to put the cats in the front seat between us for the fourteen-hour drive which would probably be sixteen hours in a truck. We decided it was too long and will split the trip in two and stay at a hotel in South Carolina.

I went to a local U-Haul location and measured the space in between the seats. I then ordered two pet crates. One crate is 18×24 inches and the other is 13 x 22 inches. I could have ordered two of the larger crates but then I would have a problem getting them both in Rose’s car on the way home. My plan is to seatbelt the larger crate between the seats and then attach the smaller crate above it. I will put Chris with Floki and Frankie by himself to minimize fighting.

The larger crate arrived last week and the cats, or at least Frankie and Floki, were very curious about it. Chris must have been napping.

I wish I could give them a bigger space but we just don’t have the room. It is the trip with the cats that I dread the most. I think, perhaps, it is because I fear the unknown. What happens if there is an accident or we break down? What if one of them escapes the hotel? I’ve never been a Boyscout but I like to be prepared.

I bought them each a collar and Tile tracker.

I wrote their names on the front and my phone number on the back. The Tile has a range of about 200 feet and you can find it using an app on your phone. There is one that has twice the range but it is also twice as heavy. The nice thing is if anyone else with a Tile app comes within range of your tile the location will be recorded for you. It is not perfect but it is an added piece of mind. We also have all the cats microchipped as well so that will help too.

So I think I am as prepared as I can be but I would welcome any suggestions and a little luck too.


41 thoughts on “Another Move is Coming

  1. onespoiledcat

    Big house! Must have had a balcony on second floor at some point? Maybe it was a multi-family home? Nice that you will have a big front porch for relaxing afternoons/evenings and watching the world and traffic go by. I would guess since you’re right on the street on one side that doing a screened in porch might be your best option for giving the cats some outside time and the space you showed where you could do a porch is nice and big too. Always exciting thinking of possibilities. My sister lives in W. Virginia – Hedgesville (up on a mountain). I’ve never moved further than a few miles with cats so not sure what’s the best way to handle a long trip but sounds like you and Rose have a good plan for that.


    1. Charles Huss Post author

      The realtor said there used to be a balcony on the second floor. Perhaps there can be again. The street in front of the house is sort of a main street that leads to the center of town. Even though it is a small town, we need to be even more careful about letting Frankie run out of the house.

  2. loisajay

    I wish you all kinds of luck! That is one huge house, but at least the cats each get their own bathroom. πŸ˜€ That door leading to the roof looks exciting–and the house is on the Historic Registry. I cannot wait until you can see the inside. It must be beautiful!

  3. databbiesotrouttowne

    I’ll make sure to copy this time. some suggestions for the trip with the cats. when you get to the hotel put the DO NOT DISTURB sign out and leave it there the entire time, so that the maid doesn’t just pop in; especially if you are going to let the crew loose in the room. If the bathroom is larger than their two cages; let them out in there with the door shut as a “just in case”. If you want them to be able to ‘stretch” their legs, harness and leash for sure, but I’d only do so IN the hotel; I’d be paranoid they’d get “loose” like at a rest area, rest stop place. make sure they can NOT get under the bed. When I was at Catster, a friend moved and her cat got up under the bed. They thought she’d ran out of the room and it was a couple of days later when they heard her up inside the box spring, and it was H trying to get her out. As dumb as this sounds; go to you tube and search for “music for cats”. They have a bunch to relieve anxiety and stress and
    you can play it on the cellphone or a tablet while driving and during the overnight. I wouldn’t
    tranquilize unless it’s an absolute must. My mom’s neighbor took off for northern MI, gave their cat a tranquilizer, and she was sick for days. Hope some of this might work and or help; sorry for the mini novelette !!! πŸ™‚

    1. Charles Huss Post author

      That is some good advice. Our vet reccomended things like childrens Benedryl and that motion sickness drug that I can’t think of right now. I don’t want to give it to them but Rose thinks we need to.

  4. Timmy Tomcat

    We think that house will be great and that porch will make a great Catio. An idea. We have a cat fence that went up easily and we now enjoy a very large 46′ x 40′ area for about 2k. It took our helper about 2 days with his son helping him for a few extra bucks. Purrs on a safe and sane journey

    1. Charles Huss Post author

      I suppose we could replace the fence that is there but we won’t have the money for that just after buying the house. I have seen rollers that attach to a fence to keep cats from jumping on it but I dont think it would work for this fence. Plus, the slats might be small enough for a skinny cat to fit through. Mayby we could set up an enclosed play area.

  5. KDKH

    Congratulations on the new home! That patio looks like it will make a terrific catio with very little work. We travel with our cats a lot; we take them in our camper. They are good travelers, provided we let them roam the truck cab and aren’t in a carrier. They seem curious of life outside the truck, but are reluctant to explore. The one time that Nami got out, she quickly allowed herself to be caught because she was spooked by the noises around us. Good luck with the trip!

  6. kittiesblue

    Wow, what an adventure you will have. Love the house. Ours is a giant brink house but only 108 years old. You do know this means you will need more cats. Anyhoo, even with a microchip and this tracker, I still suggest a name tag with your cell phone numbers and new address. Do not open the hotel door without the cats either being enclosed in the bathroom or the crates. Also, definitely enclose that porch of the new house and make a catio. You and Rose and the cats won’t be able to enjoy it year round, but it should be good for three seasons. Get ready for a shock to your systems…both temperature-wise and culturally. Wishing you lots of luck. Stop in and see us in Virginia on the way if you like! XOCK, angel Lily Olivia, angel Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo, Cooper Murphy and Sawyer

  7. 15andmeowing

    That is a big move. I am glad you are preparing so the cats will be safe. I have only lived 2 places- my childhood home until I got married at 23 and my current home since then.

  8. Summer

    That is a cool house! My human doesn’t recommend giving drugs to the cats, as sometimes it has the opposite effect of agitating them rather than keeping them calmer. Sometimes the vet will warn you about that, and sometimes they don’t.

    1. Charles Huss Post author

      I would like to not do that too but my wife is insistant. Maybe I can talk he out of it and just have it in case we need it. Someone else said it made their cat sick.

  9. David

    Best wishes on the move. I think you will do fine.

    When we moved from the burbs to North Ranch, I was concerned about the cats getting lose especially with the door open bringing in the furniture and the boxes. The outdoor critters are wildlife, and they don’t exactly mix domestic cats, not unless they’re barn cats. (Barn cats know how to handle wildlife.) The car ride with four meowing cats in carriers went better than expected. Inside the new house, they went into the master suite with their litterboxes, closed the door. On the new house, we have a second level porch. First thing I made was screen inserts for the porch. The second thing I made was another set of screen inserts for a small balcony on the third level. (The first level is a full basement with French doors to the outside.) If going into the backyard from the patio is a must, you’ll need a screen door. If not, easy way is to screen the whole patio. Amazon has animal grade (read: cats) screen material. The screening is DIY, but if you want it much nicer looking and have that screen door to the yard, you might need a contractor.

    I think when you move in, Frankie, Chris and Floki might be more interested in exploring inside rather than being outside. You really got to keep an eye on them, closer to their crates when while traveling. You might need to put a leash on them and tie it to the room’s furniture when you stop at the hotel. Most important: no feeling sorry for them while they are confined to their crates or when they are tied to a leash. Do not disturb placard, noted earlier in the comments, that’s a good piece of advice.

    Again, best wishes on the move.

    1. Charles Huss Post author

      Thank you. The do not disturb is great advice. We definitely will put them in one room while we unload the truck and I will probably leave their collars on with their tile tags until I feel comfortable that they won’t escape.


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