The Manny Chronicles Part 2: Manny’s Big Adventure

by brandt

We started with the best of intentions.  We were careful.  We researched, and waited until the very last-minute.  But it was all for naught.

I present to you part 2 of the Manny Chronicles: Manny’s Big Adventure.

Manny-Cat is Intrigued.

It started innocently enough.  We wanted to start sleeping in our new place as soon as possible, so we would get home from work, change clothes, and start loading and unloading our cars, making as many trips as possible within a 5 hour span between the apartment and the house.  The cats had no clue what was going on.  They would see us walk in the door, grab stuff, shut the door, and be right back a few minutes later.  They’re cats.  They don’t really care about that kind of stuff.

When we finally got around to unpacking and unloading the bed, we realized that we were going to have a conundrum.  We could move the cats over to our new place and rig something together to contain them within a designated area, or we could leave them at our (somewhat) empty apartment overnight, where we wouldn’t see them from 8PM until 5PM the next day.

We decided to be humane.  We decided to be kind.  As the opening scene in “The Godfather” (only the greatest movie ever made…EVER) lays out, “I believe in America…”  So we decided to take the cats with us.

After researching the habits of cats, I found that they’re much different then dogs when their surroundings change.  Cats are very independent, dogs just want to be with their masters.  You can take a dog to a new place, and as long as you’re with the dog, they’ll be happy.  But cats are habitual animals that are used to their territory, their smells, and everything being familiar.  And while we were thinking that putting the cats in the basement while we were away during the day at work would be a good first step, we don’t have a door on the basement.  Plus, it’s almost too much room for them to roam around in.  So we grabbed one of the spare bedrooms at the other end of the hall, put their litter boxes/food/water (food and water were as far away from the litter boxes as possible), their bed, toys, and familiar things (for example, their rug they rub and flop on) in there for them.

Well, as I mentioned last time we did the Manny Chronicles, Manny doesn’t do well in cars.  Probably because the last time he was in a car, he was at a doctor who poked, prodded, and shoved a thermometer up his rear-end.  I wouldn’t be happy about that either.  So as we put them in their cages, the crying started.  Whatever.  We weren’t hurting them, so I wasn’t concerned.

We finally got them to the new place, got them in their room, and it was like we had just brought home new kittens.  They were scared, tentative, curious, anxious.  By the end of the night, they were fine.  We didn’t hear them until the next morning, when I went in to sit with them for a little bit.  Usually, they’re rambunctious and alert in the mornings, following us around and meowing all the while.  But being put in this room where they didn’t have free reign was difficult for them.

So I got home from work last night and decided to take a break from moving and introduce the cats to the house.  Along the same theme as “The Shawshank Redemption, they had the ability to leave, but didn’t know how to assimilate to the new house.  Instead of walking confidently with their tails sticking straight up in the air, they slinked low to the ground all snake-like, with their tail cautiously wrapped around their body.  They were terrified of the stairs, which seemed very daunting to them for some reason.  They would come out of their room only to wander around the bedroom across from them, or the bathroom adjacent to them.

I wasn’t concerned.  They’ll come down when they come down.  I laid on the couches on the main floor, resting, until Ashley came home.  Both our cats have bells on them, so I could hear one of them was getting more daring.  It sounded like he was coming down the stairs.  And then I heard the door open.

Ashley came in the door at about 5:30, and the first thing she wanted to do was see her kitties.  Well, we went upstairs, and she found Toby, but couldn’t find Manny.  I figured he was off hiding somewhere, and went back to laying on the couch.  At around 6:30, we decided to head back to the apartment to grab the couple of things we needed to get through the work day tomorrow.  Ashley was a little concerned that we couldn’t find Manny, but I told her that they were probably just exploring their surroundings, including every nook and corner, and jokingly said we might see them next week sometime.  As a matter of fact, I posted this at 6:30 on Twitter.

We ran home to pack up some more things, and we started freaking out. Was there the slight possibility that Manny could have slipped out when Ashley opened the door? Only slightly. But where else could he be? As we did our driving, we started freaking out more. We got home, and the search began. We looked in every nook, cranny, and awkward space we could find. Between the washer and the wall, behind the dryer, in every closet, in every cabinet, under every table, bed, and desk, and on every shelf. Nothing. And the worst part? We could hear his bell. Toby was fine staying on the 2nd floor, so we took his bell off to make sure that we weren’t hearing him. Even still, we could hear a slight jingling and faint meowing, and it was driving us nuts.

Ashley was starting to get a bit sad. Was Manny outside? Was he cold? He’s an indoor cat, he doesn’t know how to survive outside. And Toby! His friend was missing! He was probably depressed! (As a matter of fact, we found him in our closet on the shelves, sitting in his huddled “awkward duck” position just sitting). Where else could he possibly be? Brandt, why aren’t you getting sad about this? (He’s a cat, Ashley). You usually care more about this cat than I do! (He’ll be fine, they have natural instincts for this kind of stuff).

At around 10:00, I was finishing up some of the final pieces of some projects I was working on when I heard it. I was walking down the stairs, and it was…well…clear as a bell.

I tried re-checking all the places I thought it could be coming from, and had no clue. Ashley saw me with a frantic look on my face, and said “You heard the bell didn’t you? See, I knew I wasn’t crazy.” I was looking through the same cabinets that I had looked through 4 different times when I heard a faint “meow.” This time we both looked at each other. We definitely heard it that time, and it wasn’t Toby’s high-pitched squeaking meow. It was Manny’s desperate, over-dramatic howl.

It sounded almost like Manny was in the walls. “Could he be on top of the roof?” Ashley asked. I didn’t think so. That would be too far for him to go. The only thing we could think of to potentially draw him out would be to take a tin can and tap on the lid, what we used to do for the kitties when we fed them wet food. We didn’t have a metal spoon (we’re still unpacking! Don’t judge me please!!!), so I grabbed a can of tuna and a combination wrench, and we walked through the house tapping on the edge of the can calling Manny’s name. We didn’t hear anything upstairs, but it was on the main floor somewhere. Ashley continued tapping, I was listening to figure out where the sound was coming from. We narrowed it down to the main floor near the stairs. As I stood in the kitchen, she stood near the stairs and called for the cat. She heard him again, and said “He’s definitely down the basement.” Of course he was. The place that I went over with a fine-toothed comb 4 times already.

We ventured down there, stood at the base of the stairs and tapped and called for him again. We heard him clear as day, but had no clue where he was. I turned on all the lights, and looked in every awkward corner I could find. Nothing. Ashley said he might be on top of the furnace vents. I looked up there, and nothing. Could he possibly have gotten inside one of the vents? I hope not…and nothing. I had this crazy idea that if we turned the lights off, we might find him. We turned all the lights off, including the lights going up the stairs, and stood there with my small little flashlight calling for him. All the sudden, we see this tiny head poke out from a bookcase (which I had looked over 4 times), tentatively walking towards us. As soon as he was within arm’s reach, we grabbed him, and took him upstairs to the room we had him in.

As we showed Toby who we found, he looked very disinterested. Ashley was beside herself with happiness, I was relieved, and then the most curious thing happened. Manny went to the bathroom in his litter box, got something to drink, rubbed his head against our feet…and then stood in front of the door. You’ve got to be kidding me. This jerkface cat wants out of his room? After we lost him for 5+ hours? No. Wrong. Think again.

This morning, I popped my head in, and the same routine. Rubbing head and tail on me, purring…and then as I got up to go out of the room and keep them in, he was weaseling his head out every way possible.

When we get home tonight, we’ll re-introduce them to the rest of the house, but if Manny gets lost again? I’m not even going to worry about it.



4 Comments to “The Manny Chronicles Part 2: Manny’s Big Adventure”

  1. Haha cats are so funny. With our open floorplan, we didn’t really have anywhere to segregate the cats when we moved in. When we moved them to my inlaw’s place, they stayed in the basement for a month and I think it helped them get comfortable. But there they had 2 new adults, stairs which they had never seen, the sound of a garage opening, and the sound of toilets flusing above them (which drove Macky insane!).

    So we had no real plan going to our house, which made me extremely nervous. But the day we brought them over? Macky and Darwin went behind the couch and took a nap and Mowie immediately explored the whole house. She’s the type of cat that can’t relax until she’s sure there are no monsters anywhere. When Macky and Darwin woke up, they both did the same. We were shocked! By the end of the day, the 3 of them had wandered upstairs and decided that our bedroom was their favorite. How did they know?? They couldn’t have picked their own room? I guess they smelled us up there or something 🙂

    Good luck and I’m sure by the end of the weekend, you’ll never know they just moved in!

  2. Jerkface cat!

    We lost Dots once at the old house (that we were house-sitting), and once at the new house. Not in the house though. Outside. Because she’s tricksy like that. The first time, she decided to take herself for a walk (that property wasn’t fenced, but they never wandered off. ever.) She finally came walking back up the road after about 10-15 minutes of us freaking the heck out. Aand then at our current house she decided to sneak out the front door when Robert took the trash out. Something she had NEVER done before. That time we didn’t even notice she was gone (because she usually puts herself to bed about the time he takes the trash out). Eventually (maybe half an hour later) we realized she wasn’t in the house, and when we looked outside she standing on the driveway across the street looking at us.

    What the heck, dog? I blame Freckles. I think he shoved the storm door open (Dots doesn’t push doors open) and she decided she wanted to go for a walk.

  3. bahahahahaha! maddie always finds the highest ground to watch the moving shenanigans at. usually on top of the fridge or on a high ledge. last time she slept there for 2 days before she decided the floor was indeed not lava. bahaha!

    good thing you found manny! this was pretty entertaining my friend =) esp since ive been in that situation before!

  4. Haha, tricky cats! You’re right, the dogs are happy as long as we’re in eyesight.

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