Leaving Malaysia was a wrench, and with Target, Tic Tac and Inkie facing a 14-hour flight, plus waiting time at both ends, we were terrified for them.
Thankfully, we all made it in one piece. We are safe and well in Britain!
After our happy reunion in Heathrow airport's pet hotel, we piled into the taxi and drove up north to our new home in Thornaby, Middlesborough.
We gazed out the window but were too shattered to note much beyond lots of green space and rows of well cared for houses.
Drawing up a small road, we found Tom waiting for us. Tic Tac stepped out of her carrier and went straight over, delighted to see him again. Inkie peeked out and followed.
Target sat in the back of his carrier, eyes wide with tension. From his point of view, he'd been poked about by Malaysian vets, ripped out of his home, bounced about in cars, flown in a weird metal tube, poked about by British vets and now he was in an unfamiliar place with weird smells.
My heart ached for my old boy. I lay on the floor and assured him he was safe.
A few years ago, Target got stuck on the little roof. When I clambered up on the garden wall and reached up, Target trusted me. He let me pluck him off the tiles, whisk him through the air and carry him back to safety.
This time he trusted me again; Target exited his crate.
We had a cuddle, a long drink, a small meal, and then he went straight to bed, curled up in the cupboard on a pile of T-shirts. Both Tic Tac and Inkie joined him, all purring in a furry pile.
On our first whole day in our new home, the two young cats were caught up exploring. They dug into the new deep litter trays Tom had set up and were excited about carpeted stairs and windows that looked out on neighbours walking dogs.
Target looked about briefly but he wanted to lie down and sleep.
When we closed the cupboard, he huddled in dark corners: Underneath the kitchen cabinets and then below the stairs. We opened the cupboard for him again but worried.
In the weeks leading up to the flight in Malaysia, the cats had two mandated vet visits and one rather traumatic blood-drawing, followed by another vet inspection in England. Target had chewed his furry paws from nerves. Also, the long flight had stiffened him up. He walked like an old boy.
Finally, after a lifetime in tropical Malaysia, Target found Britain chilly. When his ears felt cold to us, we whacked up the heat.
On top of the move, our new home needed a new floor, paint, and appliances. In the light of the cats’ recent trauma, and the expected tradesmen coming in and out, we decided the furries needed a bolthole.
With Brits not being polar bears, the shops are full of woollies and throws. We bought Target a heated blanket and set about building a cat tent.
We rejected a single small fleece; the cats needed the comfort of company. So, we aimed at a large warm space that would hold all three cats comfortably.
Given Target loved the cupboard, we set up there. Using clips and hangers, we got the heated blanket to cover the floor, run up the back wall and then curve over, creating a warm mini cave. Tom's puffer jacket on one side and my blue pullover on the other prevented drafts.
A towel provided flooring. We added the formerly dreaded purple bed which had come into its own, given the change in climate. To complete the heat seal, we covered the open side with Target's turtle batik.
It's not much to look at, but the cats think it's paradise.
Target dived in, turned around three times, and sank into a purring sleep. Inkie was in seconds later. Our dark fluff loves a hot nap as much as anyone. But what really excited our youngest was bunking with Target.
Although Target has never rejected him outright, Inkie's hero worship has never been satisfied. Sharing the cat retreat was just nuts to Inkie. He snuggled with Target, licking his ears, and getting whisker rubs in return.
Tic Tac was torn between the excitement of watching dogs walk by and toasting her fur with the boys. She split her days, alternating between window surveillance and siestas with the boys.
Outside, the temperature plummeted. We had frost and then the cats got to see their first snow.
Thanks to the cat cave, all the furries are toasty comfy. It has also worked miracles for Target's health. His paws have healed. He walks easily. His neck fur is growing back. He's eating like a small pony and looking chipper.
Even better, he is back to his old self.
Five nights ago, he woke me up three times, crawling in under the duvet and demanding headbutts and whisker rubs. Since then, he's popped in and out of his cave domain, checking out every inch of the house.
Tail up, whiskers twirling, he approved of the carpet and windows. However, he has voiced a complaint. The cargo boat arrived three weeks ago but the shipper couldn’t deliver. So we're still sleeping on the floor and there's no furniture.
Target does not approve. He walks around the empty house, glancing about with ears half back in disapproval.
Thankfully, our stuff will be delivered this week. By the time you read this, we hope to have Target reunited with his sofa and rugs.
I expect that he will want to hang on to his cave, at least until the spring, and that’s OK with us. Sharing cupboard space will make him happy and it may be the push I need to fold up my clothes neatly.
Details of the flight are in a special feature later this month, together with other stories of relocated Malaysian pets.
Binky and Inky are neutered but not yet vaccinated. These ladies were living rough on the street when rescued. They are young cats, about three to four years old. Binky and Inky are inseparable, playing and wrestling together. Binky is a little shy and has to learn to trust people. Inky is very chatty! They would prefer to be placed together in a home with no other cats. Interested adopters, please text Mrs Loo in Kelana Jaya at 016-356 2968.