I have not mentioned it much for fear of raising concerns that I am both a crazy cat lady and/or a bad pet owner, but I moved down to the U.S. without my kitties, Wilbur and Coco. Instead, my idea was that they would stay with my friend who is renting my house in Canada until I settled in down here.

But a bad thing happened. My friend has a dog. And while the dog has no issue with kitties, she is rambunctious and overly friendly, and would bound up to her new furry housemates wanting to say hello and perhaps even engage in some harmless play. It became apparent that neither Wilbur nor Coco could tell the difference between a bounding, tail-wagging dog and one that wanted to rip their heads off and eat them for lunch. Distressed and miserable, they literally moved out and into my next-door-neighbour’s house, seemingly heartbroken that their family had abandoned them and left them with a stinking Scottish terrier.

To say this caused me many weepy and sleepless nights is an understatement. I am disturbingly, maternally attached to the cats — they were like little rays of sunshine in my life, both real love junkies who adore their people.

My neighbours, bless them, were happy to provide a safe and dog-free haven for a few weeks until I could arrange to bring the cats down. And finally … finally!!! … the children’s father drove them down to the U.S. this weekend, Canadian Thanksgiving.

Let me assure people who feel cats are cold, unfeeling and dumb of one thing: they are far smarter and far more attached to the people in their lives than even I realized. As soon as their carrier bags were zipped open, those two cats came leaping out and knew exactly who we were and that they were finally reunited with us. There was purring, trilling, rolling around on their backs for tummy rubs, leg-rubbing, and more purring before they even got down to the serious business of checking out their new house. They knew who we were, they remembered, they wondered where the hell we’d gone and it was very clear that they were elated to be back with their family despite an 11-hour drive.

It’s only been two days now and they’re wandering the house like they own it, sleeping on our legs every night, and purring with delight every time we glance at them. I am so happy to have them back!