In our move, some of the hardest things to leave behind were our pets. Two cats and a dog; Alliecat, Fat Sassa, and Fisher, our 100 lb neurotic lab, remain in the US with 'foster parents' in our home.
The kids and I really miss them and though we could have brought them to Switzerland, it was very hard to find a flat that met our human needs. Seemed like a poor idea to turn down a flat because it didn't meet the animal needs. The flat we ultimately chose is strictly "no dogs allowed". Didn't ask about the cats. We had already made arrangements for their care. Besides having a cat in Switzerland poses an unusual challenge.
Most homes in Switzerland lack screens. Windows are open all year. In fact, our lease stipulates we thoroughly air out the flat three times a day; who can work with a demand like that? If you live on the first floor, egress is then a simple process (there are surprisingly few flying insects other than flys). What is in can get out and what is out can get in..provided the window is open.
Within a week or so of moving in a cat came to visit. A medium gray tiger with a bobbed tail showed up in the garden. Caroline was so happy to meet her, she picked her right up. And got bit. A bunch of tears and some antibiotic later, Caroline was a bit more careful when the cat reappeared. The next time though, the cat was much better behaved. She set up a fairly regular visitation schedule. She'd stay awhile, then wander away.
Meanwhile I'd met a neighbor across the very busy street. Turns out it was her cat, Laudia. We made a slight modification to her name and called her 'Naughtia' (first bite not forgotten). Naughtia eventually came to feel comfortable enough to jump in a window and wander through the flat. She'd turn up under the coffee table in a sunny patch, in Caroline's room buried in a pile of stuffed animals, on the patio curled up on my rocker, under the dining room table, the couch...
I thought it was a lovely way to have a pet. A cat share. Purr-fect. Then I saw a post by my friend on an expat website, "10 bags of cat food. Free." Uh oh. Laudia had been killed crossing the street.
Laudia came to visit at just the right time. She helped three kids and their mom, in a difficult readjustment period, feel a little bit more at home. I felt somewhat guilty encouraging her to visit when I knew she crossed the street. Her owner assured me she had lots of friends on this side.
I bet she did.