Look at how sweet he is. Under his seemingly unassuming exterior lies a big case of bada$$ery. He is the most interesting cat in the world (click here for the backstory to the backstory).
Our move has gone quite well by most any standard. Other than the normal trauma of uprooting, relocating, and resettling, we have very little to complain about. Situated several miles outside the beltway of DC, our little town is fairly new in the grand scheme of things, and is entirely suburban, green, and quiet. Our little neighborhood within the town is into all things "natural," which in modern suburban terms means that we have nicely-groomed bits of nature scattered along our paved walkways (which I used to mock, but now that I'm better acquainted with Lyme Disease, I'm kind of in favor of paving paradise to put up a parking lot between me & the ticks), a nature center with small animals inside (including a corn snake) and fountained, algae-filled pond out front, clearly labeled with a "DO NOT TOUCH OR CONSUME THIS WATER" sign, and to their credit they did leave a good amount of woodlands in place when building in the area. That, or they put in the woodlands when they were turning farms into subdivisions around 10 years ago. Or some combination of both; I'm not really clear on the history of Ashburn yet. Anyway, on top of all that LOTS of the people are runners here. Half of me fits in perfectly. The other half good-naturedly mocks our semi-green, natural-esque ways.
My cat, however, has found his utopia with this move.
His first impression of Virginia was not good at all. We stayed in an extended-stay hotel for our first several weeks here, where Nipples was kept inside and spent his days sullenly plotting his next escape attempt. He destroyed one carrier, broke out of another one, and very-nearly forced us to buy a crate on the order of padlocked steel bars before we figured out how to keep him in his brand-new hard-sided carrier. I became the cat-catcher, hunting him down and carrying him back to our room for the majority of the times he succeeded in leaving our room, and found myself preparing my story before going out in public--"No sir, it really was my cat who gave me these marks."
Eventually we arrived in our house and unwisely succumbed to cat-parent-guilt, letting him out the first day. He promptly disappeared for three days, and we grew worried that he had:
a) Ditched us to head back to Wyoming
b) Met an untimely demise, similar to his predecessor
c) Wandered too far too soon and gotten disoriented
So I called the local animal shelter and posted on our HOA forums. Within a day we had a call that Nipples was in fact just a few streets over. Our neighborhood is arranged with great walking paths and greenways between the streets (perfect for wandering kitties and people), but not knowing how close he actually was, the Cat Daddy drove the long way to the area where he'd been sighted and found him sauntering down the sidewalk. When called, Nipples walked right over for hello-pats and followed the Cat Daddy back to the car. Upon entering the house he descended upon his food dish, devouring two helpings of kitty food and growling softly to make sure we didn't take it away. We put a fresh collar on him with our new address, and all was well with the world.
After that he was a little more tentative in his wanderings and did a much better job of orienting himself to his surroundings and finding his way back home to check in as he gradually increased his wandering radius. He also realized that he had adoring neighbors, as well as ample small wildlife to hunt, right nearby.
And that's when he decided to take the world--or at least our neighborhood--by storm...