Snuggles Disappears!

March 1, 2024 at 2:45 p.m.
Louise with Snuggles, safe and sound at the new home
Louise with Snuggles, safe and sound at the new home Louise R. Smith

This essay by Louise Smith is from our archives. It is the third in a series about Louise and Snuggles the cat. 

Thirty years of enjoyable lakeside living was culminated when my daughter, Ann and her husband, Larry, sold their home on Lake Washington.

They looked forward to the move into their retirement home, in its last stage construction, at Oak Bay on the Olympic Peninsula. Since I had made my home with them at the beginning of my “twilight” years, I was fortunate enough to be included in the monumental move, accompanied by my six-year-old Ragdoll cat, Snuggles. 

The arrival of the movers at 8am sharp, with their humongous truck, set the pace for mass confusion, excitement and trauma that covered the big event.

Being a warm day, windows and doors were constantly left open, prompting a warning to the movers that Snuggles was strictly an indoor cat, never permitted to be outside, and to make sure he didn’t escape. 

Ha! By 11:30am Ann and I were packed and ready to head out for the ferry carrying us across Puget Sound to our new home. “Where is Snuggles?” I shouted. My quarters, his sanctuary, had been completely stripped. I checked my bathroom, all the closets and his favorite hiding places. No sign of him! None of the movers had a clue as to his whereabouts. 

My imagination was boundless. He could have easily squirted outside and been gobbled up by the eagles nested nearby. Or met his demise from a run-in with a neighbor’s huge hound dog, or even a coyote. Could he have possibly sprinted off of the dock into the lake and drowned? Or hopefully, he had sought out some familiar furnishings stacked in the moving van. Two hours of fruitless searching were to no avail. The entire neighborhood was recruited to participate in the “Snuggles Alert.” Rewards were offered. But Snuggles was not to be found and we had to leave or miss another ferry. Snuggles had vanished. And he was not to be found tucked away in the movers truck.

At 9:30 that night, Emmy, the next-door neighbor, phoned to inform us that she had made a final search through the emptied house, entering each room and shaking Snuggles’ bottle of treats I left with her, the sound of which would normally bring him running. On the top shelf in my bathroom, as far back as he could crawl, Snuggles slowly emerged, attracted by the tinkle of the treat bottle. 

Larry made a trip to the vacated house the next day and returned the elusive kitty to us and his new home. Though I can’t say that Snuggles has confided in me his great joy in the big move, he doesn’t seem to want me out of his sight. I have two pillows on my bed; one that I sleep on, and the other Snuggles has appropriated as his very own, completely ignoring the comfy bed purchased for him while in the other house. He focuses his energies on looking out the many windows and delights in sitting inside the French doors that open onto a deck overlooking the water. The area abounds with various species of birds which Snuggles enjoys scaring into flight if they venture close enough onto the deck to spot him through the window lying in wait.

Yes, he had returned once more into the role of one “happy camper” in his new surroundings with no more disappearing acts, we hope. 

* * *

Tips to Help your Cat Survive a Move 

Cats like routine and hate change. It will take four to six months for a cat to adapt to new surroundings.

The advice is to keep cats strictly inside with no chance to escape for at least one month at their new home, making sure they drink and eat. Cats can become stressed, and their health can suffer because of a move.


  • Find a safe, quiet place for your pet, such as the bathroom, and place a large sign DO NOT ENTER on the door. Make sure friends and movers know this room is off limits. Or…
  • Before the final move, set up your pet in the new home in a closed room with his familiar toys, litter box, fresh water and food. Or…
  • Board your pet during the move.
  • ALWAYS transport your cat in your car in a carrier, NEVER in a moving van.
  • After the move, shower your pet with love and patience.

Louise Smith was a retired newspaper editor and frequent contributor to Northwest Prime Time. I was utterly charmed by Louise when I met her years ago. I remember thinking to myself that I hoped to become more like her as I grew older. She passed away at 95 & one-half in 2009. To learn more about Louise, read a funny, heartfelt tribute by another frequent Northwest Prime Time contributor, former associate editor Suzanne Beyer. Here is the link – I recommend you give it a go. Reading it brought a tear and a hearty chuckle:
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