After much thought, I decided to replace the Manor with another Villa (Liberta Oregon flight cage).
Though I wanted something with the same space as the Manor, I also wanted something that was not so tall & heavy. ‘Heavy’ in a cage is a good thing as it indicates strength & durability, but over time I was finding it awkward & on the occasions when I dropped the bottom grid on my foot, painful!
The existing Silver Villa ticks quite a few boxes (not all – I doubt there is a cage in existence that has no bad points!) Apart from needing to be a reasonable size, the other main thing it had to have was an adequately big central door, to enable easier catching of an occupant. So, another Villa was chosen. There are added bonuses: in the short term it would have a low scariness level in regards to introduction; in the long term having two homes that were essentially the same may help with any territorial issues.
The change warranted a clear plan of action.
- Step 1: Assemble the New Villa.
- Step 2: Remove Manor from the room. Move Perry & Lennie, still living in their quarantine cage, from the left side of the Silver Villa to the right side, essentially where the Manor was, although alongside rather than facing the Villa. The playgym reinstated in its proper place, left of Silver Villa.
- Step 3: Dress the New Villa, using some Manor furniture/accessories to aid with acceptance.
- Step 4: Move Perry & Lennie, in their quarantine cage to the other side of the room. Bring in the New Villa & position in area they vacated, next to the Silver Villa.
- Step 5: Let them all out & hope that Perry & Lennie will move into the New Villa.
The 11th March was the day scheduled for Step 2. After capturing what turned out to be Bezukhov’s last meal in the Manor, it was removed from the room & the layout changed. All went to plan.
Bezukhov’s last meal in the Manor
Bezukhov is no fan of changes but he did welcome back his old friend the playgym. Surprisingly, the playgym was new to Dalai but it did not take him long to join Bezukhov there. By the following day, Perry & Lennie also visited the playgym.
Dalai & Bezukhov on the playgym
Lennie, Perry & Dalai on the playgym
Here is the animated version of Bezukhov’s reunion with the playgym & Dalai’s initial encounter:
After over a week of dressing the New Villa, the 20th March ushered in Step 4 of the plan. Trying to make the changes as discreetly as I could, I carefully moved the New Villa right next to the Silver Villa, all the while gauging Bezukhov’s reaction, hoping he would not be scared. Fortunately, he did not seem too put out with the new construction next door. I moved the lamp from Perry & Lennie’s quarantine cage to the New Villa.
The New Villa
You will see that the New Villa is a darker colour than the Silver Villa. It was described as ‘grey’ so I expected it to be the same as the Silver Villa. It is actually closer in colour to the black bars of the quarantine cage. Putting aside my general irritation that it is not the same colour (!) I worried that it may hamper acceptance.
For Step 5, when they were all let out, they naturally pretended the New Villa did not exist. To encourage Perry & Lennie to spend the night in the New Villa, I bribed them with red millet. It worked. Here they are tucking in:
I hope they will all be happy with the New Villa.