So when a plumber came to install the hot water tanks and the new sink in the downstairs kitchen, I just let him come and go as long as the cat gate was closed, and otherwise left the cats alone.
When it was time for the movers, I moved all the furniture the cats were sleeping on (the patio chairs I'd bought plus a couple of pieces I'd had in storage from my previous place here) into the smaller room by the kitchen. The basement is divided in half lengthwise, so with tow pet gates, I could confine the cats to the back half of the space while the movers could move freely in the front section. This worked quite well, at least for the cats. I think the movers were a bit confused!
The basement now has the same furniture the cats had gotten used to, my parents' chairs and couch, the same TV cabinet, the cat scratching posts and lots of familiar smells and textures. The patio furniture was abandoned instantly for the comfortable leather couch with cushions that bear he indelible imprint of big cats. And the contoured lounge chairs ergonomically designed for cat naps.
A cousin delivered the last items from the old house a few days after the sale had closed, and she exclaimed at how calm the cats were, that she hardly knew they were the same cats.
The joke for years has been that I have invisible cats, because no-one has ever seen these legendary cats. My cats were all born feral and I rescued them from living outside on a farm. Feral cats are never exactly like cats born into domestic life. They're often skittish or easily spooked, and some have turned wild when let out of the house. Mine are exclusively indoor cats for this reason, but I make sure they have plenty of room, windows to look out of, an interesting environment.
These days, they'll hide if a visitor is unexpected, but if I've told them who's coming, they're often watching the door when I open it. Poised to flee, perhaps, but they're still in plain sight, which never used to happen.
Last week, I had friends coming to work on art projects and I told the cats we'd be downstairs. As it turned out, there were more people than expected and I didn't have enough chairs downstairs. We stayed around my dining table upstairs. As everyone was leaving, I looked down the stairs into the basement and four pairs of eyes were looking up at me. Here were my skittish invisible cats, watching the company leave, looking downcast. "You TOLD us we had PEOPLE coming! Nobody came to see US!"
I think they've adjusted to the new house.