They say moving house is one of the most stressful things for people to do, but how about cats? We sometimes forget how stressful it is for them, too! The aim of this article is to give your some tips about how you can help your cat adjust to a new home.
Photo by Bucky Schwarz
Support your catWhen a cat is brought to a new house, it will probably be quite anxious. The new surroundings are unknown and scary, especially for a shy kitty. There are a few things you can do to help your cat overcome its fear.
First of all, leave the carrier you brought your cat in on the floor letting your cat leave it when it's ready. Do not force it to get out! Cats always need some time to get used to new smells and sounds. If this need is respected, the adaptation process is going to be much more comfortable for you both.
Secondly, don't get focused on the routine packing and unpacking too much. Remember there's a furry member of your family that needs your support. Keep giving your cat attention and affection as much as before, and even more. The little sensitive souls love it. Extra petting and a few kind words will surely help your cat feel it's not left on its own. Even though cats are known to be independent, many domestic cats adapt to a new home quicker and easier when they are not ignored. When you're about to pet your cat, it's important that you don't do abrupt movements because they can scare your companion. This wouldn't normally happen (most likely), but being in a new environment intensifies a cat's caution instincts, and therefore the animal becomes more timid.
You know your cat is doing well when it gets curious and starts exploring the new house. Cats are inquisitive by nature, so this probably won't take long. Some individuals, however, may require more time to work up the courage to do it. Give your cat as much time as it needs, and don't forget to support it with attention and love. It's worth mentioning that female cats usually have a more delicate personality than straightforward males, so females may need a little extra patience and care.
Food bowls, litter box, and other cat accessoriesYou cat needs to learn where the food bowls and the litter box are as soon as possible. It's not good for anyone when a cat doesn't know where to eat and where to ease itself! Hunger and accidents will only make the adjusting process more stressful for both the people and the animal. Make sure you spend time introducing your cat to these very important spots. The same applies to other cat accessories such as cat trees and your cat's bed. It's excellent if your cat's favourite bed has been taken - a well-known thing in the alien world of a new house will surely help your companion feel more comfortable. If your cat didn't have a favourite bed, arrange a sleeping place for it using a few blankets or scarfs your cat is familiar with. Your smell will contribute to your cat's feeling of safety.
Letting your cat outsideIf you're going to allow your cat to have outdoor walks, you'll need to accompany it during its first outdoor adventures. The first walks should be short and leashed. It's extremely important to read the cat's body language signals: if you see fear or confusion, take it back to the house; if your cat is curious and enthusiastic, your walk can last a little longer. Use common sense to understand how your cat feels, and proceed accordingly. Repeat these walks until you're sure your cat knows its your new home and where the entrance door is. Please remember that your cat should get used to the new house very well before you let it out! It usually means you shouldn't be letting it out for at least a few weeks after moving lest it runs away and gets lost. If your cat isn't microchipped, it's recommended that you do so, or get a cat collar and write your contact details on it. Just in case.
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