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Moving cat

Species: cat | Category: other | Submitted: 18 May 2007 08:04AM | viewed 9790 times
Q Maria asks:

My cat is 16 years old and very attached to me. He has a very timid nature when it comes to other people. I got married 10 months ago and moved out of the family home. As we were going to rent a house until our new home was built, I didn't want to take my cat with me and upset him. As such my cat who used to be both an indoor and outdoor cat has now become solely an outdoor cat. Although he is an outdoor cat, due to his age he does not venture out further than the backyard. I would like to take my cat with me to the new home in 3 weeks but am concerned as to how he would adapt. He is very content at the current family home and I visit him each day so he does not feel neglected. The other issue is that I am expecting a baby in a couple of months and don't know if this will further upset my cat. I know that if my cat is with me at the new home he will find it easier to adjust as I will always be around, however given his age and the fact that cats are very attached to their surroundings, will he adapt well in my new house? He will be an indoor cat at night and indoor/outdoor by day, depending on what he prefers. Initially I plan on settling him inside for approx 3 weeks before even taking him outside.....

Q Our vet says: Congratulations on the wedding and the forthcoming baby! You are going to be very busy and there is going to be lots of upheaval- all of which will be wonderful for you- so good luck and my very best wishes! However this is all going to be something which your cat may find a little bit difficult to deal with at first.
It is impossible to say how he will adapt to his new surroundings because every cat is different, however I can give you a few tips which would hopefully help him to adjust.
Firstly try to get everything as settled as possible in your new home before bringing your cat home (if this is an option). This means trying to get most of the unpacking and general upheaval done before your cat moves in. Cats do not like changes in their environment so try to have furniture in its final place and packing boxes empty and out of the way. Try to ensure that your cat has a quiet place to go when he feels stressed, preferably with a high resting place such as a comfortable shelf; this will allow him to survey his new home from a high vantage point and plan his moves when he feels safe to do so (this is important for cats). A hidy-hole with three enclosed sides may also help (leave him alone when he is inside this- he should feel totally in control of this area and hands, faces and arms encroaching into this space will not give him this sense of security.) He will venture from these areas when he feels safe to do so. Feed him on a shelf if possible since this will also help him feel safe; it will also help when baby starts crawling- cat food can be very appealing to babies/toddlers! You might like to consider using Feliway as a diffuser or spray around your home for a while - this is an artificial pheromone which helps cats to relax. Make sure your cat has access to a litter tray indoors in a quiet area in case he does not feel safe to use the garden at first. (Get somebody else to clean it while you are pregnant though) It will probably take time but hopefully your cat will do well provided the home is kept as calm as possible for the first few weeks. In my experience cats and young babies do well together (don't let the cat in the cot though- babies can be warm and snugly and therefore quite attractive for a cat to sleep with!) Problems more often occur when the baby gets mobile- provide escape routes for the cat to prevent accidents! I hope this helps and good luck with everything!

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