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I've talked about moving into our new home a lot in the past year, but when I haven't talked about yet, was the anxiety in cats we dealt with.
When we were moving into our home, there was a TON of hustle & bustle since we pretty much had to move quicker than we anticipated because we refused to pay another month of rent plus pay a mortgage. Not only was it stressful for my husband and I, since I just had hysterectomy surgery just 12 days prior to moving our cats were stressed out and you could tell that….
Anxiety in Cats was a legit thing.
Since we were in and out of the apartment so much, we put their food & litter in the bathroom, closed the door and prayed for the best. Our cats don't exactly get along, though they were born from the same litter, you would think they would.
They hate their carriers, so putting them into them while we were going from the apartment to the house was an adventure in itself. On the ride to the house, our female cat decided the carrier was not her friend and started flailing all over the place until she broke a couple of the pins.
Since our move, our female cat has been on high alert and a bit more “testy” than she usually was. So now we give her calming treats called Treatibles. I wish we had them when we were moving because OMG they work wonders. We give them to her for a couple days leading up to when we're going to have a get together or if we're going to be away for a long period. Since I work from home, typically the cats are never alone. Once in awhile I'll be gone for hours on end and I try to give her a couple of the treats before I leave to help keep her calm. Sometimes we break them up and put them in her food, other times she will take them without any problems.
Moving into a new home is stressful for most of us. Humans understand the reasoning, but cats don’t. Changing your cat’s environment will need to be done gently and with patience.
It is normal for a cat to hide for a few days when moving into a new place. He is nervous and unsure of where he can go and what is going on. He may be worried that you will leave him alone and not return. Some cats will act out aggressively, showing their displeasure in hissing and biting. Be patient, he will adjust.
Keeping Anxiety in Cats to a Minimum While Moving
Seclude The Cat(s)
It can help if you confine your cat to only one room when you first move. Make sure he has food and water and his litter box. Provide him with his usual sleeping blanket and some familiar toys. All these will give him comfort and make the new environment more familiar.
Give Extra Attention
Make sure you give your cat extra attention during this time. He will sense your mood and the stress you feel at moving may increase his. Try to stay calm when interacting with him. We had someone sit in the bathroom with both of the cats for at least 15 minutes every hour or so that way there was interaction with them and they didn't feel like they were forgotten.
Don't Make Anymore Changes
Cats have routines. At least mine do. They get breakfast at 6am and dinner at 6pm. They will start pestering us about 15 minutes early. Our male kitty also greets my husband at the door on the chair by the back door. Climbs up on him and gets lovings. He's done this since we got him and we kept that routine even throughout the move.
We don't allow cats in the bedrooms at bedtime, so we kept that routine also. It caused some problems and lots of scratching at the doors, however, they are now used to it because it's a routine that we continued. If this is something you're not easy with at first, by all means, leave the door open so they can sleep with you until they are comfortable in the new home.
Put their litterbox where it's going to stay
This kind of goes along with don't make anymore changes. They need to know where the litterbox is going to be and know that it's not going to be moved again. My suggestion, if you had it in the bathroom at your previous home, put it in the bathroom in the new one, or if it was in the laundry room, put it in the laundry room again. It keeps with the consistency of where it's going to be so they know. It keeps accidents at bay also.
My favorite litterbox is the iPrimio Ultimate Stainless Steel Cat XL Litter Box. It fits exactly where we want it (eventually I'm making an enclosure to make it a little “prettier”, so stay tuned for that). I love this thing because it doesn't get all scratched up like the plastic litterboxes, doesn't smell, and won't rust either. It pairs so well with the Purple Pet iPRIMIO ScoopMonster Foam Handle Sifter Scooper & the Purple Pet iPRIMIO ScoopMonster Foam Long Handle Scooper.
Reward them for good behavior
One thing that we did with the cats when we moved, we gave them extra treats for being so well behaved. They didn't really scratch at the bathroom door, try to get out of the bathroom, etc. They didn't nip at us, or scratch us. We rewarded them with their favorite treats. Their favorite way to get those treats is with their toy, PIPOLINO. You put the treats inside, adjust the holes so it can either be easy or harder to get the treats out. So they have to actually move in order to get their treats, but they are still being rewarding.
Place Scratch Posts Around the House
Cats scratch woodwork, doors, furniture for 2 reasons, they are anxious or because they want to clean their claws. Give them scratching posts, toys, mats, etc around the house. It will help calm them and deter them from scratching and ruining your home. I couldn't put our scratching post down and grab my camera quick enough for this guy. Literally within 10 minutes of me putting this thing together, walking away to grab my camera, getting a phone call and coming back Apollo had the top of the base torn up. The Petique Kung Fu Scratching Post is great because it's just corrugated boxes, pressed together. Easy to piece back together, remove pieces, etc.
Keep the same foods
I can't stress this enough. Don't think because you move, you have to feed your cats anything differently. They need to stay on the same diet they were on before even more than before. Changes in their environment is stressful enough, changing their food will cause even more problems. They will start “marking” their territories in areas that they shouldn't be doing their business, tearing up furniture, or just pooping all over the place.
Our cats absolutely LOVE FreshPet foods. Chi has a special diet, so we mix Freshpet in with her diet foods and it has helped her even more than the diet food alone. Apollo, he'll eat anything. But he ABSOLUTELY loves FreshPet's food mixed in with his normal cat food.
In time, your cat will be back to ruling their new domain. All it takes is a little time and a lot of patience and even more love. I can't stress that enough. You have to show your cats that this is their home, too. When it comes to calming the anxiety in cats, you have to know your cat and their temperament. That's going to be the key to the whole process.