How to introduce cats to a new home?
Naturally, cats are creatures that do not like disruptions to their lives. However, there are times when you might need to travel or simply change location. What then? Well, since moving from one place to the other can be stressful for cats, here are some tips on how to introduce cats to a new home.
Getting Things Ready:
The first step is to take in the process of introducing new cats to a new home is to cat-proof the house. To be on the safe side, hide everything that you feel the cat will be tempted to hide in, knock around, swallow or chew. For example, electrical cords, ribbons, string, and small objects. Cover up all holes in the walls, A/C vents, and ducts. Also, secure all windows as a scared cat will try to run away from a frightening situation. Bear in mind that cats are given to jumping about in any given direction, so you want to make ample space in the room where you will be keeping your cat.
Getting Used to the Safe Room:
One mistake you want to avoid when introducing a cat to a new home is giving it the run of the house. What you should do is to create a safe room. The safe room is the place where the cat first stays to get its bearing of the new household. It is a good idea to let it get comfortable there for a while, so pick a room where you can put out familiar toys, a litter, a cozy bed, and some cat food. The litter box is very important to cats, so try to acquaint your cat with the one(s) in the safe room. Pick up your cat, place it in the litter box, and then leave it alone. If the box is easily accessible and clean, your cat will frequent it. You could put more than one litter box in the safe room since cats love to do their toilet business in different places.
Cats love small, confined spaces, so be mindful of this when setting up the safe room. At the same time, you need to provide a safe place for it to hide since cats respond to fear by hiding. So you might want to provide access to a closet or cabinet where it can retreat to when it feels threatened. But you should avoid using rooms with large pieces of furniture where they can hide without you getting access to them. This is specially important if the cat has shy and timid personality.
Once you have a safe room where the cat can get introduced to, the next step is to set down its carrier and allow it to come out on its own. You should also be watchful to prevent other animals (if any) from intimidating the new cat. Keep it away from other animals when you introduce it to new space. Your cat’s first instinct might be to crawl under a refrigerator, couch, or somewhere that is inaccessible to you. It might even hide there for as many as three days. The trick is not to panic. It is normal. Simply put, some food and water in an open space where it can see it, and when the area is safe and quiet, it will come out.
Safe rooms are important because they offer your cats a small, private space where they can get used to you and other inhabitants of the house. It is something of a comfort zone and a familiar place where they can retreat to if they feel insecure about the rest of the house. Be sure to set them up in a room where you will be comfortable having them for the long-term.
Exploring the House:
Observe your cat in the following days to ensure that it is eating well and using the litter box. It is not uncommon for cats to become sick after moving to a new place, so watch out for tell-tale signs and be quick to call a veterinarian if the need arises. You should consider allowing your cat to explore the house when it is eating, drinking, and eliminating normally and starts showing an eagerness to see you. When you notice that it is curious about what happens on the other side of the door, then you know it is ready to explore. Never force your cat out of the safe room. Simply open the door and let it go at its own pace. This makes exploration of the house easy and more fun.
Moving to new home does not have to be a traumatic experience for your beloved pet. Use these tips and watch your feline friend settle in no time.
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