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Moving home with nervous indoor cat

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Babyshoes, Oct 18, 2018.


  1. Babyshoes

    Babyshoes PetForums VIP

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    So we're fairly close to completing the purchase of our first house - hoping to be not only moved in, but mostly settled by Christmas! It's very, very exciting...

    I'm after some tips for helping my 2 year old, rather nervous cat Macavity.

    We are moving from a smallish flat into a fairly big 3 storey house. He's an inside cat, because although there are plenty of outside cats in this area, we just didn't feel it was safe for him as there is a main road nearby. The place we are moving to is much safer; it's a quiet urban area with a semi-rural feel - it's not too close to any main roads, and has a big field out front, across a foot path.

    We will *think* about letting him out into the back garden during the day once it warms up & windows need to be open; however I'm really after tips to help him settle into the house itself first. Later I'll look at cat proofing options if it seems that he wants to go out into the garden.

    The plug in pheromone things I've tried before didn't seem to do much, but the calming spot on & treats with Valerian do calm him a bit - I don't like to use them too often though.

    I won't clean his litter box right before the move (apart from normal daily scooping, of course), and I've read that we (humans) should sleep in the same bedding for a while after we move too so the bed at least smells like us, so I'll plan to put clean linen on a few days before moving day, & leave it on for a while afterwards. I'll probably put him in our bedroom at first with litter box, favorite bed, food, toys etc, & let him start to explore once he asks to go out.

    The house has a cat flap, so when we meet the sellers in person I can ask if they've had a cat in the house recently. If so, I'll pay extra attention to cleaning doorways, banisters etc at cat height, then rub him with a cloth & try to transfer some of his smell onto those areas.

    I'm wondering if I should perhaps to send him to the cattery while we pack & move, since he's usually anxious about any change. While he's not one of those cats who actually enjoys the cattery, he generally eats, poos and pees fairly normally after a day or so to settle in. He's always extra cuddly when we bring him home, and suddenly becomes a bit chatty too!

    I'd be grateful for other tips relating to the move, or things to think about, check etc...

    ***Please don't start a debate about indoor vs outdoor cats! We all know how those end up, & it's not going to be helpful for the initial move & getting him settled. Thanks.***
     
  2. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

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    From what you've said I think you've got most options covered already :)

    As he's used to staying in a cattery I agree that that is your best option for the move itself. I've always booked my cats in for at least 3 nights - day before, day of the move and day after the move so that they didn't have the stress of strange removal men making lots of noise and also gave me the chance to get most of the unpacking done - then when I brought them to their new home it would 'smell' familiar.

    I'd also suggest that for the first couple of days you confine him to a 'safe' room with his tray, bed, toys and food/water. Then let him explore at his own pace.

    As for calming plug ins - a lot of members here report that Pet Remedy is much better than Feliway. I can also recommend Zylkene as a supplement - it's a completely natural by-product of milk which you add to their food. However it can take a week or so to kick in so is best started well in advance of the move (I found it cheapest on Amazon).

    Good luck :)
     
    Babyshoes likes this.
  3. popcornsmum

    popcornsmum Popcorn relaxing!

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    We moved from a flat to a house when Popcorn was 3 and she’s an indoor cat and highly anxious but she did brilliantly! We sprayed her and the house with pet remedy and used a PR plug in and gave her beapher calming treats on the day. It was very stressful moving day keeping her in one room so maybe a cattery would be a good plan. Popcorns too agressive for a cattery noone will take her!
    One thing you might want to do is once you’re in and Macavity (fab name choice btw!) is in is put a treat on each stair because we didn’t even think that Popcorn had never been up or down a stair and she spent the whole first day sat at the bottom because she wasn’t confident in getting up or down until I put a thrive on each step and had to literally dangle the flying frenzy up the stairs!
    Another thing is our house has a catflap and we gorilla taped over it before we moved in because Popcorn can open everything lol we also put a poufee in front of it to block it! We also had to teach her to stay away from the front door so she didn’t run out so everytime we came in we threw treats down the hall into the lounge and she ran after them. Now she rarely comes to the front door. We live in a small village now but every one in our street bar us and one other family has dogs and I don’t trust them nor do I trust the local youths who we caught taunting a cat.
    The woman before us had 4 cats and 2 dogs so we did a massive clean with Ecover and used a steam cleaner and Popcorn wasn’t bothered at all by any smells. We put all her toys and scratchers around the house (our house is tiny!) to make her feel at home and put her bed in our room and kept the same bedding to reassure her. She’s done really well and I’m sure Macavity will settle in really soon too good luck with your move!
     
    Gallifreyangirl, TriTri and Babyshoes like this.
  4. Babyshoes

    Babyshoes PetForums VIP

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    Thank you both!

    Zyklene is something I've not tried, definitely worth a go, as well as the pet remedy. It's not gonna hurt to try them all, right?

    We do have stairs at the moment (flat is a converted terrace, we have the hallway & stairs which makes the flat feel bigger than it is), and he plays fetch up & down them sometimes, so I don't think that'll be a problem, thankfully. A steam cleaner is a good idea though, I think my friend has one she might lend me to do an initial deep clean when we move in...
     
    TriTri likes this.
  5. Dumpling

    Dumpling PetForums VIP

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    One of mine is a bit on the neurotic side, we moved a couple of years ago and had a pet remedy plug in, calming spot on, calming treats and gave him some cystophan too!

    The thing that seemed most reassuring for him was to have his safe room (our new bedroom!), it was the room we shut them all in when we were moving and it had a lot of their stuff in so smelt like their old home.

    The others were desperate to start exploring their new house, but Hector stayed in the bedroom for two weeks before setting foot in the rest of the house, I just let him take his time and after about a month he was fully settled and very happy!
     
    Babyshoes likes this.
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