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Transitioning a newly adopted cat to your home or adjusting your feline friend to a new home after a move can be very stressful to not only your furry friend but also the family. To help during this time of transition we have put together a list of helpful tips to help you and your cat see your new space in a positive light.
If you are looking for tips regarding transitioning a newly adopted cat to your home, skip to the next section of this guide titled “Traveling to the new space”. The first section of this guide will focus on prepping pets that are moving to a new home with their human companions.
Before the move
Preparing your cat for the big day should start well before the day of the move. Cats are creatures of habit and routine, so it is best to keep their normal schedule intact as much as possible leading up to the day of the move. Keep their feeding times at the same time each day and also set aside time to spend with them to give them extra love and cuddles.
Keep in mind that the packing process can be just as stressful for your cat as the move itself. Moving around items such as furniture can disrupt their routine and cause stress, so this is why it is very important to keep routines as intact as possible to not further stress your cat. Avoid scolding or disciplining them for playing with moving boxes, let them have a little fun! If the boxes seem to make them skittish, it is more than likely due to unfamiliar smells. If you observe this, the best thing to do is to take some time to get their favorite toy and play with them to assure them that everything is okay.
Start getting them more comfortable with their carrier that they will be traveling in. Oftentimes, your cat will only associate the carrier and a ride in the car to a vet visit, and it’s safe to say that no one really enjoys a visit to the doctor. If you are able, it is always great to allow your cat to have access to the carrier other than just when they are about to travel. Allowing your cat access to their carrier can build a positive experience for them, they may even utilize it as a safe and comfortable space to sleep. Another tactic to get them used to the carrier if they are reluctant to enter on their own, is to feed them their meals near it. This is a great way to help them associate the carrier with positivity. You can also put their favorite treats in the carrier to encourage them to enter it on their own.
Traveling to the new space
Car rides can be extremely overwhelming for your small, furry friends. When relocating a cat it is best to utilize a carrier. This is for not only the safety of the animal, but also to limit distractions that the cat could cause the driver.
Again, we can not stress enough the importance of keeping your cat in their carrier for the entirety of the car ride. It is also in your best interest to not over excite or stimulate your cat during travel. This means limiting access that children may have to your cat and not opening the carrier to allow them an opportunity to escape.
It is a great idea to play some calming music for the ride as well. You can utilize our In The Car album which is great for cats as well as dogs (https://icalmpet.com/product/music-for-dogs-in-the-car/) or you can play your favorite calming music.
The new space
So you’ve made it to the new space! What’s next? This is a big day for your cat and it could take several days or even weeks for your cat to feel fully comfortable in their new home. Be patient and give them as much love during this time as possible. Your cat will need time to adjust to their surroundings.
The best thing to do once in the new space is to restrict your cat to one area or room. While in this space, it is a good idea to feed your cat more frequently, but in smaller portions. Smaller portions help when your cat is stressed because, just like humans, cats can have some stomach issues when they are stressed and anxious. Giving them their favorite treats too is also a great way to help your cat associate the new space with positivity.
Restricting a newly adopted cat is especially important if you have other pets in the house. It will take some time for them to get used to one another’s smell and in this time it is most important to keep them separated due to conflict. While in the separation phase of the transition utilize the cats’ beddings to help introduce their smell to one another. When it comes time to start allowing visual meetings, utilize food or treats to create positive associations between the new cat and the older residents of the house. Keep cats separated with doorway gates at first and then graduate to open access after they no longer display signs of aggression or stress when seeing and smelling each other. The biggest thing you can do is not rush the process, allow the cats to determine how long this process will take.
While you have your cat restricted to an area in their new home ensure that they have access to food and water as well as their favorite toys or cat furniture to help them feel secure and entertained. You can also play one of our Through A Cat’s Ear albums like Cat Calming Music (https://icalmpet.com/product/calming-music-for-cats-2/).
During this time, your cat should be kept entirely indoors. After your cat seems comfortable, it is okay to then begin letting them outside again, but only under supervision and for short periods of time.
A Happy Home
Now that things are settling down there are a few other things that you can do to help keep things running smoothly and to keep your cat from having behavioral issues. Making sure that the new space is deep cleaned is a big step to make sure that your cat is comfortable. If the home was occupied by an unfamiliar animal previously, your cat will be able to pick up on those smells. Doing a full deep clean of the new home will help your cat’s transition.
Once you’re ready to let your cat go on a full exploration of their new home, it is important to make sure that you set up their permanent litter box area. Make sure you take the time to show them where it is especially if you have chosen to tuck it away. If you do not see positive results and your cat is not using the litter box, consult your veterinarian for tips on how to help your cat’s transition.
With time, patience, and love, routines and behaviors of your cat will return to normal and once again you will have a calm and stress free household.
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