Cats are hyper sensitive creatures of habit that detest change, and they tend to become closely attached to their surroundings. As territorial animals, cats develop strong bonds with their environment and often find it very difficult to handle being plucked out of a territory they have marked as their own, especially if they’ve lived there for years.
Even though this might be a very traumatic time for you, moving to a new home is a tense and frightening experience for your cat. Her stress levels will be up. She may exhibit many of the symptoms of stressful behaviour because she has been taken out of her comfort zone, especially if the new home contains residual scents from other cats.
Helping Your Cat Adjust
The best way to help your cat adjust to a new environment is to plan ahead. This will ensure that the transition goes smoothly, and is not such a big, unsettling change for her.
The following tips will help your cat adjust to her new surroundings a lot quicker:
- Once you have moved into your new home, industry experts agree that you should keep your cat indoors initially until they appear to have shaken off the stress of moving. Although there are no set rules for how long you should keep her indoors, most experts agree that keeping her indoors for at least one to two weeks will help her feel safe within the confines of the new home.
- You can expect the cat to be bolting under furniture and hiding in closets and other isolated places as she adjusts to the new home. This is natural, and you should just let her be. She’ll eventually grow out of this.
- Try to create as many familiarities as possible from her previous environment. For example, in the room your cat will be staying, make sure the environment is enriched with as many familiar items and smells as possible such as the same litter box and litter, same bed, toys, water bowls, etc.
- You can help your cat feel secure and confident in her new surroundings by helping to spread her scent all over the house. You can collect the scent from glands around her face by rubbing it with a soft cotton cloth, and then rub the cloth at cat height against the furniture, walls and corners of doorways until she becomes noticeably comfortable around the house.
- Try to maintain the same daily routine that you did in your previous home by feeding her at the same times every day. This will help to increase her confidence. Keep showing her affection and spend lots of quality time with her during the transition.
- If your cat is not eating and it has been more than 48 hours, you need to take her to the veterinarian to make sure that there’s nothing else going on medically.
- Add things that smell like you in the room like your old clothes as this will provide them with some comfort during this stressful time.
- If you already know what type of personality your cat has, focus on what you already know her individual needs are. This can help her to adjust to the new environment.