One common reason we have feline guests come to stay with us at the cattery is because their families are moving into new homes. Often the cat has left it’s familiar home to come stay with us, and is now about to encounter a new set of surroundings to have to familiarize themselves with.
To help you settle your furry feline into it’s new digs and start to feel at home, here are five handy hints.
1. Introducing your Cats to your new place
Don’t release your cat into it’s new surrounds until everything is quiet.
Ensure the removalists have gone and most of the big items are in their place before you let your cat-person out.
Ensure the doors and windows are closed and should you have a large home, you may even want to confine the cat to a smaller part of the house or their own room, until they are more settled. This will give them a chance to re-orient themselves with your furniture and familiar items from your old home. Cats form attachments to their surroundings and having the comfort of their favourite chair or something familiar will help them feel at ease, sooner.
2. Food & Litter Trays
Until your cat is fully confident with their surroundings, ensure they have their food and water and litter trays in close proximity. Providing additional litter trays can help this process as well. This will prevent accidents occuring when they can’t remember where they are or are too frightened to venture down a flight of stairs, for example, to their litter trays. Once the cat is settled, you can move your trays and food into a more functional position, however this will help them feel more settled if their ‘basics’ are handled and also close.
3. Exploring and familiarizing
Allow your cat to explore while you sit with them in the room or area they can call home.With you there, they will be more confident to explore. Cats like to smell everything and rub their faces on corners of furniture and walls and the various objects they wish to claim as theirs. Allow them to do this as this is actually a good sign. Rubbing their faces to claim territory is acutally a sign the cat is ‘choosing’ its territory and it’s happy.
4. Signs things are not OK:
Urine ‘spraying’ is generally a sign the cat is feeling threatened. This is a more overt territory marking and signals a stressed or unhappy cat. While the stress factors may not be apparent to us, often they are significant in the world of your cat.
This could be because their space is too big and they don’t yet feel safe. It could be they are picking up other cat smells if another cat has been in their home before you introduced them. (Quite often the case in rental homes that allow pets) Or they may have identified other cats in the area – eg they can see another cat through a window or glass door etc. If this occurs, go back to basics and confine your cat to a smaller ‘safe’ area until it feels secure and confident in that space. Sit with them often and allow them to come to you for cuddles and pats.
*TIP: Resist the urge to clean up the urine sprays with strong smelling disenfectants, bleach or other amonia based chemicals. These smell like urine to the cat and often they feel the need to ‘re-mark’ their territory again to replace the smell of the chemicals. Use an enzyme based cleaning product that will break down the urine smell and not leave a strong smell – Biozet Washing powder is excellent. Mix a small amount in water and wash any areas of urine such as walls, clothes, carpet etc.leave it on for a short while then wipe or wash away with clean fresh water.
5. When to let them outside
Once your cat is calm and settled with it’s indoor environment you can begin to let them outdoors. This could be in a few days or a few weeks depending on the nature and confidence of your cat.
Outdoor cats will need additional time to adjust as often the backyard or outdoor areas have other cats that may have claimed it as their territory.Your cat will need time to adjust and work in with the territory timetables that could already exist. Generally they will work it out for themselves and best to let them do so, providing there is no excessive fighting over territory. A few growls and hisses are usually all that is needed for one to give in to another and work things out amicably. However, if your cat has adjusted well to being an indoor cat, now could be the perfect time to keep the indoor lifestyle going. Indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats (as they are not exposed to other cat diseases as well as roads and other hazards) but also better for the environment – especially if your cat fancies themselves as a bit of a hunter. If however, your feline is literally scratching at the door, and tearing the wallpaper off the walls to get out, then just accompany them into their new surrounds to give them confidence as they explore. Short bursts of outdoor fresh air can be as good a therapy for you as much as your feline.
Hopefully these tips help you get your feline friend happy and settled into their new environment. Wishing you all the best in your new homes and we look forward to seeing your purry friend for holidays again soon!