Introducing your cat to a new home
Author: Emily Rice- Scott Date Posted:2 June 2014
So you’ve moved house, you and the family are excited about your new change of scenery, not to mention the pool, the big yard for Fido and the massive kitchen for you ;)
There may be one member of the family that’s not so keen on all those things though and that’s Mr Tiddles.
Cats react very differently to dogs when it comes to change of locations. We take the dog to the park, over to a friends place, on holidays…but generally your cat stays at home. When you move house your cat can find this very distressing.
Firstly it’s good to mention that cats are very territorial animals, they can make an area comfortable or unpleasant simply with the use of pheromones. Pheremones are chemical substances produced and released into the environment by an animal.
This can then affect the behaviour or physiology of others of its species.
When it comes to cats, when they are comfortable in a surrounding they release pheromones from a face swipe. You may have seen this when a cat walks up to a couch and rubs his cheeks on it a few times or on the leg of a person it meets for the first time. This type of pheromone released indicates that the cat is comfortable and relaxed in it’s environment. However, when a cat stratches, claws, gets angry or worse urinates on an item or wall this indicates that the cat is in distress and finds this article to be unpleasant.
There are 2 products to help with both scenarios.
- Feliway; a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure. This can be used to make an area comfortable and make your cat feel safe.
- Urine Free Odour & Stain Remover; This is a high quality bio-enzymatic product that removes all urine odours and stains and therefore remove the negative pheromone that has been left on the article.
Here are a few tips on how to ease your cat into his new surroundings and make
him love your new home as much as you do!
- Keep your cat inside for at least 2 days; Now this can be hard when you’ve got removalists coming in and out, or the garage door is open…so try and put your cat in a room where there is very little activity, for example the laundry or the spare room. This way Mr Tiddles can get to know the ‘smell’ of the house. This is important for when you eventually let him out in a couple of days time. Cats use their sense of smell a lot more than humans, by knowing the smell of the house he can follow his nose home. If possible, have a Feliway diffuser placed in this room before Mr Tiddles arrives, this clever little contraption can be plugged into a wall socket and can release positive pheromones into the room, making it comfortable and pleasant for your cat from the moment he arrives. However if you don’t have access to a Feliway diffuser and your cat walks into the room and begins to tear around and urinate on the walls, make sure to thoroughly clean the area with Urine Free (as mentioned above), this product will remove the enzymes within the pheromones which makes your cat uncomfortable and irritable.
- Make his temporary room very similar to your previous house; Put his bed or igloo in there, his bowls, his toys and even a piece or two of your clothing. Creature comforts will help to relax him and make him feel more at ease recognising things from the old house. All of these things will have his facial pheromones on them already, making him more comfortable. Don’t forget to put his kitty litter tray in there! Or you’ll not only be dealing with a frightened cat but a smelly mess or two as well, eek!
- The day of release! Ok so Mr Tiddles has been inside for a few days time. At night he’s explored the rest of the house, smelled his way around, had pats from the kids on the couch – he’s thinking, ‘hey I recognise all of this’ but now it’s time to venture out into the big wide world AKA your new neighbourhood. (firstly make sure you’ve updated his microchip details and he has a collar and tag on, so if he does get lost, the friendly person that finds him can give you a call and you can come to the rescue) then, open the back door to your garden and do normal things, take the washing out, clean the BBQ, put the garbage in the wheelie bins and let Mr Tiddles smell his way around but keep an eye on you at the same time. Now, he may flip out and dash straight across the yard and over the fence. From personal experience this can be terrifying, and you’re not sure if you’ll ever see him again. However give him time to explore, after all he’s been cooped up for a couple of days and this place is so new and exciting.
- Encouraging him home; Ok so if you did have the above example happen and you haven’t seem Mr Tiddles for a few hours, start to yell out his name from your back door, shake the dry food container (any cats can hear that sound from miles away and know it means dinner!). When he appears, reward him! Give him cuddles, a treat, dinner and then close the house up and try this routine again tomorrow. Soon he’ll get to know the routine and become more comfortable with his new surroundings.
- Now you can enjoy your new home, Mr Tiddles, Fido, and the kids are all happy, safe and comfortable. They know the smells, the noises, the what home looks like and Mr Tiddles can find a favourite sunny spot in the garden to sleep in all day J
NOTES: Ok so let’s say in the worst case scenario, Mr Tiddles doesn’t return to his new home at night no matter how much screaming or shaking of the food container you do. Don’t panic! From personal experience, my Mr Tiddles, (also known as Brian, my white Persian delight) used to go missing for days on end, sometimes being found under ground in the gutter system. He was a very resilient pussy cat who was very brave, sometimes being asked to move every 12 months due to being in a RAAF family. The above tips helped every time, if Brian knew the smell of the house, which backyard his best buddy Barty the Kelpie was in, he’d be back and soon very comfortable and strutting around his new neighbourhood like Lord Muck.
A few notes to remember, always encourage your cat to stay inside at night. Cats that stay out overnight, tend to engage in fights, kill wildlife or worse still get hit by a car.
You can find Feliway, Urine Free Odour & Stain Remover and collars and tags, plus beds, igloos, bowls, food and treats at www.aussievetproducts.com.au