Helping Cats Handle Change

As anyone who loves cats will tell you, they are creatures of habit.  They love routines and dislike change

Whether it be a new baby, a new pet, house move or even simple things like moving furniture, cats need a little bit of extra support when changes happen in their home environment.  This article looks at how to make new environmental changes a little bit easier for cats.

New Baby

A new baby is a huge change for the whole household, so in the weeks before your due date it may be a good idea to invest in a Feliway plug in for your cat.  Although not cheap, I did this before my baby was born and my cats remained stress free when I brought her home, so I believe it was worth every penny.  You should also remember that some cats may want to stay away from the new baby and that’s OK, just let them get used to the new arrival, and the accompanying changes in household routine, in their own time. 

New Cat

With a new cat, the key is to introduce him to your existing cat slowly.  It’s best to put a new cat in his own room for a few days, to let him gain confidence.  After a few days you can swap bedding or other items between the two rooms to give the new and existing cats a taste of each other’s scent.  Only when they seem relaxed should you introduce them.  They may fight but unless it is violent it’s best to leave them to it as cats need to establish a pecking order.  Once this is complete they should be more accepting of each other, but if aggression persists over a long period of time you should consult your vet.

Indoor cats

For the indoor cat, your home is their entire environment, so they can be even more difficult when it comes to handling changes.  For example, if you wish to relocate their litter tray to another room for some reason, the best way to do this is to be aware that the cat may not be immediately be accepting of its new location.  This is a natural reaction and you shouldn’t be angry with your cat.  If he sometimes looks around forlornly at the old spot, bring the litter to him and let him go there, but then put it back to its new spot.  Eventually your cat will understand that’s where it is but it may take time.

Moving house

Moving is stressful for everyone, but particularly for a cat.  It’s always best to start your cat off in one room that he can get used to first and feel safe in, before slowly letting him explore the rest of the new house.  You should always keep your cat indoors for at least two weeks following a house move.

Always Remember

Patience is the key with cats, so always remember that they need extra time to cope with changes, and reward them with treats when they do well.  Never neglect your cat when he’s dealing with a change, and let him come to terms with things in his own time.