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Moving my kitty to a (not so) deluxe apartment in the sky
September 9, 2010 1:16 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving my 14 year old cat to my new apartment this weekend. How can I make this transition go as smoothly as possible?

My parents are moving, and so I've agreed to take in the family cat. She's a 14 year old spayed female.

She has lived in my parents' house for her entire life. So, as a result, she has been able to roam around a big house all day. My apartment is a lot smaller than my folks' house. I need to figure out how to make this change in house size as easy for her as possible. I also want to make her transition to my apartment as smooth as possible.

On Saturday, I will be transporting her roughly 45 minutes away by car. Are there any special precautions I should take to calm her down? Whenever she goes to the vet in the car, she pants quite a lot and gets very agitated.

Some other questions:

1. From what I can remember, she didn't pee all over the house as a kitten when we first got her, so does that mean she won't do it now?

2. I've set aside a room for her at my place. Should I build a maze or some hiding places for her in there? Being that she lived in a 2 story house, kitty has always been able to get away from humans when she wants.

Any other tips on things I'm overlooking would also be appreciated. Thanks!
posted by reenum to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
 
When my mother moved her 14-year-old cat, she ended up getting tranquilizers from the vet and gave them to her cat for the first week. Not all vets recommend that, though.

Do have someplace the cat can hide and feel safe? We designated a particular piece of cat furniture the Stay Away Zone so the cats can go there and hide and neither of us will approach them.

Perhaps also something from her old house that smells familiar might help?

Also, lots of people will recommend Feliway synthetic pheromones, which come in a spray and in a plug-in. It might help her calm down a bit.
posted by telophase at 1:31 PM on September 9, 2010


My cat lived with my mom for about 6 years and then she had to move, and the cat came to live with me at the age of 11. She was flown by my mother to my city, and I drove her home. When I got her home, she promptly disappeared for about 3 days into hiding places on bookshelves and behind couches I avoided. I made sure she had food and water.

Cats react to stress and new situations differently. My advice would be to give her time and space to adjust.
posted by Zophi at 1:37 PM on September 9, 2010


On the first day ut them in one room, with a closed door. Give them something that smells like you/home. I usually give them our used bedsheets and maybe a shirt. They will want to hide, so if you can arrange a safe space with all this smelly stuff that's good - I usually put them in the bedroom and make a nest for them in the closet, with food and water and a litter in the room.
Once the move is completed and there are no more strangers in the house, I give everything a sweep and then sprinkle dried catnip lightly around the place.

If they hide, try to find them and just pass by and talk to them once in a while so they can hear your voice.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:42 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Assume for 2 weeks she will do weird things, possibly longer. She may pee initially, but is unlikely to continue once she settles in.

Bring stuff that smells of her old home, and make sure she has high things to climb up and sit on. She will find her own hiding places.
posted by jeather at 1:58 PM on September 9, 2010


Bring the things that smell of her from the old home. Show her the cat box (and try to arrange it in the same way, with the same litter, as in the old home.) Let her explore at her own pace. Try to treat her (if she likes treats) regularly, with her favorites. Try to keep everything else about her routine, including her food and feeding times, as they were.

Also, elderly kittehs tend to really love warm beds. Can you put a bed like this one (my cats adore it) somewhere near a window so she can feel safe and warm and able to look out at her new outside kingdom?
posted by bearwife at 2:15 PM on September 9, 2010


Get some Feliway. Get a diffuser and set it going in the new place at least 24 hours before cat moving. Get the spray and spray the carrier, the car, and anywhere else the cat will be.

Make sure she has access to the necessities of life (litterbox, food, water, comfy bed) in a small area in case she doesn't feel up to exploring her new home right away. A bed she can hide in is even better.

Make sure you have at least two litterboxes in different places.

Spend some time as soon as possible just sitting around with minimal light and noise so she has the opportunity to come and be normal and social with you.

Thank you for thinking so carefully about your kitty, she is lucky to have you.
posted by biscotti at 2:24 PM on September 9, 2010


I would try to get one or two low cat trees or window perches. Small space is easier for cats, even young and riley ones, if they can climb/survey their land on stuff. You don't have to spend a lot of money; they make clip on fleecy window perches for approx $30. She might like being brushed, too. Some cats dig it, and others are all "ahhh do not want."
posted by ShadePlant at 2:26 PM on September 9, 2010


Also, I have accepted I look like a nut, but I talk to my cat in the car. I'll explain where we're going, for how long, and why, just to give myself something to say. I think the talking calms the cat down. So talk, sing, chatter, recite multiplication tables, just so the cat can hear your voice and get used to it. I also put the carrier in the front seat and try to bolster it with a towel or something so it doesn't tip if I corner sharply or whatever.
posted by ShadePlant at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


ShadePlant, that's not nutty. I do that when I take my cats to the vet--they cry much less when they can hear me talk.
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:33 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I assume you will be moving her in a cat/pet carrier of some sort.
Be sure to cover it up with a towel or blanket that will enable her to 'hide' from the car/vehicle. Ideally a towel or blanket with her previous mistress' scents.
posted by notreally at 2:58 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't forget to buckle the seat belt around the carrier! It's not going to fit perfectly, but it helps.
posted by phatkitten at 4:24 PM on September 9, 2010


try a few drops of this in kitty's water, or rub into her fur when you pet her. i know it sounds crazy, but it really really really works. Many vets are now recommending it. Available in most health/vitamin stores.
posted by Lylo at 10:18 PM on September 9, 2010


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