After spending the first day in his new home hiding under the bed and crying, Parker quickly adjusted to life in our apartment of four young women and another cat. His new kitty roommate took a little while to warm up to him, but when you have a kitten insisting that you’re going to snuggle together, it’s tough to argue for long.
But as is often the case when you have a group of young professionals living together, things started to change. Some roommates left, new roommates moved in, and every few months Parker was learning to adjust to new people. Then the roommate who owned the other cat moved out, and her replacement was the last straw.
They tell new mothers that the best thing they can do for their babies is to be well themselves – a mom who’s feeling good leads to a baby who’s feeling good. The same has always rung true for me with pets. So when a rather grumpy young woman prone to snapping unexpectedly moved in, it came as no surprise that her cat behaved similarly. And so, we moved.
We moved in with a good friend of mine who, although allergic to him, thought Parker made a better roommate than some of the folks she’d been recently living with. They came to a mutual understanding quickly that if he stayed out of her chair she would give him intense belly scratches, even if she had to run and wash her hands afterward. The extra attention, cozy new couch perfect for cat naps, and absence of another cat constantly swiping at his nose made Parker’s transition to his new home fairly easy, and it wasn’t long at all before he was settled in happily.
Growing up, I moved many times and almost every time with a cat. Here are a few things I learned that helped me move Parker to his new home:
- Take something familiar, a blanket or a shirt of yours, into the carrier with the cat, and put it on the floor in the new house so there’s something the cat can identify as his.
- Set up the litter box right away, and bring the cat to where it is so he can find it. It sounds silly (I’m going to just show him and he’ll know?) but it’s true.
- If he hides, let him. This is all pretty overwhelming. Cats will come out in their own time and sniff around. Let them explore on their own time and in their own way.
- Try to change as little as possible at once. If your cat is used to having his toys, his dishes, his litter box, don’t buy all new ones when you move unless you have to. Anything you can bring to the new place that he still identifies as his will help him learn that this home is as much his as the last one.
- Move your cat last. Let him experience all the newness at once so he can take it in as he decides to.
Check Jennifer Spencer out at jennalyns.wordpress.com.