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Old 14.07.2013, 23:52
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Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

Sorry for the convoluted thread title.

A friend and I are planning on flat sharing to keep each other company and to keep costs down. Initially, I'm going to move into her (large) living room so we get rid of one flat at a time. This also means the move can and will be a gradual process - I'm going to give notice for 1st October so I have plenty of time to find a replacement tenant etc.

I'm just wondering if anyone can give me any advice about what to do with my cat? She's rather a nervous (and antisocial) animal, and while I don't know what her living situation was like before she came to me (she was a stray), in the last 8 years she's never had to live with a second person for more than a week. So this is probably going to be difficult for her to adapt to.

As we've got the time to move gradually, I'm wondering what the best way is to acclimatise Tabitha to the change - how to prepare her and when to move her?

I'm thinking that it should in theory be easier as Tabitha could be moved before the final day when everything big will be moved. However,
my friend, whilst willing to live with Tabitha because she accepts I come with Tabitha attached, is not really a cat person. We've agreed I'll deal with the litter and everything. So in that sense moving Tabitha too early wouldn't be wise.

I'm also wondering if it would help if I took Tabitha with me when I go to stay for a few nights, so she gradually got used to the new environment...

Sorry for the ramble... I know this move is going to be a big change for Tabitha (and then if we find a new flat together fairly soon there'll be another big change), and she's not a young cat and I want to make this as easy as possible for her.

Of course I'm probably worrying about nothing and as long as there's food and the bed to hide under she'll be fine!
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Old 15.07.2013, 01:01
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

My experience is that with cats, the change of location is a bigger shock than the change of people. The best is if you move her last in terms of once she is transported to the new place, she should be able to hide under/behind something and from that point, there should be not much more furniture pushing and door slamming and people like movers walking in and out.
I would take her in the evening and just let her hide wherever she wants. Talk to her quietly occasionally, put the food near the hiding place and possibly everyone should go to bed early. At night she will probably sneak out and try and discover the place - don't be surprised if she will go back to hiding the next day. Don't try to pull her out or anything, some cats take up to 3 days to feel safe enough. I'm against taking her "to get used to the place", I think you'd confuse her and it would be a repeated shock.
At the same time, some cats tolerate travel and new places surprisingly well, so she may just be fine instantly. Mostly this is not the case however. I moved 3 times with 2 different cats and no, they were not happy and it took them 2 days to stop hiding daytime.
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Old 15.07.2013, 01:27
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

I recommend putting the cat with her litter box, a bed, food and water in the bathroom, for about three days. The bathroom will become her safe place, so when you let her out, if she feels frightened she has somewhere to go. She will not have to resort to hiding under the bed. In the bathroom you can spend time with her, reassuring her, and that will help her settle in.
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Old 15.07.2013, 10:47
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

It's going to be a shock either way, but how you behave can impact how the cat behaves. If she sees you're nervous then she will be too. A few tips that may help:

- Try to isolate her in a room during the busiest parts of the move, a place where she can feel safe. Make sure her litterbox and fave blankie or bed are in the room with her. This also helps make sure she doesn't bolt out the door when you're busy with heavy objects.
- Don't wash her bedding or completely change out the litterbox with the move. She will need the familiar smells to feel comfortable. Only wash and do a full change after she's made the final move.
- Leave one of your old, unwashed t-shirts with her both before and for a few days after the move. Your scent comforts her and tells her you're not leaving her.
- Prior to the move, see if your new roomie will allow you to borrow one of her t-shirts as well. This way Tabitha can become accustomed to the new roomie's scent and will feel more comfortable once she is moved.

HTH and good luck with the move!
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Old 15.07.2013, 10:55
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

I said the bathroom, because that is where I usually put the litter box, and there isn't anywhere to hide behind or under. If she goes under the bed you won't see her for a long time. In the bathroom you can spend some time together, you can pet her and cuddle her, which will really help the transition.
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Old 15.07.2013, 11:20
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

Thanks for the advice everyone...

The isolating her in one room sounds like a good idea... a bit stuck about the bed / blanket because her favourite place to sleep is under my bed on top of a plastic box containing my shoes! It's not so much hiding - I think she just likes it there. She'll come out in the morning to say hello and if I'm around she'll stay in the same room as me... but once I'm out it's back under the bed. However I'm sure I can work something out - perhaps the bath mat, as she does sit on there sometimes. She's not a 'bed' kind of cat.

The t-shirts also sound like a really good idea - I could put one under the bed for her!

Thanks also for the advice about the litter box - my instinct would have been to bring fresh litter to the new place, so I'll make sure I don't do that!
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Old 15.07.2013, 11:32
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

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...Thanks also for the advice about the litter box - my instinct would have been to bring fresh litter to the new place, so I'll make sure I don't do that!
You can bring fresh litter, just don't do a complete change-out. Keep a scoop or two of the old litter (no solid waste, of course) to sprinkle in with the new once the box is moved. I know, sounds kind of weird but my vet told me to do that when I moved my cats. Apparently a lot of cats have problems with inappropriate peeing after a move. It's stressful enough, and then without a familiar box they just eliminate wherever.
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Old 15.07.2013, 12:38
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

Since she feels secure under your bed and this seems to be her favorite place, that is where I would put her. Not in the bathroom where the other person will also go.

How many years do you have her by the way?

One of my cats was also a stray and it took her 6 years to decide that I could become her best friend!

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Thanks for the advice everyone...

The isolating her in one room sounds like a good idea... a bit stuck about the bed / blanket because her favourite place to sleep is under my bed on top of a plastic box containing my shoes! It's not so much hiding - I think she just likes it there. She'll come out in the morning to say hello and if I'm around she'll stay in the same room as me... but once I'm out it's back under the bed. However I'm sure I can work something out - perhaps the bath mat, as she does sit on there sometimes. She's not a 'bed' kind of cat.
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Old 15.07.2013, 21:47
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

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Since she feels secure under your bed and this seems to be her favorite place, that is where I would put her. Not in the bathroom where the other person will also go.

How many years do you have her by the way?

One of my cats was also a stray and it took her 6 years to decide that I could become her best friend!
Yes, under the bed is probably where she'll end up whatever arrangements I put in place!

I think I've had her 8 years now... she's still quite standoffish at times, particularly when other people are around. But when it's just the two of us she likes to be around me.
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Old 20.07.2013, 02:13
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

Care to tell us how it went?
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Old 20.07.2013, 09:59
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

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Care to tell us how it went?
Sorry, perhaps I wasn't clear. I won't be moving until late September... I just wanted some advice now so I could start thinking about how to move Tabitha, as she's the most important and most easily upset of all my 'belongings'!

I will come back with an update when we're settled in though.
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Old 17.08.2013, 07:36
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

So in the end we decided to put forward the move as it suited both parties better... Tabitha and I moved yesterday.

Following from advice on here and thinking about her 'safe place', I decided to move Tabitha on the same day I moved the bed. This seems to have been a wise choice.

Yesterday when we were packing up (especially the bed) she wasn't very happy, she was wandering around like a lost soul trying to find a new place to hide. Despite us providing several, none of them were like her beloved spot under the bed!

Thankfully it's only a 30 minute or so car journey and she was very good the whole way there. Once we arrived at our new home, we put her on the small balcony (we have 2 balconies!) with her litter box, food and water. We've decided to keep all this out there as there's limited floor space in the bathroom and kitchen. She poked her nose out a couple of times, but mostly stayed in her travel cage.

Once the bed was set up (with bedlinen I deliberately didn't wash this week so it smelt of me), we brought her travel cage into my bedroom. She nearly came out on the bed, then we put the cage on the floor so she could see under the bed - she was in there like a shot and spent the rest of the evening there.

I went to bed at 9, and after 40 minutes Tabitha jumped on the bed and started meowing. So I got up and we went for an explore... I showed her the litter tray and her food. Then I tried to go to sleep... but Tabitha was too excited. She spent the whole night investigating, coming back up onto the bed every so often to purr and meow and check I was still there! Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep. At around 5 am I heard her having a drink and something to eat, then it all went quiet. I got up at half past 5 as I couldn't sleep... Tabitha had found a nice cosy place to nap... on my flatmate's new chair. Cats have this instinct, don't they, of where you'd most like them NOT to sleep...

The only thing I'm not sure she's used yet is the litter box... but all in all she seems to have settled in well. I just hope she's a little calmer tonight as I could do with a good night's sleep!

Thanks for all the advice... any tips on discouraging her from sleeping in this chair?
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Old 17.08.2013, 08:55
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

I hope both you and Tabitha are happy in your new home.
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Old 17.08.2013, 18:46
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

Sounds like she already adopted the new place as her new home! How wonderful!
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Old 17.08.2013, 19:12
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

I only just read this thread, I'm so glad that Tabitha seems to have settled into her new home.
When I got married and moved into my husband's house with my cat Kizzy, on the first day someone (hubby ) left the back door open and we couldn't find Kizzy. After a few minutes of me hysterically running around the garden and up and down the road calling her name, we found her inside the house hiding on a bookshelf!
Thankfully, she soon settled in and made the house and garden her own!
Wishing you both many happy times together in your new home.
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Old 17.08.2013, 20:56
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

Glad to hear that the move seems to be going smoothly for your cat (and hopefully for you too). Had to smile at her choice of snoozing place. My niece's cat has appropriated, quite literally, the desk chair in her room. Had the audacity to sit down in it once. If looks could kill I would have been reduced to a pile of smoldering dust on the spot
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Old 17.08.2013, 21:43
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

in my experience cats don't like lavender oil so maybe a bit on the chair will deter her? other wise, cats are like kids and will react to change as well as their 'masters'. as long as you are ok with it she will adapt to it as well.

best of luck and maybe she'll enjoy a cuddle from someone else- just think, now she has two people to give her affection, of course- as a cat- when she wants.

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Old 18.08.2013, 12:56
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

I realised, over the years and many moves with cats, that is it more us that panic than them. But we are more stressed, they just have to sit like royalty in their carrying cases and they are insitu!!

Mine just seemed to need to know I was there, they'd sniff around, come back over to me and repeat over and over and over (yes, the bed in the middle of the night!!) again.

Glad she has found "her" chair!!!
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Old 18.08.2013, 14:09
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

Suggestion: offer to buy your flatmate a replacement 'new' chair immediately....
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Old 18.08.2013, 22:26
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Re: Advice on moving a (nervous) cat in with a 2nd person

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Suggestion: offer to buy your flatmate a replacement 'new' chair immediately....
And a couple of backups, just in case....!!!
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