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Mariah's avatar

Any advice on how to keep my cat sane during this rough period?

Asked by Mariah (25876points) July 20th, 2012

We have a 13 year old male cat who is usually very chill and loving, but a bit of a wuss. He’s an indoor cat and is scared of the outdoors and mews his little head off when he has to be taken to the vet’s.

We just had to have his sister put to sleep a few days ago; they had never been apart before. And now we’re moving in a few days. This is a lot of big change at once and I’m a little worried it will affect him badly. We’ve been moving furniture around and he seems to be on edge. He hissed at me and tried to bite me earlier for pulling a pencil out from under him that he was lying on top of, and that’s not like him.

We bought some Feliway pheromone diffusers for the new house that are supposed to relax cats. Also when we get to the new house, we’re going to keep him in one room out of the way for a bit while the house is in disarray, so he’s not in the middle of all the chaos. We’ll provide some blankets with his scent on them. Any other tips?

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7 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

A small cotton sock with a tiny smear of your blood on it?

Some mini-treats of a teaspoon or two of the juice from a can of organic, line fished, wild tuna?

Coloma's avatar

Just be there for him, give him lots of love, play with him more, give him a sense of security in your presence and he will adjust within a few weeks. Animals react in the moment, we tend to project our emotions onto them, but, in reality, they are not sitting around dwelling in things the way we do. Your cat senses his friend is gone, he is sensing changes, but he is not obsessing mentally as people do.

tinyfaery's avatar

Put him in one room with food, litter, water and his carrier when you get to your new place. I’ve learned that having your household set up before you introduce your cat to the entire place can significantly reduce the stress. 1 week in 1 room should do the trick.

For now, do not accept or reward the bad behavior or you risk carrying that behavior with you to your new home. Reassure him and try to change his routine as little as possible. Keep his favorite things out until you absolutely have to move them.

Good luck!

ragingloli's avatar

Well, he knows you killed his sister. You are lucky to still be alive. (possibly NSFW)

rooeytoo's avatar

Rescue Remedy on the tongue, does wonders. It relaxes them and they don’t care what is going on around them. It is sort of like pot only you don’t have to teach them to smoke.

tinyfaery's avatar

I agree ^^.

Buttonstc's avatar

Also keep in mind that 13 is a Senior cat so it’s not that surprising that he’s a bit cranky. Everything around him is changing.

Cats don’t welcome change at all. If they could have their vision enacted of a perfect world for them, each day would be exactly like the previous. The only change they find pleasant is a variety of small animals and birds scampering about outside their favorite window.

Other than that, they want their favorite food, litterbox in same location, same napping spots, favorite human, other animal companions etc etc.

Any changes to those unsettles them. Right now you are his rock and his safety. Being able to cuddle up with you each night and be able to nap on your bed and be in the room with your scent all over when you’re gone is what will help him the most.

I agree completely with keeping him in your room only for at least a week and possibly longer. An extra week or more probably wouldn’t hurt.

And when you’re ready to let him explore further try to do it at a time when you’re going to be in your room anyway. Just casually leave the door open slightly and allow him to go out and come back in as he chooses.

If he still prefers the safety of you and “his” room, that’s fine too. When he’s ready, he’ll do a little exploring. But always keep the door open so when he needs to retreat back to safety he can. Don’t ever shut him out. This way he has the freedom to adjust to the rest at his own pace. There’s no rush.

My Velvet was timid that way and I moved with her numerous times. But as long as she could cuddle up right next to me on my right, she was OK. It always took her quite a while to adjust but as long as she had her anchor (me) she took it in stride.

The only times she was ever truly distressed is if I were visiting friends and couldn’t take her. I always had a loving cat person taking care of her but she wasn’t really happy till I came back. And she would stick to me like Velcro for about a week after.

But you should also try some of the calming natural products recommended by our other Fluther cat experts. Certainly couldn’t hurt.

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