How to Help Your Cat Adjust to a New Home

Learn how to help your cat adjust to a new home from board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. E'Lise Christensen, DVM in this Howcast video.

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Thinking of getting a cat -- or need some advice about caring for the one you already have? In these videos, board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. E'Lise Christensen, DVM, answers all your questions -- and some you didn't even know you had.

 
 

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Are you moving? Well, I'm pretty sure you're stressed and so is your cat. Cats can be very bonded to territories or the areas where they're comfortable. So when you move to a new location, you can expect that to be not only one of the most stressful things in your life, but also in your cat's. One way to help your cat with this transition is to take the same items that you had at your previous home with you to you new home. Sometimes it's tempting to get all new things when you move in, but for cats, it can be comforting to have things that are familiar. When you first move into your new home, it's really important that you give your cat some time to explore each area. But don't let them have access to every space at the same time, it can be really overwhelming. Instead, especially if you're still moving things in and out, you may want to set your cat up in a bathroom or other small area with a litter box, food, water, some toys and a nice place to rest. Then, when you feel like you have some time, go in and hang out with your kitty cat. If he's doing well, you can let him out for supervised visits to the rest of the home. Expect him to be a little nervous at first, but he should get comfortable within a day or so. If within a day or so you find that he's still hiding or distressed, you should talk with your veterinarian. In addition, this is a time where aggression toward other animals or people in the home can be a problem. If you see that happening with your cat and it hasn't been a problem before, that's another time when you should reach out to your veterinarian. But in the meantime, put your cat back in his safe bathroom, so that he has a place to relax. That's how you can handle moving with your cat.

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  • Dr. E'Lise Christensen

    Dr. E'Lise Christensen DVM is a board-certified veterinary behaviorist and an international lecturer and author. As the only veterinary behaviorist in NYC, she sees patients with a variety of issues. Dr. Christensen has contributed to articles in Cat Fancy, Dog Training Solutions, Real Simple, Newsday, and other print media. She has been a contributor and guest on Foxnews.com's Pet Health, ABC News’ Nightline and other newscasts.