Thursday, July 19, 2007

Advice needed: moving with a cat and introducing a new kitten

We're moving at the end of this month, and I'm not sure how my cat will handle it. Cats are very attached to their home, I've even heard they can run away and try to go back to their old home, and we haven't moved since we got her, so how do I do this in the least traumatic way for her?

Shortly after that, we will most likely have a new kitten. This is another issue I'm not sure what to do about. How do I introduce the new kitten to my cat? I've read a bit about this, and it seems the general advice is to keep the new pet in a separate room for a couple of days, to allow the other pets to get used to the foreign smell, then introduce with caution. I heard that younger animals are accepted more easily by older animals, hope it's true.

I will really appreciate advice from anyone who has experience in moving with pets and/or introducing new fur babies to older pets. How did it go for you and how do you think it can be made easier?


Coffee Wife said...

You have to keep your cat indoors for at least two weeks. That helps the cat to accept its new home and NOT run back to the old one! (Which they do very well!) I've always tried to get a cat used to a new cat by keeping them apart but taking cloth slept on by the new cat and putting it with the old cat every day - so it gets used to the smell. And then I introduce them with one of them inside of a cat carrier. I do this over and over for about two weeks and see how things go! Maybe you could do this while your cat is in its new home the first two weeks? He'll be on neutral ground and won't be able to say, "THIS IS MY HOUSE!" yet! Just an idea *grin*

Anna S said...

Our cat is an indoors girl, so I don't think it will be a problem. I'll just continue keeping her indoors. We're moving to another city, so if she runs away, she will be lost for sure!

Good idea with the smell! And yes, the new kitten will probably be introduced a short time after we move. Maybe this will make my cat less possessive about her territory. She's awful when guests come!

Sheri said...

Anna, although I don't know much about cats, we've moved with our dog 7 times in 7 years.

I try do keep her food the same brand, give her extra treats, take her lon onger walks, etc. She adjusts fine.

Marianne said...

Anna - I think I mentioned before that I'm a crazy cat lady.

When I've moved my cats before, they just went into hiding for quite a while. It was really tough on them. My current cats are pretty amenable. We take them with us when we go out of town and they've spent long weekends with my in-laws. I'm hoping that makes it easier on them when we move in a week.

My advice would be to make sure she has the things she loves in a quiet room while she gets adjusted. It might not take that long.

When you bring the kitten home, keep an eye on the older cat, but don't interfere (unless they really fight), so a pecking order can be established. I've never had any problems introducing kittens. Adult cats can sometimes be a challenge, but kittens are naturally submissive.

Good luck. I hope your move goes smoothly. And sorry I was so long-winded.

Mrs. Brigham said...

We've moved with our indoor cats quite a few times and have only had one problem through all the moves. Be sure that you close the cat carrier well, as this is how our little cat wound up on his five month outdoor adventure ;o) We always bring their scratch post, bed, and toys with us, so they can have their "home" back right when we arrive at our new house.

When we introduced our newest cat, we would keep a close eye on the cats' interactions and kept the little one in a room with litterbox at night or when we were out & about until we knew they got along. Also, we added water & food bowls and a litterbox for each cat. My parents have four cats and have done the same things and have never had any issues, so it does seem to work well. :o)

MInTheGap said...

We moved with a cat early in our marriage (we no longer have it since we found we spent so much time with our kids that we didn't have time for a cat), and it was difficult to get her to the new house. We let her loose in the basement and she ran and found places to hide-- it was hard to find her!

However, she adapted after a few days and liked to explore.

My advice would be to just give the cat time to adjust and don't expect it to be too playful as it does-- just like other members of the family. :)

Anna S said...

*Takes noted*

Some great advice here! Thanks!!

Sue said...

No help with the cats here, we are petless. Just came over from Mrs. B's and wanted to tell you that I am enjoying your blog and am so happy to see young ladies like yourself with good Christian values able to have such meaningful discussions.

Mrs.B said...


You've gotten some great advice. I agree, that a kitten should be easier to introduce than another adult cat would be.

I'd start by putting the kitten under a clothes basket (or putting her in a cat carrier) and letting the older cat sniff her. See how it goes. I'd do that until the older cat seems comfortable. If she never does seem comfortable you would need to keep the kitten in a separate room for awhile. Cats are naturally curious so your older cat will come check out the new one. Then try the clothes basket again.

If your older cat seems comfortable with the clothes basket I'd let them together a bit. Supervised of course and see how it goes. Much of this will be trial and error...There is no exact answer because each situation is different.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

**Add another litter box. Sometimes cats don't like to share boxes.
**Do NOT leave them alone together unless you are home. Even if it seems they're getting along fine. Keep them separated when you aren't home for several weeks just to make sure nothing bad happens.

Anna S said...

Thanks, Mrs. B! I will definitely add another litter box, and keep the two litter boxes in different rooms for a while.

Beautifuly Created said...

If your cat is an indoor cat I would not worry about her running away to much as long as you make sure to keep her indoors. Do make sure to watch for signs of stress though. And make sure she dosn't get packed in any boxes (LOL).
We made an international move with an indoor cat. On the origin end we locked him in a room that the movers were not going into while they were there so he could not get into any boxes. When we got state-side he spent eight days at a vet being boarded and then several weeks at my mother-in-laws while we found a house and got moved in. Shortly after we moved he started peeing all over the house. We thought it was him marking his teritory but thought it was odd since he was nutered. We talked to the vet about it and they gave us a spray to deter him from peeing, it helped but did not end the problem. Three years later I bought a new kind of litter that has a PH indicater in it and it turns out that our cat has a very bad unrinary tract problem probably due to the stress of our move that never got better. So if she starts not using her litter box get it checked out.

PandaBean said...

I agree with the separate litter boxes. Other than that I really don't have any advice; DH and I are both cat-crazy, but I've never actually had one. The only reason we don't have one right now is limited space, hence no space for a litter box. (And DH /has/ to have a Russian Blue and /nothing/ else will do! :P)

JME said...

Hi I have been reading your Blog a bit but have never responded.
I work at a cat shelter and one of the things we suggest is to wipe a wash cloth on the face of the new kitten and then put it with your cat. That way they can become familiar with the scent. You can also do that for your cat to the kitten. Also, there is a product called Feliway it comes in a spray and a difusser. You can spray it around the new home, it mimics their pheromones and helps to calm them. It is expensive though. Everyone elses advice is right on as well. I hope that didn't come off to bold. Jana

Anna S said...

Beautifully Created,

Thanks for the advice! As a matter of fact, it seems my cat *wants* to be packed. She insists on getting inside the boxes as I pack.

And thanks Jana! I've never heard about that spray before... hope they can somehow get along without pheromones :)

Beautifuly Created said...

Most cats want to get into the packing boxes. I used to work for a moving company and heard about a couple of times when cats or other pets acidently got packed into household goods. Most of the time everything turned out fine but you always think the worse and cats naturaly go for boxes because they are so cave like.

Tracy said...

Hi Anna,

I've moved with my kitties many times.

Mine like to hide in a closet for a few days and "explore" at night so I've just started anticipating that.

I make sure that they go into a closet I choose by letting them out in that room. I also prep the closet with some towels and blankets and even a dirty shirt or two to make it "smell like home". I leave out tasty wet food and make sure the littler box is in an obvious place.

When introducing a new kitten, I like to keep them isolated for a day or two especially since we believe strongly in adopting our pets from municipal shelters. That way I can make sure our kitten is healthy*.

Then I like to pet/snuggle new cat and then wearing the same clothes, interact with the resident kitty. That way scents get passed back and forth while also being connected to something familiar(Me!)

hope your transition is peaceful.

*Though most rescues, SPCAs and Humane Societies provide excellent health care, we go for the open-door, poor shelters.

Anna S said...

Thank you for your advice, Tracy! This particular kitten was picked up from the street, and instead of taking her to a shelter, we bottle-fed her ourselves (she was about 10 days old).