Saturday, December 5, 2009

Max on...helping your cat adapt to a new environment

The cat in the novel HH is writing found himself abruptly pulled from his home after the trauma of finding a dead body (yes, her novel is a murder mystery) in the office.

This got me to thinking about how I would feel if, for some reason, HH and I had to evacuate Home Sweet Home abruptly. I imagine I would not be happy.

I'm not good at sudden change. HH's novel cat (Max is his name too -- how clever of HH) pretty much takes the evacuation in stride, but he has visited at the house they evacuate to; so bold as can be, he walks right in and is good to go.

If HH moved me abruptly, we'd probably evacuate to a motel or something full of the scent of dogs and cats who have gone before. That would just freak me out. Here are some things your food humans and HH can do to make an abrupt change easier on these ol' nerves of ours:

1. As a food human, try not to freak out. When you freak out, we do, too. We pick up on those feeling you have. If you're agitated, we will be too. So keep your angst to yourself if you can. Now, if petting us helps you -- you know by lowering your blood pressure or agitation during the stressful time -- by all means, have at it. I'm of the opinion that there's no such thing as too much petting.

2. Don't forget to pack our things, too. Take our medical records, food, dishes (water and food), leash, litter and litter pan, and toys (don't forget the toys).

3. Be sure to pack at least one comfort item for us. For me, that would be a t-shirt with HH's scent on it or, of course, one of my favorite quits will suffice.

4. Transport us in the carrier. If you are going any distance, it is best to transport us in a carrier. We don't feel very secure if we are rambling around the car or van. Instead, we feel that we are in peril at all times and might start howling. I know food humans find that distracting, so use the carrier and stop occasionally to see if we need water or need to use the litter.

5. When you get to the new destination, introduce us to the new environment one room at a time. For example, HH always starts by putting my litter, my water and food bowl, and me in a bathroom in a new environment. This gives me time to adapt in a small place that is not overwhelming to me. After a few hours or a day, she opens the door, this leaves the option open for me to decide if I want to come out and see the rest of the place or if I feel better staying put in my small environment. If we are staying a while, I usually come out on my own time, sniff the place thoroughly and then settle in.

These are the methods HH uses to move me from spot to spot. What techniques does your food human use when you go to visit others or you go on vacation?

274 comments:

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Brian said...

That is so very true and good advise. Thanks for passing it on...and we hope we never have to use it huh?

Max the Quilt Cat said...

Brian: Thanks for the comment... Yes, we hope we never have to use it.

Michelle said...

We plan to move in a couple of months, so these tips will come in handy. Thanks, Max!

Quark said...

besides a comfort item like t-shirt or quilt (for us, it's staff2's socks. mmmm!), be sure to take several days worth of our favorite foods. new places, frightening sounds and smells may still put us off our feed, but we'll eat sooner if it's something familiar and well-liked.

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