City and Country Cats: Preparing Your Cat for a New Environment



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Transitioning a cat from one type of environment – urban or rural – to another can be a challenge, particularly if you are planning to keep your city cat inside. With a bit of planning and the right tools, you can ease your cat through the process with minimal stress on your feline companion.

Prepping the new environment
Moving from a rural or suburban area, where your cat was able to access the outdoors on a regular basis, to a city environment, means your cat most likely will need to be confined indoors for her own safety. You can still allow your cat to enjoy the space though and provide her with regular enrichment activities.

Installing some cat trees in your new urban home will give the cat multiple areas to climb and explore. Provide a variety of trees (vertical, horizontal and trees that have spaces cats can go in and out of). You also will want to provide plenty of scratching posts. Cats that have been outdoors regularly may be used to marking and scratching trees and other surfaces and will need a proper outlet for this natural behavior. If your urban home is too small for cat trees, another option is to install carpeted shelving on the walls at various heights so your cat can use these to explore.

Window boxes and shelves are another great option that will allow your kitty to see the outside world. If you have the space, such as in an apartment or condominium patio, you can install a completely screened in area with a cat door designed for use with sliding doors. The space gives your cat a chance to come and go outside on her own, but keeps her safe from jumping off the patio area.

Installing a bird feeder near the window or patio area can also give your cat hours of mental enrichment. One important caution is being aware of what is known as Feline High Rise Syndrome . According to the ASPCA, cats have been known to incorrectly estimate the height they are at and will jump out windows and either severely injure themselves or suffer fatalities. A previously outdoor cat is very likely to be interested in looking out the windows of your apartment, so make sure all windows and screens are securely latched and cat-tamper proof.

Litter boxes
Cats that have previously been outdoors and have not used litter boxes in the home may have some initial difficulties with adjusting to using a box. You should provide multiple boxes and rotate the locations until you determine which areas your cat appears most comfortable using. You may also find your cat rejecting commercially made litter so sand and/or dirt may be an option as these are substrates the cat is used to using.

Keeping your cat’s mind stimulated
Finally, keeping your cat well occupied, both physically and mentally, can reduce the stress she will feel upon no longer being able to go outside. Take the time to play with your cat each day with toys that she enjoys, such as cat pull toys, feathers, balls and interactive food puzzles. Clicker training your cat to do basic behaviors is also a wonderful way to keep her mentally healthy and engaged. If your cat is amenable to other cats, you might also consider getting her a new feline friend, although this is best postponed until you are well settled in your new home, as the added stress of a new friend combined with a new move can be quite a lot for a cat to handle at once.

Country Cat —City Cat
Moving a cat from an urban to a rural or suburban environment poses challenges of its own. This is often the time when pet guardians may decide to allow their cat to go outdoors. However, many prominent organizations, including the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, AVMA and the American Association of Feline Practitioners advocate keeping cats indoors in all environments. Cats that are allowed outdoors are at risks including:

  • Diseases from parasites (fleas, ticks, heartworm and more)
  • Injury or potential death from attacks by wild animals or other neighborhood pets
  • Becoming lost because they are unfamiliar with their surroundings
  • Increased risk of being hit by cars

Keeping cats indoors also protects the wild bird population, as it’s estimated by Audubon.org that domestic cats kill 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds a year in the U.S. alone.

If you decide that you still want to allow your cat to enjoy your new natural surroundings, you do have some “safe” options, including:

  • A fully screened in cat enclosure in your yard or on a patio— You can purchase pre-made versions or even build your own (if you build your own, make sure the screen material you use is indestructible to cat claws). You want to also be sure to only allow your cat in this area supervised, as you don’t want wild animals or other cats, both stray and owned, to harass your cat.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.


After the move

The worst is over! Now your objective is just to help your cat ease into the new home as seamlessly as possible.

Follow your cat’s lead. The more stressed your cat is, the more gradual you’ll want to be about introducing them to their new space. It may be too much for a stressed cat to have free reign of the house right away, particularly since they’ll need to learn a new litter box spot in an unfamiliar environment. Choose a sort of home-base for your cat in the beginning, and keep their things, litter box included, in there. Spend a good amount of time in the room as well, interacting with your cat and doing other normal activities. As your cat eases in, curiosity should replace fear and they’ll be ready to expand their explorations.

Deep clean. This is especially important if there were other animals living in the home before you moved in. Cats have a powerful sense of smell, and they can pick up on not just general animal smells, but any stress those animals had, which can increase their own. Shampoo and deep clean carpets, vacuum every square inch to remove any lingering fur, and take a Clorox wipe to all counters and surfaces.

Set up a permanent litter box space. Once your pet is ready to explore more, you’ll want to establish their litter box’s permanent home. Keep a litter box in their home-base room, and put another one where you’ll want the main spot to be. Let both sit out for a few weeks, and then remove the home-base litter box so the only one left is the permanent one.

If you notice your cat isn’t adjusting after a few weeks, talk to your vet about possible solutions to make the transition easier. Hopefully though, being present and being aware will be enough to help reduce your cat’s moving-related stress. Show your cat that there is nothing to be scared of, and gradually they should start to come around and adjust to their new environment.


Cats and Moving to a New Home: Making the Transition

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

Moving may be one of the most disruptive life changes—for both humans and pets. Cats are averse to change, which can make moving day extra stressful for all.

When it’s time to pack up the house and make your migration, you can take steps to make the transition easier for your kitty. The goal is to keep them calm and comfortable. This will help you avoid messes, meowing, aggression, and attempted escapes.


Pet Winter Safety: Should Your Pet Dress for the Weather?

We don coats to face the frigid temps, so it seems natural to think that coats for dogs and cats might offer them similar protection from the elements. The vets we talked to agreed -- to a point.

Continued

Coats to protect cats from cold weather are probably not a good idea, say pros we talked to. "Cats generally won't tolerate them well," Sonnenfield tells WebMD, adding that pet clothes are probably most useful for your pooch.

Yet, as cute as your dog's cold weather coat may be, don't put clothes on your pet and then shoo him outside to wander without supervision, says Susan G. Wynn, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist in Georgia. Not only does your pet risk frostbite and other danger if his canine clothes get wet, he may "try to get out of the sweater or coat and get caught in a way that makes suffocation a risk." Monitoring your dressed-up dog is essential.

While you're at it, keep an eye on your pup's pads too, Sonnenfield says. "It does not take long for snow to freeze on their paws and cause problems." Salt-spread sidewalks can also imperil your pooch's pads by burning them. If you go the route of protective booties for your dog, try slipping baby socks onto his paws to get him used to the feel of something on his feet. Once your pooch accepts the socks, he's probably ready for booty bling.

A quick note about dog boots: Be sure they fit snuggly but not too tight. Otherwise you risk cutting off your dog’s circulation and inviting frostbite.


Watch the video: Rescue Poor Baby Cats Help Remove Many Ticks and Shower Day 04


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