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Fraidy cat in new three story home - what to do?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
This question only concerns Alley. She has always been a Fraidy Cat. When the doorbell rings, she heads for under the bed. Any kind of noise at all upsets her and she will cringe. After we got her, it took about a month before she started exploring the rest of the house, after spending most of her time under the bed.

We are moving into a three story townhome with two winding flights of stairs. On the first floor is the garage, storage space, an entry way, and a large office. There will be no beds on the first floor nor anything to hide under. It is my plan to put the litterbox on the first floor and set the cats on the first floor when we move in.

I have no doubt that Persi, our other cat, will be up and in bed with us (on the third floor) the very first night. I also have no doubt that Alley will be mortified and scared and not know what to do. I do not wish to be mean but I need to have a litterbox near by for her that she is used to using. I have horrid visions of her just staying down there on the first floor forever more, never daring to climb the stairs. Yes, I know I could set her on the third floor and put a litter box up there. Then she would have beds to stay under.

The second floor has the kitchen and living areas. I do not want to keep a litter box there.

Anybody with similar experiences?
post #2 of 14
My cats rn when they hear the doorbell too. I figure they are afraid of the dogs trampling them in the mad to the door.

The office sounds like the perfect place for them during the move.

You might want to think about taking Alley on a tour of the house after you get a few set up - the furniture, their toys and a few of her favorite blankets. As you carry her through the house, talk to her in a nice soft voice. It may take a few tours, but you have an advantage in that the furniture is goint the be familiar to her.

Litterboxs on the top and bottom floors should be fine. Good luck with the move ad congrats on the new place.
post #3 of 14
She will be fine in time. A little extra attention would be helpful and maybe some treats.
post #4 of 14
My bet would be that she will love the many levels of the house, in time. It's the rare cat who doesn't love to sit at the top of the stairs and survey its kingdom!
post #5 of 14
Maybe try to confine her to each level for a week and see how things go.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Persi & Alley View Post
After we got her, it took about a month before she started exploring the rest of the house.
She'll do the same in your new home. Since you said the first floor is the storage area, perhaps you can put a temporary cardboard box for her to hide in, containing familiar, comfort items like one of your used shirts.
post #7 of 14
I would make sure she has some hiding spots on the first floor. That should make her feel secure faster. Then make sure she has at least one good hiding spot on each floor. Being able to move from hiding spot to hiding spot is even better. I think I remember reading in "How to think like a cat" that you could even make a tunnel for a scared new arrival.

It can be as nice as one of those wicker beds, or as simple as a kitty cube, an enclosed bed or a cardboard box with a blanket over it...we have an arm chair that Bella likes to crawl under sometimes. just some place she can have some privacy and be quiet until the "danger" passes.

If she hasn't explored after a week or two I would take her on a guided tour of the second floor and drop her off in front of the designated hiding spot. If she's at all food motivated (and IMHO most cats are to some extent), you could use some treats (or even just pieces of dry kibble) to make her feel better about the new surroundings.

Slow and steady...
post #8 of 14
Make sure you invest in some Feliway plug ins Lee?
post #9 of 14
i'm sure she will want to be with you and that will drive her to investigate the rest of the house too. my shinobi is terrified (to the point of hiding under the bed the whole time visitors are in the house) of loud noises/new people but he will always come out when it is just us, which fortunately it is most of the time!
post #10 of 14
I think I would carry her up and down the stairs after the first few days if she doesn't show an inclination to explore, but you might be worrying too soon. Stairs are fun to race up and down, and she may follow Persi's lead. Feliway diffusers, as Susan suggested, would be a good idea, as well as a few well-placed cardboard boxes.
post #11 of 14
When I think of multiple-story houses, I always think about the barn house in "The Cat Who..." books. That place sounds like heaven for cats!
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
When I think of multiple-story houses, I always think about the barn house in "The Cat Who..." books. That place sounds like heaven for cats!
Oh yes! Imagine all that space to play and explore!. Their gazebo would be perfect for my two
post #13 of 14
She'll most likely come out and explore once you're asleep and the house is quiet. Our fraidy cat is most brave once we're in bed and the lights are out, or she thinks nobody is arund.

I would have a litter box on the third and first floors, make sure she knows where they are, and leave comfortable hiding places for her. She'll be scared for a while, but will get used to it.

If she has favourite toys, play with them on the stairs, or on a different floor with her so she's not so scared of those areas.
post #14 of 14
When we moved from the RV (37 feet long by 8 feet wide) with our five cats (at the time) into a two story home, we moved everything familiar to them (two trees, their beds, blankets, litter boxes, etc.) into our bedroom. We released them into the bedroom and kept the door closed for the first two days of living there.

Then we opened the door and simply let them decide when to explore things on their own. I think it took Lazlo about two weeks before he went down the stairs. Then it was a night when everything was quiet, and he was ready to bolt right back up there.

We put cardboard boxes out around the house for them to have hidey places. Of course they love the boxes, so they're a regular part of our home anyway. But it was great for them to have places to bolt when scared.

Of course spraying lots of Feliway around for the first month should really help too.

Laurie
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