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Moving to a new house with a very old kitty...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi I am moving to a new house within a couple months and I am very worried about my 16 year old kitty, Rainbow. I've had her for most of my life, since I was 4 (I'm 19 now) and she is a very timid, shy kitty. I'm extremely worried about her not being able to acclimate to a new home since she's lived here her entire life, and she never travels anywhere. I'm terrified that she might get out at the new house and run away or be hurt. She's incredibly healthy and never had a sick day in her life (knock on wood!!) so I know she's got a few years left in her.

Is there any advice that anyone may be able to offer me? I've looked online, but I think Rainbow's circumstances are bit different from most cats, since she is so old and lived in one house her entire life. My mom and I figured to keep her in the basement in the new house for a while until she settles, then maybe take her out for walks around the house on a tether so she can't make an escape out a door. I don't trust my brother and his friends to be super careful to keep doors shut and watch out for her, so I figure the tether would be a good idea. I'll just have to make sure she's got her favorite blankets and stuff in the basement so she has some kind of familiar thing. She hasn't played with toys in a couple years so all she does is lay around the house, and she is a 95% indoor cat so she won't miss being outside. There are plenty of giant windows int he new house that she can look out of and everything too, which is all she has ever cared for.

Thank you all so much for reading this and trying to help out. This has been causing me a great deal of anxiety lately, and I don't want my poor old lady to die of shock or something...
post #2 of 5
I think you've got a good game plan already. I would definitely confine her to a smaller space (not let her have full run of the house just yet) for a while. Smaller spaces are actually comforting to cats when they are unsure of their environment or scared.

Definitely make sure that you put items that she is familiar with, like her blanket, but also put items with her that smell like her family. You want her to be reassured that YOU haven't abandoned her in this new place and your scents will be very reassuring to her.

Also, give her places to hide in her new room. An easy way to give her that is to take a box, cut two cat-sized holes in opposite sides, and turn it upside down. Put a blanket and a piece of your (worn, unwashed) in the bottom so it will smell familiar, and weight down the top so it doesn't move on her. Let her be unsure and scared for a while, and just let her acclimate to the new place on her own time. Spend time with her and talk to her even if she's hiding. She'll come around, but it will be a big change to her and cats generally don't do very well with changes.
post #3 of 5
Our rex is 15 and he's been 100% indoor cat and has no desire for going outside.

We'll be moving in a few months too. But he's also not shy, been to cat shows, etc. and is more adjusted to packing up and going to another place.

With yours, I'd keep her confined to a small area for awhile and let her gradually explore. If she's never been outside or never tried to escape, I seriously doubt she would do it now.

Just be sure she knows where the litter pan is, food, water, etc. It might take her longer to adjust as she's older, but I'm sure she will be fine.
post #4 of 5
Are you living with your parents now? Can you leave kitty there for a month or two until you are totally settled into your new house?

Then bring her over, keeping her in a restricted area. I wouldn't take her outside at all at the new house. Give her a small area, and then that will be her safe zone.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much guys!! Beckiboo, yes, I'm living with my parents. They are getting a divorce so that's the reason we're moving. So, it will be my mom and me at the new house. I'd imagine that I probably wouldn't see her for days after the move. She hides sometimes for days, especially if there is a stranger in the house.

She isn't completely an indoor cat--she begs to go out once a month on only warm sunny days, but she sticks to laying on the deck for a couple hours before begging to come back inside. For the last couple of years her bladder control has definitely weakened, so my mom is afraid she'll pee all over the house, but I think keeping her in the basement until she's pretty acclimated will lessen the probability that she'll pee all over upstairs.

Thanks for all of your suggestions!!! They help a ton!!!
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