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Reducing Stress in moving process

October 20th, 2005, 10:58 AM
I have sold my place and we've finalized a deal on a house to move into. We're moving Dec 2. I have 3 cats and a dog. The dog is going to be a piece of cake, as will the two girls. The third cat, however, is going to be a challenge.

I got this guy as a teeny tiny kitten; he was so small he hadn't quite learned how to walk yet. He was a little over a year old when I moved into the place I'm at now, and had never known any other home previously. He's a really sweet cat most of the time, likes to cuddle and give kisses & head-butts. However, the first move changed him. He started chasing the girls, very aggressively (he out-weighs them 2:1 so it's pretty scary for them), and if he's somewhere I don't want him to be anymore (in a closet, on my lap, on my desk when I'm trying to work), he gets really mean. Swats, hisses, growls and sometimes bites.
I moved from a 2-bedroom apartment to a 2-bedroom townhouse with a basement, and when I moved in, I put all the cats in the basement so they wouldn't escape while stuff was moving in, and he didn't come up for 3 days. I didn't have the dog at the time, and I know the dog added to his stress when he arrived about 3 months after we moved. However, they all seem to have adapted for the most part.
Don't get me wrong, Taz *has* gotten better. I've tried to spend more time with him, and I don't get mad at him when he doesn't want to move (though I have been known to chase him out of the closet with a broom!), and I still love him. But if he gets worse when we move again, I will have to think about euthanising him. So, what can I do to make the move easier? We're moving into a house that is a split level, and I can't just put him in the basement and let him decide when to come out, he'll have to go into a bathroom or bedroom. I don't want to see him so stressed again!

Please help!

Lucky Rescue
October 20th, 2005, 11:15 AM
Taz sounds like a thin-skinned cat who is easily stressed. Stress in cats often shows up as redirected aggression and it seems like this is happening here.

I would start giving him Rescue Remedy right now to help him calm down. When you move to the new home, confine him to one room, preferably a bedroom, and leave him there for at least a week, or until he seems more relaxed. This has two purposes - to let him get confident and secure in one space first and not be overwhelmed by the whole house, and to let your other cats free in the house so they will spread their scent all over. That could help with the aggression he is showing towards them.

Go in and visit him often, talk quietly and sprinkle some catnip around and play with him. Both will help him relax.

In addition to the Rescue Remedy, try spraying some Feliway (a pheramone spray) around the house. This is supposed to have a soothing effect.

Good luck!