Saturday, May 29, 2010

Introducing cats - day 1

Over the last couple of days, I have been in the process of helping my other half move up to my place.

As of today, James' cat is moved up. As a bit of background, said cat is suspected to be part bobcat somewhere in his family history, and does not generally handle stress well. So we had spent a long time up to now mulling over how to handle the move.

We put some of the pheremone spray and a couple of James's old shirts in the carrier with him in the hopes of calming him down. We had tried the Comfort Zone diffusers and sprays with my cat with much success in reducing stress levels, but had thus far not tried its effects on any other cat.

Anubis panted and cried some in the car but James says that's MUCH better than he's ever done in a car ride, and that's even the longest one he's ever been on. He's in the front room now with James, he's already eaten, drank a bit, and rubbed his face on some of the furniture. Hasn't used the litterbox *yet* but we brought his old one with all the litter in it so we'll see by morning. He says he's doing better with this than he's EVER seen him do on a move before, so that's a good sign. We had planned ahead by not only putting a pheremone diffuser in the room, but also by trying to set up some familiar things before bringing him in. The desk was already set up, plus we also brought all his toys, his food and water dish from the old house, everything we could set up to make him feel at home. Familiarity is important, especially making sure there are still things that smell like the cat in the new house. This is why we kept the already "dirty" litter - totally dumping the box and refreshing it could slow the process.

My own cat, Simba seems to be doing okay. She was a bit clingy until she realized I was still going to pet her. I tried to push into my normal night routine and after that she seemed to be pretty much okay. She's a little tense, of course, but then again so are we and there's still boxes all over (we're going to start tackling those tomorrow). But she's locked eyes with Anubis at least a couple times - she put her ears halfway back like she does when she's not sure about something and wants me to tell her it's okay, but she hasn't poofed up or growled or acted like she wants to run from him. She seems curious more than anything, a little wary but he doesn't seem upset by her and she's MUCH calmer than she was with the dogs (and with Shaggy she even started to come out and get nosy about him after the first day). She is, as a general rule, an adaptable cat, but she does sometimes get a bit jealous and she is getting old and set in her ways, so I wasn't sure how she'd take it. She's not frantic, and doesn't seem to consider him a threat. Both of these things are very important.

So hopefully this is a good sign and all will go well. Simba's crashed in her kitty bed right now. So we seem to be okay as far as stress levels go. We're good for now, the next big hurdle is when we're ready to remove the gate, but we'll deal with that when we come to it. Right now, they can smell each other, they can see each other while James and I are up. He's going to sleep in the front room with his kitty tonight, so Simba can curl up with me tonight. That should help.

We're still nervous, but so far it's started off better than we expected it would so I think we're going to be okay. Now if we can just get some of this clutter pared down we'll be good. We're tackling that tomorrow.

That should help Simba relax a bit too, I think. She wasn't quite sure about the boxes that started to take over the house, so clearing that up should help.

The sad part is, I know all the steps, I've helped other people transition their pets before. I know the advice tends to work. But there's that extra layer of nerves when you're dealing with your own cats.

If the rest of the process goes as smoothly as tonight has gone, I think everyone will be okay.

Their welfare comes first right now.

We'll see where it goes.

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