Relocating a cat

by Ashley

Hi :) I have raised an orphaned kitten since she was 2-3 weeks old. She's had op and has been raised indoors in an apartment with no other animals.

She is 3 now and a gorgeous girl, never been outside or met another cat. If she was to be relocated to another house in the country with access to the outdoors and other cats how would she settle in?

Editor's note: Every cat is different, Ashley, but there are specific ways to relocate a cat and to introduce a cat to other cats.

There are no guarantees, and doing it right doesn't ensure a better outcome. But, doing it wrong is more likely to produce bad results.

Cats are extremely territorial and tend to dislike change. S-l-o-w introductions are required, both to the new house, and to other cats.

Relocating your cat

When relocating a cat, the first thing you do is place the cat in a quiet room with plenty of sun. You set her up like a queen with all of her goodies, and let her get used to that new room.

Let her set the pace, but when she's ready, you can give her more access to the rest of the house. After a time, she'll be used to the new house.

Meeting new cats

Introducing a new cat to another cat is a process. Just about every major animal organization that deals with cats has their own guide for this and they are freely available online. I've published my own cat-to-cat introduction guide here.

Separation at first with very slow introductions is critical, and that room she's confined in becomes her safe zone. You then slowly let the cats get used to each other, and then move on to supervised meetings. Ideally, everyone gets along in the end, even if they don't at first.

The outdoors

I don't like the idea of allowing cats to roam. Some people think that if it's out in the country, that all will be fine. The stories I've heard don't prove that out.

Cats that remain indoors or only go outdoors in protected outdoor enclosures tend to live longer and are less prone to disease and injuries.

Some cats who are raised indoors won't have much desire to go outside. Others will jump at the chance, only to find out it's not for them. Others will enjoy it and become outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats. They're all different, and you can't predict how a cat will react.

I hope that helps.

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