Minimize Cat Stress with New Person in House

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Our question this week was:

Dear Doctor,

I have two cats and live alone. But not for long. My boyfriend is moving in next month. What is the best way to make this transition to minimize the stress on my cats?

Please help!

Mary, Fuzzy and Thomas

Answer

Dear Mary,

New people in the environment and changes in the environment can be stressful to cats. From your cats' point of view, there are a few things going on. There is going to be a new person, probably "stuff" in the environment, new smells, and you may change your behavior (spend more time with your boyfriend and less time with them). Try to keep your cats routine as normal as possible and keep their favorite spots for hiding and sleeping as consistent as possible. Before the move, make sure your boyfriend spends some time with the cats. Don't force your cats on him or him on the cats. Ask him to sit in the room where the cats are and allow them to come to him. Encourage him to play with them or give them treats. You may want to allow your boyfriend to feed them periodically so that they associate him with "good things". Having a few items of his around before the move may also be good so they can get used to his scent. Each cat may adjust at a different rate. Don't force anything on either party. Most importantly, try to make sure the relationship you have between you and your cat is consistent. Provide a consistent playtime, feeding time and the same quality time as you did before he moved in.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra




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About The Author

debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for PetPlace.com, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.