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Minimize Cat Stress with New Person in House

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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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. Jon




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