How can I get my cat to stop being a hermit?

My cat is 6 years old, she's a very friendly, albeit spoiled kitty. She's also skiddish at times, and choosy about who she likes. Anyway, I recently moved from TX to CO and brought her with me. She endured a long drive punctuated with an overnight stay at a hotel. Upon arrival I stayed in an apartment with friends for two weeks and finally moved into the permanent destination residence where we can finally settle in. Needless to say, it was arduous for both of us. But now she hides in the closet in my upstairs bedroom, and hasn't ventured out even when her necessities were downstairs in the main floor of our home. So I moved her stuff into my bedroom so she'd eat and drink and use the litter box. She comes out, meows for food and plays around in my room while I'm in there, rolls on the carpet, purrs and whines for affection and does her normal thing, but I cannot get her outside of the bedroom and she still spends the great majority of her time in the closet. How do I get her adjusted?

Asked by Member 1063320 on Oct 13th 2011 Tagged moving, behavior, scared, hiding in Socialization
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It sounds like the trip was pretty rough on her and now she's feeling insecure. I think the primary way a cat feels secure is by scent.

What I've read about acclimating a cat to a new home is to put her in a small area -- a closet, your bedroom -- with everything she needs -- food, water, litterbox, toys. This way, she has a much smaller space to familiarize herself with (ie, mark with her scent).

You can help things smell more like home by using a product like Feliway which mimics a cats facial pheremones. It's available in a plug-in diffuser (like a plug-in air freshener) which lasts up to a month. You won't smell anything, but to her it should smell like home. At first, put it in your room. After she's comfortable there, maybe you should move it outside to "freshen" the whole upstairs.

Another trick is to rub a washcloth on your cats face, picking up her scent, and then rubbing that on the walls.

As she get comfortable in your room, let her explore at her own pace.

Gypsy answered on 10/14/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

Hannah is absolutely right. Because your cat behaves the way she does while she's close to you in your bedroom, it a safe bet to say she doesn't have health issues of any kind and that her behavior is simply because she's been wierded out by the move. When we moved, I tried to spend extra time with my kitties until I realized they just wanted to explore on their own and wanted me to leave them alone to do so! Keep your routine as normal as possible and once she realizes that basically her life and the people around her are still the same, she'll come around. You can try moving the litter box back toward the downstairs, but that's a long procedure since you have to move it a few inches at a time and you run the risk of her stopping using it. Just keep things as normal as possible, and as Hannah said, give her her space and let her get used to her new home in her own time. She will eventually!

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 10/17/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer