life returning back to normal around here and tips to help your cats adjust to change
This day has been long in coming. The repairs from this winter’s busted pipe incident are finally done. I realize it could have been worse and we could have lost access to our entire house. Thankfully, it didn’t come down to living in a hotel for four months!
We lost two bathrooms and access to half of our garage. This meant sharing the attic bathroom with two cats. Speaking of cats, I will be closing down their “apartment” where they have spent the last four months. I have to say I am really proud of them for adjusting to life back on the main floor. It has gone smoothly without a lot of “trauma”. Today will be the final test as I move their litter box back to the basement and shut off access to the attic.
This experience has taught me a few things on to help your cats adjust to big changes when their world turns upside down. I wanted to share what I have learned over the past few months.
I was able to sleep in my bed but had to dodge equipment to get to it. My entire bathroom and some of my furniture was moved into the livingroom. Let me tell you it was a big pain in the ass not to have access to your everyday things. I decided it was better to keep the cats away from the mess and to move them to the attic during the months of construction.
Moving them was a traumatic experience for them. They were not allowed upstairs in the past so the room was a strange new place. Luckily there are two large finished rooms with an adjoining bathroom. The room they stayed in was a room we use for storage. There was not a lot up there so they had plenty of room to running around and a couple of windows to let in a lot of natural light. The first couple of days they panicked and wanted out. It was hard to walk away from their crying. I tried to make them as comfortable as possible. Here are the things I did:
Keep a regular schedule. Every morning I would go up at 8 AM to feed them. I spent 15 minutes playing with them before I took my shower. At lunchtime, I would take my lunch upstairs and spend the hour with them. I would make other trips during the day and one final visit at night and gave them their treats. They picked up the routine right away.
Give them a safe place to hide from the noise. The room didn’t have a bed or closet to hide in. My brother was able to build them a “tunnel” where they could hide. This came in handy when the contractors had to go up to the attic.
Bring in their familiar things. Simon was happy to see his favorite scratching post and Penelope loved being able to scratch on some cat furniture. I had some of their toys up there for them.
Give them special treats. Both of them hardly ate for weeks so I had to supplement their diet with treats and feeding them can food more often.
Make sure they some kind of exercise. I picked up a laser pointer and give them ten minutes exercise.
Find an herbal remedy to calm their nerves. These herbal collars have worked wonders for their stress levels.
Slowly let them return to their old life at their pace. Penelope was more than ready to come back downstairs but Simon had to do it on his terms. It took him a day before he was brave enough to come back downstairs and it took a couple of days for him to make his way back to the basement. He is back to normal now and hopefully there will no more upheavals in his future.