Taking the Outdoors Out of the Cat

Moving is stressful, even if we are moving because we got a better job or found our dream house. So imagine how our cats feel when we move. Overnight their lives are suddenly different, and they can't begin to understand the reasons for the change in their lives the way we can. Naturally, they can become confused, upset and even depressed.

The problem is compounded when outdoor cats are moved into new homes where they have to become indoor cats. Not only are their surroundings different, they are no longer able to roam freely. Check out iVillagers' tips on how to make this difficult transition go more smoothly:

"There are a few simple ways to make life indoors more exciting for an ex-outdoor cat. First, you can drape a sheet or blanket over the back of a chair or some inexpensive cardboard boxes to form a kitty campsite. And then you can change the box location and arrangement each day for variety. A small goldfish or two (in a secure tank) can also provide hours of feline entertainment. You can also leave a radio on when you go out -- classical music or even talk radio is okay -- if it's low-key. Of course, a cat who has just moved needs plenty of attention, love and playtime when you are at home together." --Patricia B.

"Take bits of food or treats and hide them under little trays for your cat to find around the house. This will help satisfy your cat's foraging impulse and his "inner hunter." --Kayla30

"You can always take your cat on a walk (with a long leash, of course) in the park. Or build a screened window box for him to crawl into so he can safely experience the sounds, smells and sights he is missing. Catnip and love will also help your cat adjust." --"The D"

"A good way to help a cat adjust to his or her new home is to arrange play dates with any other kitties in the neighborhood. And, of course, cat toys, too." --marta8

"The indoor activity that our reformed outdoor feline enjoys most is bird watching. If you don't already have a bird feeder or two, it may take some time and ingenuity to find one that suits your abode, depending on the size of your apartment. But it's worth the investment.

The crucial thing for the cat seems to be a good view of the feeder at eye level, in a place where he or she can sit comfortably for long periods. Lily sits observing and purring for endless hours, concealing herself beside a bank of vertical blinds or a houseplant. The birds keep on coming, and she "stalks" them, from just inches away -- behind glass. Sometimes she even "pounces," may the birds forgive me." --Diazdp

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