Cat Behavior after Moving

by Tiffany
(Beacon, NY, USA)

I just moved about 4 months ago. I have 2 cats, one Bombay and one Tabby. It is as if they have switched personalities. Where we used to live and they were raised, my Bombay would not show any affection toward us. My tabby was such a lover and slept with us every night.

After we moved my tabby started out being loving and now all she does is stay in one room, sleeps all the time and hides. My Bombay has become very loving and vocal.

I don't know what has changed my tabby to be so closed when she was the most loving and affectionate feline.

Dear Tiffany,

Thank you for writing in with concern for your cats. A move can be quite stressful on us humans, but is especially hard on our felines!

First, we should not assume that your cat's personality change is behavioral. Among other things, the stress of moving to a new home can cause cat illnesses and/or your cat may have become ill just before the move. Because it is wise to recognize that it may not be a coincidence, first and foremost, I would suggest you bring your cat to a vet for a check-up. Cat illness symptoms can manifest in a number of ways, and drastic changes in personality is one of them!

If your vet feels your cat is healthy, the changes you have seen in personalities is likely due to the new environment. Cats are incredibly sensitive to stress and changes in their environment, and some take much longer than others to adjust to new surroundings.

Also, the dynamics between cats can change at any given moment, but are especially likely to occur after a move. If your Bombay cat had adjusted more quickly and easily to your new home, a hierarchy shift may have occurred between the two cats. Dominance can play a huge factor in the amount of affection a cat may show to his or her owners.

There are many ways you can help create a safer, less stressful environment for your cat, including using pheromone products like Feliway, having scheduled play times and meal times, giving her safe places to hide, and rewarding "positive" behaviors with treats and toys.

Providing reassuring, one-on-one time with your stressed kitty can help tremendously. Ultimately, time and patience is what brings a scared cat in a new environment back out of their shell.

All the best,
Dr. Neely

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