Adjusting to a New Home

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kyleeladyIf you think moving is stressful, imagine what went through our pets’ thoughts when they saw boxes upon boxes being packed, furniture disarranged, and everything in our old home to which they’re accustomed being turned upside down. The family managed to live with the mess for two months. But what about our pets? One of the many considerations of the move was the feelings of our pets. How do we make them feel comfortable towards their new home? Can we teach old cats new tricks? Will they escape and walk back to their old home?

My dear husband refused to bring the pets with him when we drove by convoy to our new home. Humphrey the Boxer pup, Kylee the sassy Siamese Cat, Lady the Royalty Cat, my daughters L and M all rode in my SUV. Humphrey wedged in between the two girls behaved quite well . Kylee and Lady inside one carrier looked like two very pissed tigers. What torture for Lady. She sqwalked all the way from Makati to the other end of Pasig.

“meooooowwwww. meowwwww”

lady the catkylee the siamese catboxer pup

Her wailing meows must have irritated Kylee to his limits that the latter bit Lady’s face. A cat fight ensued. Oh dear. Humphrey ignored the meows as he was being needy. He was still nursing a hurt paw. Despite the pets’ nervous state, my two girls just laughed it off as I continued to drive merrily to our new home.

When we arrived , we immediately placed the cat’ carrier in a spare room so as not to confuse them even more with all the movers running here and there. It was Kylee’s turn to fret.

“meow meow”

Such pitiful cries but I didn’t have time to attend to them so the girls comforted the scaredy cats.

Humphrey , the pup who I thought had a broken paw must have had high levels of adrenalin because he was jumping all over the front yard. Not with excitement but with fright! New sounds, New surroundings. That was the good news. Humphrey adjusted within a day.

The ordeal has not ended for the cats. They are constantly crouching as if waiting for an attacker. Adjusting to our new home seemed like tense and frightening experience for our cats. For days now, they have been hiding under beds, couches , the oven or the bodega (storage room).

Worried, I asked my husband. “Do you think they are depressed?” “Should I bring them to the vet?”

Butch laughed “What will the vet prescribe? Zoloft?”

I had to agree. Maybe all the cats need are lots of cuddling and talk therapy. (The Siamese “talks/meows” back)

Maybe it takes time.

Let’s see them adapt in the next few weeks. Even I have to adjust to my new routine. Butch has to adjust to the long ride to and from work. We are all adjusting.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1386 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • I’m sure they’ll be just fine. The lots of hugs and cuddling is the best prescription. Perhaps they are just stressed to see a new environment. Pls give them my hugs also. 🙂

  • lemon

    Welcome back to Pasig, ms. noemi.Maybe I’ll bump into you in Tiendesitas or SM Hypermart one of these days.

    Poor cats, but I think they’ll be ok.

  • they must be really missing their comfort zones, i mean comfort scents…

  • @abbie- hehe I will hug them for you.

    @lemon- if you see me, let me know . My husband just came from Tiendesitas

    @Dine- our cats are creatures of habit.

  • Cats are really sensitive creatures. For now, they will be jumpy (as a kitty up a tree — lol). It might take time but they’ll settle down. Congrats, you’ve finally moved and as soon as the dust settles — you will really be enjoying your new home. Be happy — all of you, including the pets of course.

  • Noems, I did a search on how older cats can adjust to a new home. Here are some answers:

    Problem Behaviors in Cats: Originally written 1991 & updated through 1997 by Cindy Tittle Moore. Maintained by the Fanciers website as of July 1999.

    This website has an extensive table of contents that might be of interest to you.

    keep as many things familiar as you can… same bed, litter box etc.. I would not confine to one room but be sure to leave some of your clothing out and around and when you go out – tell them don’t worry, you will come back – you might be amazed at how much they understand – – do your best to help the adjustment and better to not let them out, especially at first.. – SPANKY


    Your cat will most problem be a bit stress for a while. This is normal. What I would suggest is to get a plug in diffuser called Feliway. This is a natural pheromone that is released into the cat environment and help to keep the cat calm. It also helps with urine spraying and destruction and soiling. You can use this diffuser any where in the house and does not smell. Only cats can smell it. It also comes in a spray form so your could use this in certain areas where the cat sleeps or causes problems. With regards to letting your cat out, i would recommend that you keep then in for at least 2 weeks. if you want to let them out. If you want to keep then in, which might be a better idea then i would get loads of toys and cat exercise areas. If the cats are not going out you need to keep them happy or they will start to cause problems. Use a mouse on string morning and evening and if you have stairs make then chase you up and down. Another thing if they are not going out is to reduce the amount of food that you give them. If they are not going out and still eating the same they will put on more weight!
    Hope this helps feel free to e-mail me if you want more information, good luck – NATALIE


    Trainee Veterinary Nurse


    Yes..without question they can, and do, accept new surroundings.
    The trick that works is to keep them confined to the new house for at least 2 weeks. Then, slowly move their food towards a door..a little each day…for a few more days. Once you let them out..if you can leave that door open for a few hours..they’ll learn to come to that door for their food.


    Sources..Cat Age Company
    My own very extensive personal experience. I’ve always owned between 5 and 10 house cats at a time and have moved several times over the years with them. – DRISSY 29