Dear Critter Corner: I just moved to a new apartment and my cat is bouncing off the walls. She’s been trying to climb up the closet, get into cabinets, and races around the room. How do I calm her down?
A new move can be a big change for many cats, especially when they may have been used to and comfortable living in their previous home. Aside from some cats being territorial, the previous home may have provided them with safety and security, familiar sights and smells, as well as, knowing what to expect on a daily basis. The new apartment, though exciting, has changed this and your kitty just needs a little time to get used to her surroundings in a slow steady manner.
Initially it may be helpful to seclude your cat in a bathroom or small room for the first few days or week. This will help her adjust to the new sights and sounds in a small space instead of a larger space that may overwhelm her. Try to keep her food, water, litterbox, bed, toys etc all in this one small area so that she knows where to find the items that she needs the most. This will also help prevent her from having any issues or accidents with using her litterbox.
The behaviors you’re noticing of her climbing or getting into part of the home and racing around the room, may be signs of stress as she explores and also becomes overwhelmed with all of the new sensations. Cats have many ways of sensing their environment, through the general sight, sound, and taste forms that we humans also experience, but also through more subtle changes in temperature, vibrations, material etc. Providing her with a safe, secure, and quiet area will allow her to experience all of these new sensations at a more gradual pace.
Be sure to also keep to your cat’s regular daily schedule of meal times, play time, and rest. This will help provide her with consistency in that she’ll know what to expect on a regular basis, even if her environment has changed.