How To Set Up A Safe Room For Your Cat

How To Set Up A Safe Room for Your Cat

Whether you’re moving to a new house or bringing a new cat home, your cat will benefit from being in a safe room for the first few days.

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  • The safe room could be any room of your house, as long as it is not in constant use, and it can be set up for your cat’s comfort.
  • Be aware of household noises that may scare an already stressed cat. If the safe room is the laundry, please don’t use the washing machine or dryer while your cat is sheltering there.

What you’ll need

  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl
  • Litterbox - for a kitten, select a litterbox with low sides
  • Mats or newspaper to place under the bowls and the litterbox
  • Toys
  • Bed
  • Scratching post

Place the litterbox in one corner, and the bed in the other corner. The food and water bowls need to be well away from the litterbox.

Ways to help your cat relax

  • A synthetic hormone, such as Feliway, will help your cat to relax.  You can use the diffuser or the spray.  The spray can be used on the bedding and at cat height on the door frames.
  • Give your kitty somewhere to hide. Leave their carrier in the room in case they would like to retreat there. A cardboard box on its side facing the wall will also do the job.
  • One of your unwashed t-shirts or other piece of clothing will comfort your cat, or will assist kitty to get to know you if they are a new addition to the household.

Cat-proof the safe room

Have a look at the safe room from a cat’s perspective, especially on the floor. Is it really safe? Your safe room needs to be cat-proofed to avoid accidents.

  • Remove houseplants. Most houseplants are poisonous to animals. Apart from that, the plant and soil may end up on the floor.
  • Remove any items containing chemicals, such as medications, cleaning supplies or makeup.
  • Hide any fragile ornaments just in case.
  • If the room has blinds or anything with strings, remove the hazard or tie it up as high as you can reach.
  • Unplug, or preferably remove electrical cords.
  • Keep unscreened windows closed. If your window has a screen, ensure it is in good condition and can’t be pried open by claws or a nose.

A safe room when moving house

  • The safe room does not need to be a separate room if your cat is your only pet. It could be a screened-off portion of your living room.
  • Preparing the safe room should be your number one priority when you arrive at the new house.

A safe room for a rescue cat or kitten

  • Prepare the safe room before you bring your new kitty home. The quicker your new cat can settle into the safe room, the less stress they will feel.
  • Let your new friend get to know you. It’s a good idea to put a comfortable chair in the safe room so that you have somewhere relaxing to sit when you visit. You can sit and read, or chat to your cat, or play with them. When you come back after a visit, you might find your new friend curled up in that chair!
  • Have two types of toys for your kitty: the type they can play with by themselves, and the interactive type that involves both of you.

When you’re moving house with the cat that you know, through experience you are already familiar with what to do for that particular cat. If your cat is a chewer, you know you need to remove electrical cords from the safe room. If they are a Houdini cat, you know to keep the windows closed and the air-con on.

On the other hand, when you bring a new cat or kitten into your home, you need to consider ALL possibilities regarding safety.

If you have brought home a kitten, think of them like a three-year-old child. They are mobile, curious, energetic, and have no idea of how to keep themselves safe.

In addition to the general cat-proofing tips above, consider these tips for making the safe room safe:

  • Remove any clutter from the room that could cause harm. For a kitten, that’s just about everything.
  • Any cloths on tables, especially low tables, need to be removed or folded up onto the table. A kitten or a cat who thinks they are a kitten would consider it a mission to get up to that dangling fabric.
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor to ensure that there are no small objects that your cat might choke on or swallow.
  • Secure any cupboard or closet doors, unless you feel it is safe for your cat to explore inside.
  • If the safe room is a bathroom, keep the toilet lid down.

Into the safe room

When you take your cat to the safe room, close the safe room door and leave him or her in the carrier. Open the carrier door and let them come out when they are ready. Don’t force them out. Your cat is being bombarded with a thousand new scents that we don’t notice and needs to time to adapt.

Check on your cat at intervals and let them hear your voice.

The safe room is the least stressful way to introduce a cat to a new house. Don't forget to enjoy your time with your cat!

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