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.
Preparing the safe room should be your number one priority when you arrive at the new house. And if you’re bringing a new kitty home, their sanctuary needs to be in place before they arrive.
Is It Cruel To Lock A Cat In A Room?
No, it’s not cruel to lock a cat in a room as long as they have food, water, a bed, and a litter box. In fact, it can be very helpful to give your cat a safe place to hide when there’s too much activity in the house or when they’re feeling insecure.
Can A Cat Safe Room Be My Bedroom?
Yes, the cat safe room does not need to be an entire room as long there is enough room for their paraphernalia and it’s a relatively quiet room.
It needs to be a place that can keep your cat contained.
When I had to evacuate during bushfires and I stayed at a friend’s place, I set up my confused cat in a safe area in the room that my friend provided for me, and that worked just fine.
How Do I Build A Safe Room For My Cat?
Step 1: Choose A Location For Your Cat’s Safe Room Setup
First, you’ll need to choose a room that will be dedicated to your cat. The perfect room would be quiet and have few distractions. It should also be large enough for your cat to move around freely.
The safe room could be any room or unused corner of your house; it doesn’t need to be a separate room, it just needs to be a private section. It could be a portion of your living room with tall screens, as long as the area 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 room, please don’t use the washing machine or dryer while your cat is sheltering there.
Step 2: Cat-Proof The Safe Room
Have a look at the safe room from a cat’s perspective. 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.
- Remove any sharp objects.
- 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.
Step 3: Deck Out The Safe Room
All The Necessities
Place a litter box, food and water bowls, and a bed or blanket in the room.
The litterbox needs to be located in the opposite corner of the room to the cat bed, food, and water.
For neatness, you might like to place newspaper or mats under the bowls and the litterbox.
Somewhere To Hide
Give your kitty somewhere to hide. Cats prefer to have a place to hide so they feel safe. It’s important to provide plenty of hiding spots so they have a safe space to go to. Also, cats love a safe place to sleep.
Leave the cat 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.
Put in some play-alone toys, maybe some puzzle toys, and a few toys that you two can play with together.
Also, place your cat’s scratching post and cat tree in the safe room. If it’s familiar to your cat, this will help him or her to feel safe because it will smell like home.
A synthetic cat 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.
An unwashed t-shirt or a piece of fabric will comfort your cat, or if they are a new addition to the household, it will assist your new kitty to get to know you.
Step Three: Introduce Your Cat To 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. Then in about 15 to 20 minutes, 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 he or she needs time to adapt.
Spend some time each day in the safe room with your cat. Take some treats in with you.
Step Four: Invited Visitors Only
If you have other pets in the house, make sure they are not allowed into the safe room unless your cat invites them in. This is important for helping your cat(s) feel safe and secure in their space.
Step Five: Keep The Door Closed
Keep the door to the safe room closed at all times, except when you or your cat(s) are going in or out. This will help prevent any potential accidents or escapes.
Finally, you’ll need to introduce your cat to the new home gradually. Start by letting them explore for a few minutes at a time. Then, gradually increase the amount of time they spend out of the room until they’re comfortable with the rest of the house.
Preparing A Safe Room For Your New Kitty Or For A Baby Kitty
Prepare the safe room before you bring your new kitty or new kitten home. The quicker your new cat can feel comfortable in this new cat’s safe room, the less stress he or she will feel. Make your new cat feel safe.
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, chat with your cat, or play with them as they get used to their new environment.
Have two types of toys for your kitty: the type they can play with by themselves, and the type that involves both of you.
Additional Safety Tips For A New Cat
When you’re moving house with the cat that you know, through past 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 he or she is 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 as you would 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.
Once your cat is settled in, you can start to enjoy your new home safe in the knowledge that your pet is taken care of. Enjoy your time with your furry friend!