Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Cats and Chaos

Do your cats object to having strangers in and around your house? Do they react when someone is coming up your walkway? Some cats, when visitors arrive, rush to the door to greet them, while others head under the bed.

Cats can be relied upon as an alert system. Almost any cat will react in some way to a prowler, for example. They might not do anything to protect you when the masher breaks in. But they’ll let you know he’s coming. How? By tensing up and either quickly finding a hiding place or peering out the window with a worried expression or simple curiosity. But a cat will do this whether it is a malicious human lurking with ill intentions or a raccoon or neighborhood cat wandering through your yard.

What about when you’re having work done at your house? How do your cats handle the intrusion of people with noisy vacuum cleaners, drills, hammers and so forth? This activity freaks out our cats. When we’re going to have work done, we always devise a plan ahead of time hoping to make it as stress-free as possible for our kitties.

How do you help your cat through frightening experiences? If you’ve had the cat for a while you know how she’ll react to something like this—something that interrupts her routine and her peace. Some cats would do better when you’re entertaining, or having major work done around the home if you were to board them. This could be especially successful for the cat who is accustomed to the boarding facility. Some people use pheromone spray to help calm their cat in stressful situations. When we expect an invasion of guests or workers, we help our kitties to find their areas of comfort and make them as comfortable as possible.

We just had a restoration company come in and clean our home from top to bottom after the horrendous wildfire we had here in Ojai in December. They cleaned every inch of the house inside and out—even replaced the insulation in the attic and spent a full week doing it. In anticipation of this, we knew it meant it could be a stressful week for Lily and Sophie.

We weighed our options. We were pretty sure, after Sophie’s experience with the evacuation, that boarding her would be too hard on her. So we decided to keep both cats at home. First, we communicated with the crew leader to make sure he knew we had scaredy cats that are not allowed outside to manage throughout the cleaning ordeal. We needed the crew to work with us by letting us know where they’d be working each day. They knew we needed one of the three rooms with doors each day where Lily could hide out. Sophie doesn’t do well behind a closed door unless we’re inside with her. She needs to be free to find her safe place and she did so that week under our watchful eye.

Each day we’d put food water and litter box in one of the bedrooms with Lily and I’d visit her often throughout the day. Each day, Sophie would find a corner, usually close to where we were hanging out. One day, we all stayed in a room at the back of the house together.

Each evening, once it was quiet, the cats would creep out and spend several minutes sniffing and checking out what had been changed, who had been in the house, etc. It’s over now and both cats are back to their normal. Lily is in my lap as I type this. We all made it through the ordeal unscathed.

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