fat cat

Moving is Painful & Stressful

Question:
My fiancé and I are having a house built. I have an enormous 20# tabby male cat named Tortellini. Should I kennel him for a couple of days? He hates going into his carrier; I have never kenneled him. Tortellini has peed on me in my bed and on my futon. How do I best help him adjust to the new house and the new furniture without him peeing on it? He rarely plays with toys and hardly ever climbs his cat tree.

Dr. Nichol:
Tortellini, like his namesake pasta, is round and stuffed. It had been believed that excess load caused arthritis but we now know that obesity triggers inflammation that includes the joints. If we are what we eat I suggest changing your kitty’s name to “Lean Meat”.

The stress of moving could certainly cause Tortellini to urine soil. Another factor may be pain as he hauls his corpulence into the litter pan. Cats who associate misery with the loo may eliminate elsewhere.

Avoid kenneling Tortellini; he’s already wiggy watching you pack for the move. Leave out the bottom half of the cat carrier, starting now, enhancing it with tasty treats. Pet Tortellini and groom him there. Good things happen in the carrier.

On the big day you can gently cover the unsuspecting Tortellini with a towel as he snacks in the lower half of his carrier. Then quietly attach the top half. Carry the crate from underneath rather than by its handle to prevent swaying that could cause Tortellini to toss his tortellinis.

The antianxiety supplement Zylkene can be started now and continued until Tortellini has adjusted to his new home. A cat’s travel anxiety can be further reduced by spraying the inside of the carrier with the calming pheromone Feliway.

Tortellini’s long term wellbeing can improve right along with his bathroom etiquette if you add a couple more litter pans, equipped with premium quality clumping litter. Size matters; sweater boxes with a portion of one side cut down with a utility knife will make it easier for your uncomfortable kitty to get in and out. A ramp would improve Tortellini’s life even more.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or podcast to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.