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We recently moved into a new house with our 2 cats. On the day of the move, as we know it was traumatic for them, we lock them in a room for the day. Once it all had settled down we locked all the windows and doors on the house and allowed them to explore their new environment. For the next month we had our 2 cats locked in the house so that they could get used to all the new smells (and as I was scared they would run away).

My 1 cat however never became accustomed to her new surroundings at all. She was always hiding under the bed or in the cupboard, until we eventually took the risk and decided to open the windows and doors.

She now runs and hides in the stormwater drain across the street from the house, and refuses to come out during the day. She will only come out at night (6pm to 6am).

I really want to correct her behavior as she never was like this at the previous house, always loving and always around, be it inside or outside. But When we do lock her in the house she cries non stop wanting to go out.

Is there anything I can do to keep her from running and hiding across the street all day?

  • Not the same situation, but a related question. The answers there might be useful. pets.stackexchange.com/q/2899/481 – Spidercat Aug 5 '14 at 13:57
  • Are her hiding places in the house (under the bed, in the cupboard) "safe" places for her, or does someone (the other cat, humans, etc) try to chase her out or harass her in those places? – Zaralynda Aug 8 '14 at 20:32
  • Presumably if they had their choice, the behavior to correct would be locking them up all day. But that cat's out of the bag and now in their vocabulary house means jail. Generally cats don't run away but they can get lost. I'd have zero concern for that though because she has a spot to rest while she's off the clock which still presents opportunities to make some extra cash if anything is unlucky enough to stroll past the sewer grate. - You're owned by two murder floofs; don't complain they don't act like dogs. – Mazura May 26 at 4:18
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Moving to a new home may re-start any territorial / dominance 'turf wars' between your two cats. Does your new home have spaces this scaredy cat can feel safe? That she can go all on her own?

Think of what you'd need if you moved to a new home. Having a bed is as important as having a toothbrush, or electricity, etc.

There are a lot of things we need that we don't consider when we move. Think of all the amenities a hotel offers. It's not just clean sheets, but comfortable air, cleanliness, electricity, soap, etc...

Now think if your cat has had certain things that are now absent. Are there two litter boxes at minimum? Are there elevated areas with escape paths? When your home was empty did stray cats enter and spray the walls? Is your cat fighting with your other cat often?

The only way to prevent a cat from running is to provide a reason for staying. Cats are tricky as hell but if you can have insight into where his / her needs aren't being met, you can progress towards an environment where she / he feels safer.

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  • "stray cats enter and spray the walls"... or residual from previous residents : get some feliway. It didn't seem to help mine, but the company is still in business.... – Mazura May 26 at 4:02
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Since I don't think your cat is afraid of your other cat, the issue would appear to be that she lacks any places of her own that she deems safe. Cats need places to hide to feel safe enough to not hide. Try putting out a couple of cardboard boxes, set up a window perch, perhaps get a scratching post tower with at least one cave-like area. Don't put your cat's personal places in corners (there must be multiple routes of escape). Does your new house have any cat smells in it? If so, give it a clean and deodorize it. Did your old house have darker rooms with natural lighting than your new one? Try dark curtains.

I also recommend screens for your windows, and not leaving open doors into your house. The screens would allow you to keep open windows without the cat running away (and keep bugs out of your house).

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  • Once she has hiding places, play with her. And now I realize this is a really old question. – user25296 May 19 '15 at 16:23
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    Don't worry about it being an old question. The goal of StackExchange is to be a useful Q&A resource, not just a forum to solve people's problems right now. Even if the original poster no longer has this problem, your answer may help future readers. And welcome to the site! – starsplusplus May 20 '15 at 0:15

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