Two words....Scent Soaker!!
This is a term that I learned from Jackson Galaxy and is very important for all cat owners out there!!
What is a scent soaker you ask??
Well it is basically any item that absorbs a cat's scent when they rub up against it. Such as a blanket, plush toy, carpets, cardboard scratchers and scratching posts.
The above picture of Ziggy shows all of her scent soakers....the purple blanket, her bed buddies and the bed itself is now a scent soaker.
Their kitty litter tray is the ultimate scent soaker!
We as cat guardians are also a scent soaker as our kitty often head bump up against our legs but as we shower and wash our clothes that scent very soon disappears.
Why are scent soakers so important?
Scent soakers are objects that signify territorial ownership for your cat. It is a sign to say "I Live Here!" and it is a way for a cat to feel comfortable in their surroundings.
How do cats leave their scent on things?
Scratching & Kneading - Cats have scent glands in their paws so anything they can scratch such as scratching posts, cardboard scratchers, the couch, the carpet will have their scent on it. When a cat kneads on their bed or blanket, it's not just to get comfy they are doing it to leave their scent absorbed into the fabric. Items such as plush toys, cushions, the sofa and even your lap are places that cats like to knead.
Rubbing - cats have scent glands all over their body so by rubbing their head and body up against things they are leaving their scent just about everywhere in your house!
Weeing - the litterbox is the ultimate scent soaker!
When should you use a scent soaker?
- When you wish to introduce something new to your kitty cat like a new bed or blanket
- When you are moving house or renovating
- When you take your kitty cat to the vet
These are the most likely times that your cat might be stressed, nervous or anxious. Cats are very wary about new things and new places so it is important to help a cat to adjust to new things, situations or places slowly.
Moving house is one of the most stressful events for a cat as a new house will smell completely different. You need to give your cat time to adjust and let them leave their scent on things to help them to settle and feel comfortable in their new surroundings.
The best thing to help keep them calm is to give them something that is going to be comforting to them. A scent soaker has their own personal scent attached to it and can help give a kitty cat a sense of their territory.
When moving house I suggest to bring everything they liked to sit on, sleep on, scratch on. Even if these things are old and daggy and may not suit your new décor it is going to really help your cat to settle in easier.
When we moved 3 years ago we brought along 2 chairs and an ottoman that we would rather have thrown away but brought them because Ziggy loved sleeping in these places in the old house. We still have those items now! Ziggy will scratch the ottoman rather than our brand new couch so it was worth it!
I also recommend bringing along all the old cardboard scratchers and scratching posts and placing them throughout the house as the familiar smells will help your kitty to feel more comfortable about exploring the new house. Again even if these items are old and have seen better days, keep them until your kitty is comfortable in your new house before you get new ones.
When introducing a new bed to your kitty cat don't be disappointed if they look at it sniff it and walk away.
When buying a new bed for your kitty cat don't throw away their old one...yet! If there is a detachable cushion or blanket in the old bed use that to put in the new bed so that some of the scent can transfer across. This will help to get your kitty comfortable with their new bed.
Give it a good few weeks or even up to a month before the smell and scent has really absorbed into the new bed before taking the cushion or blanket away. Don't throw it out until you know that your cat will use the bed without it.
If your cat refuses to use the bed without the cushion or blanket put it back and try again.
Refer to the above picture of how I have scrunched the blanket up in the bottom of the bed. Ziggy used to knead the side of the bed when she got in there so eventually I was able to take the blanket away because her scent was fully absorbed by both the blanket and her paws.
This is a process of trial and error and patience is required!! Give your kitty cat the time and patience and they will give you back love and affection in meows & purrs!!