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Safe Sanctuary

Many families look forward to summer time. It is often a change of pace with vacation, company, and entertainment. Schedules are more relaxed, children are out of school, and the college kids have returned home. House projects, including remodeling and redecorating, may even be in the works. When the household's routine changes, the cat's routine changes as well. Cats are creatures of habit and do best in stable and consistent surroundings. Suddenly a cat who has been accustomed to sleeping the day away while everyone is at work or school is facing frenzied activity and unsettling disruptions. If this sounds like your household, read on for how I am making life easier for my cat's changing environment by creating a "safe sanctuary".

My household is going to be turned topsy-turvy with a third story renovation. I am tasked with completely clearing out the upstairs. Lexie Lee and I will live in the middle and lower levels, but it is a major fruit basket upset for her. Lexie Lee spends hours in this part of the house-stationed in the window sill in my home office where she can keep one eye on me and one on the street happenings. The master suite on this level has two window sills that she especially likes. One window gives her a backyard view that often includes birds and squirrels and the other window opens to a side yard view of the neighbor's two dogs. Lexie Lee runs to this part of the house when she plays games with me or is scared by a loud noise. She also sleeps with me here.

So to help Lexie Lee cope with the summer upheaval, I am creating a "safe sanctuary" for her. The "safe sanctuary" is her area of familiar and necessary things transposed to the lower level guest room. For example, she likes to lounge on one of my knit sweaters, and it will be placed at the foot of the bed-just like it used to be in the master suite. She is accustomed to hiding or sleeping between boxes under the master bed. So I will rearrange some of the boxes and create some neat little hideaways and cubby holes for her under the guest bed. The guest room has a desk in front of a window, and after the top is cleared, she will have lots of space to be on the desk and gaze out to the road and sidewalk. Her favorite toys, scratching toy, catnip, water and food bowls, and litter pan will also be relocated to this room. In anticipation of the construction noises like a plaster wall being knocked down and power tools installing windows, I will add a radio to the guest room. Later this radio will play to provide white noise to help muffle the frightening, unfamiliar sounds.

Household changes can be stressful for your feline friend, but with a little planning you can replicate a safe and comfortable hideaway.

Where does your cat hide?

Linda A. Mohr is the award-winning author of Tatianna-Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend and Catnip Connection blog for Seattle Press-Intelligencer, a professor at Northwood University, and the co-founder of Pet Apothecary. She is a member of Cat Writers' Association with human-animal bond expertise. Visit or

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