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How to handle the cat during home renovations?

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  • How to handle the cat during home renovations?

    I'm trying to figure out the best thing to do with our one year old indoor kitty when we have to have some renovations done to the mudroom this summer. The mudroom is off the kitchen, and originally we were thinking we could put up a door to the kitchen and then close off the upstairs bathroom which leads to the stairs into the kitchen so she couldn't get to the kitchen/mudroom but would still have free reign over most of the house. But I've become terrified - to the point of waking up in the middle of the night from nightmares about it - that she'll somehow get through, or the workers will open a door, and she'll escape. She won't keep a collar on for more than a few hours, and is microchipped...but our street is so busy I fear she wouldn't make it long enough to get lost.

    The other option is to lock her in the guest bedroom all day, with food.water/litterbox/toys/etc., but, me being me, I'm worried that that's just cruel - 9 hours in one room, for probably a few weeks? Would she be able to mentally handle that? It seems she's less likely to get out that way, so even if it seems mean, it's probably better in the long run?

    Any thoughts? Anyone have stories about their cats and renovations?

    Part of me wants to just put it off for 10 years, so that she's older and slower and less likely to try anything, but my husband isn't going for that!


  • #2
    When I did hardwood throughout, the cats were crated in the basement. There was no area of the house that I could lock them in, and frankly...I would not have trusted workers to not open the door. The cats did just fine crated for the several days it took to install the floor. I did not let them out at all, because the house was a MESS.

    Being locked in one room for a day is far from cruel and she will be just fine. If you're worried at all, put her in a crate in that room. If you're STILL worried, put a lock on the crate


    • #3
      Been there, done that.

      Definitely lock her in the guest bedroom with all her "gear". It's not going to be forever, she'll be safe, & she'll definitely be able to "mentally handle" the confinement. Cat's are VERY adaptable about such things - much moreso than dogs.

      Think for a moment about shelter cats. Some of them live in small cages for months & months & months & months, yet you wouldn't know it once they finally get adopted.

      Honestly, lock her in the guest bedroom. You may have to listen to crying for awhile, but the general peace of mind knowing she's safe is worth it. Again - been there, done that; & if I hadn't locked my (multiple) cats up in the spare room while work was being done, one or more of them definitely would have gotten out.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks, guys - I've been thinking that the bedroom is the safest bet, but that little niggle of "but she'll be so sad!" guilt was getting to me!


        • #5
          they will likely sleep anyhow most of the day, so how much room does a sleeping cat need?

          No, don't answer that!


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
            they will likely sleep anyhow most of the day, so how much room does a sleeping cat need?

            No, don't answer that!


            • #7
              "Safe" is MUCH more important than temporarily "sad".


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Bacardi1 View Post
                "Safe" is MUCH more important than temporarily "sad".
                VERY, very true.


                • #9
                  She will be fine in a room for the day, no worries. My young cat spends her nights in a spare room with cat tree, toys and several beds, mainly because she likes to chew on things that are not edible, including power cords. She also stays in that room if we're not home, which isn't terribly often because DH works from home.

                  The one time I left her out alone, with the dogs crated, I came home to a lamp knocked off a table (bulb shattered), cushions all over the floor and a 2-foot by 3-foot painting knocked off the wall. It was hung a good 4 feet up, so I'm sure the acrobatics required to achieve that were impressive.

                  When she's outgrown her hellion years, we'll re-evaluate, but for now, it is better for her to tear around in her room where she can't really hurt herself while we're not home.

                  Plus I don't want her and the dogs out together alone for long periods of time. I doubt anything would happen, as everyone's gotten along well for years now, sharing water bowls and beds, sleeping together, etc., but I don't want to risk that changing one day while I'm not home.
                  Full-time bargain hunter.


                  • #10
                    We went through a major kitchen renovation last year, and trust me, locking your cat in the bedroom is for the best. In addition to the worries of your cat getting out, cats hate having their environment turned upside down, and we have a male who expressed his concern about this upheaval by taking up marking. I couldn't really blame him, but if I had it to do over, I would have kept him away from the scene of destruction if at all possible.
                    Mystic Owl Sporthorses


                    • #11
                      I agree on locking the cat up if possible.

                      Cute story, though. I am NOT recommending this as an example for all feline management with remodeling. This cat was one of a kind. I had storm repairs done about 10 years ago, the big room on the back half of the house redone completely from carpet to ceiling, and at that time, I had my first Siamese, Sabra, the Ultimate Cat. Hands down the most intelligent critter of any species I have known. I also, in this house, did not have working interior doors. Short of crating her all day, there was no way to keep her out of that room. It worried me, though most of their work would be interior, not constant in and out. But I also knew that with that specific cat, I couldn't imagine her bolting out or running away. She knew where she belonged and wasn't in the least impulsive or scatterbrained. I did take the precaution of pointing out the cat to all workmen and making them all sign a statement that they would pay me $100 if they let the cat out. Big money to a day laborer.

                      Sabra never tried to get out, but what she did was SUPERVISE. She always was a perfectionist (like me). Drove my Mom nuts when we lived with her because the cat would comment most eloquently on any dishes that were undone, clothes not put away, etc. She hated disorganization. Of course, she was horrified at the storm damage itself, stayed up with me the night of the waterfall rain indoors in that section of the house. But when the construction crew arrived, she was shocked that they tore it up more. They also made loud power-tool noises and used hammers, and she couldn't understand why the work had to be so noisy. She watched them from the doorway of the room. Any tool laid aside unused for a moment, she would give a disparaging sniff (she was great at those) and lash her tail and GLARE at it until it was put back in its proper toolbox. When they took breaks, she would march around inspecting what they had done most recently and commenting on it with ear angle. She wouldn't let them leave things other than nicely organized at the end of each day on this multi-day job. She amused them to no end, and they never could have forgotten she was around and failed to watch they did go outside. To quote one of them, "This is like doing my job in front of my mother."


                      • #12
                        My cats were fine with two months of re-roofing. They were kept in during the day, and allowed out at night. They got over the pounding, people at the windows, roof. They slept all day, inside. Normally they are in and out through their cat door all day and night.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for the replies!

                          dressagetraks - that is HILARIOUS! What a character!


                          • #14
                            GUEST ROOM AL DAY WITH FOOD AND WATER = SAFE !~!

                            GUEST ROOM ALL DAY WITH FOOD AND WATER = SAFE !~!

                            NOT CRUEL AT ALL ``` THE KINDEST PLAN AND SAFE ~ SAFE ~ SAFE !~!
                            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                            • #15
                              Add me to the list of guest room with food, water and some clothing with your sense on it.

                              I did a totally rehab and trust the workers will not be concerned about the cat. To be on the safe side contain her to a room. Put a huge sign on the door Do Not Open even if they aren't to go upstairs. You never know.


                              • #16
                                2 cats & I shared a bedroom for 5 weeks while house was rehabbed.
                                That BR (guestroom) was the only place not having some sort of renovation done.

                                BR was closed off with litterbox, food & water while I was at work.
                                I put a sign on the BR door "CATS INSIDE DO NOT OPEN!"
                                When I got home I let them out into the house, but had to keep watch as rooms being worked on were closed off with plastic sheeting, but inside torn down to framing. We pretty much lived in that room.
                                The last thing I wanted was a cat lost in the ductwork or behind sheetrock.

                                Your cat may not be pleased with the House Arrest, but everyone will be happier & safer if he is contained.
                                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post

                                  Your cat may not be pleased with the House Arrest, but everyone will be happier & safer if he is contained.
                                  Yes! Thank you all for curing me of my doubts


                                  • #18
                                    We redid our kitchen a year plus ago. I have 5 cats but they come and go from the house. My biggest concern was having one of them climb in a crew truck and not be noticed.

                                    On one of the final days of work a crew member was putting in the new plumbing under the sink which means he was on his back, his torso under the sink inside the base counter, his legs stretched out in front of him.....and there, plunked right on his belly was my veeeery hefty cat, cleaning her paws. I was so embarrassed and went to remove her and he laughed and said that happened more often than not.

                                    Good luck with your kitty! I would lock her up during the redo.


                                    • #19
                                      Just remembered this story:

                                      DH was a locksmith.
                                      On one job owner had 3 cats, told him to make sure they did not get out and then left to run an errand.

                                      This was in an apartment building so the cats made every effort to escape to the hallway while he worked on the open door.
                                      When he left he noticed a cat in the hallway. Thinking one had got past him, he scooped up this cat and tossed it inside the apartment.

                                      Where he immediately heard Kitty Opera - that caterwauling that precedes a fight.

                                      We had cats, so he recognized the sound and opened the door to peep in.
                                      Only to see owner's 3 cats cornering the one he'd tossed in who was obviously NOT a resident.
                                      He extracted guestkitty who gratefully fled back down the hallway.
                                      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                                      • #20
                                        Reminds me of a story I read once. Folks were trying to sell their house, and real estate agents sometimes came for showings while they were at work. House was listed with a couple of different real estate agencies. The folks' cat came into heat. They wanted her for breeding but wanted to let her grow a few more months and didn't want to send to the stud that time. So they put a sign on the door in case the house was shown while they were away. Sign said, "Please be very careful not to let out our cat."

                                        Folks returned home from work to find a note added below theirs on their door sign. "Your cat was on the porch trying to get in when I got here to show the house. Another real estate agent must have let cat out. I let him safely back in."