Skip to main content

BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

How to keep your cat safe and calm during home remodels

May 29, 2024 02:19PM ● By Sara Ferguson

Home remodeling projects can often be stressful for cats, who find the disruption to their territory unsettling. The introduction of unfamiliar workers and the noise can be particularly disturbing, causing them to hide or even escape if they find an opportunity. 

Reduce both your stress and your cats' by taking their needs into account when planning your remodel. For minor renovations, these tips can help you navigate the changes smoothly. For larger-scale projects, it may be wise to temporarily relocate your cats to a trusted friend's or relative's home, or to a professional boarding facility.


The first step is to make sure your cats feel safe. 

If they already have a safe room where they retreat when scared, start there. If they don’t, consider creating one as far away from the construction as possible.

The safe room needs to be comfortable and secure and should include everything your cats need to spend the day there. Include at least one litter box per cat, establish designated food and water areas and provide bedding that they’re familiar with. Create extra hiding places by draping a chair, placing beds behind furniture or introduce boxes for them to explore—you know how cats love boxes!

To make the space more appealing, include toys, a bit of catnip and food puzzles to keep them entertained.

Before construction begins, acclimate your cats to their safe room by spending time with them there daily. Work on your laptop, stream your shows and schedule regular playtime. Establish a routine by feeding them there at the same time every day. A white noise device can be useful to drown out the sounds of power tools and other construction noises.

During the construction phase, make sure the safe room is clearly marked with a large sign on the door stating, “DO NOT ENTER.” For extra security, seal the door with barricade tape when you leave.

If it's safe to let your cats out at night, conduct a thorough check of the construction area first. Block any openings in walls or floors, cover any sharp materials and ensure that all paint and stain containers are securely sealed and dry. This will help keep your cats safe from any construction-related hazards.


The second step is to ease their fear of unfamiliar humans. 

To some cats, introducing strangers who make loud noises and alter their familiar spaces can feel like a home invasion. 

Social cats who like hanging out with strangers present a different set of problems. You’ll still need to confine them to ensure they stay clear of construction dangers. 

For shy kitties, try familiarizing them with the construction crew. Organize planning sessions at your home, where you can introduce your cats to the workers beforehand. Encourage the crew to interact with your cats by playing with them and offering treats.

If the remodeling project is relatively minor, allowing your cats to explore and reclaim their territory on weekends when workers aren’t there may help them adjust. They’ll be able to mark appropriately by rubbing on new surfaces rather than spraying them. 

However, if your cats remain hidden and show signs of fear, it’s best to wait until the construction is fully completed before allowing them to roam freely again.  

Once the remodeling is complete, both you and your cats will be eager to reclaim the newly updated space. Reintroduce familiar items such as cat trees and favorite nesting spots into the renovated areas to help your cats feel at home. Allow them to explore these spaces at their own pace. Continue to feed them and engage in playtime within the new settings to help them adjust.