Juno Is Getting Worse, Not Better, at Travel?

Juniper_Junebug

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I adopted Juno as a kitten during the first year of Covid, so it was just she and I for more than a year. Since then, I've taken her to my mother's house about 9 times in the last year, including various holidays when I'm there with her. She seems mostly comfortable there now and she likes my mom. She'll rub up against my mom as soon she gets out of her carrier; once I leave, she hisses at her on occasion but also cuddles and sleeps with her. She hates the transit, though-- whether to or from my mom's house.

I've had a lot of work travel recently: five trips of 4-5 nights since March. Up until the last two trips, Juno would be so excited to see me when I came to pick her up; she would purr nonstop and rub against me for a long time. The second-to-last trip, she hid under the bed at first, which was new. But after a few minutes, she seemed to realize who I was and came out to greet me with her usual enthusiasm.

This time, she wouldn't come out from under the bed for a long time and even when she did, she was observably afraid or distrustful of me. She even hissed at me, which she has never done before. It took me 1.5 hours to be able to get her in her carrier so we could go home.

I know that kind of reaction may be within the norm for cats in general, but I'm trying to figure out why it's gotten worse over time (or so it seems). She appeared to be getting more and more comfortable each time, until this month. The last two trips were overseas; is it possible that caused different scents? This time, I also made the mistake of putting on a random perfume in the airplane, which I won't do again.

I should add that on the ride home, she panted the whole way (it was hot in the car at first but not the whole way, so it must have been stress). She's never liked the car but I've never seen her like that, ever. It broke me heart.

Any thoughts on her changed reaction would be appreciated. It was so sad to see her so distressed and scared of me, when she normally is so excited to see me. And I really want to make this work with my mom's house, because it gives me peace of mind and makes my mom super happy to have such a lovely visitor.
 
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FeebysOwner

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Hi. Is she acting the same while at your mom's house? If so, it could very well be strange scents that you bring home with you. It could also be the number of trips more recently.

First, I would make sure your mom is telling you if anything else is going on there while you are gone. Secondly, I would have a change of clothing at your mom's (worn and unwashed from your home would probably be best) and change into those before approaching her. Hand washing too - change shoes as well. And place all of your 'bring home stuff' in the trunk, just for good measure! You can also place a piece of your worn, unwashed clothing in her carrier as well.

I am sure other members will come along soon with other ideas!
 

Furballsmom

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The last two trips were overseas; is it possible that caused different scents? This time, I also made the mistake of putting on a random perfume in the airplane, which I won't do again.
hi -- oh, FeebysOwner FeebysOwner and I were typing at the same time lol
Anyway, yes, I agree, in my opinion the way you smelled was unlike yourself, in other words you smelled like a stranger to her. And, her panting makes me think of a person being in an elevator with someone who has a perfume on that s/he is allergic to.

If there's a way for future overseas trips that you can have a change of clothes with you that won't be exposed (scentwise) to everything. Try that, and if necessary you might even have to take a shower at your mom's (with products you typically use at your own home).
 

Mamanyt1953

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If nothing else, pack a worn t-shirt, securely closed up in a ziplock bag, that you can put on just before you go inside. That will smell like the "you" she is accustomed to.
 
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Juniper_Junebug

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First, I would make sure your mom is telling you if anything else is going on there while you are gone.
She's been making progress at my mom's house each time she visits; she still hisses occasionally, but I think she's more comfortable every time.

While I was away, my mom did report that one night, she had a hard time corralling Juno into her bedroom at night, and Juno got mad. (After hearing that, I told her to just leave her bedroom door open all night, since Juno is now acclimated to the full house). But I don't think that was a deal breaker, bc after that happened, this happened:

IMG_0943.jpg

My mom also said that a neighborhood cat came to the window one afternoon, causing Juno to flee under the bed, but that was several days ago and she seemed to recover from that too.
 
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Juniper_Junebug

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Hi. Is she acting the same while at your mom's house? If so, it could very well be strange scents that you bring home with you. It could also be the number of trips more recently.

First, I would make sure your mom is telling you if anything else is going on there while you are gone. Secondly, I would have a change of clothing at your mom's (worn and unwashed from your home would probably be best) and change into those before approaching her. Hand washing too - change shoes as well. And place all of your 'bring home stuff' in the trunk, just for good measure! You can also place a piece of your worn, unwashed clothing in her carrier as well.

I am sure other members will come along soon with other ideas!
hi -- oh, FeebysOwner FeebysOwner and I were typing at the same time lol
Anyway, yes, I agree, in my opinion the way you smelled was unlike yourself, in other words you smelled like a stranger to her. And, her panting makes me think of a person being in an elevator with someone who has a perfume on that s/he is allergic to.

If there's a way for future overseas trips that you can have a change of clothes with you that won't be exposed (scentwise) to everything. Try that, and if necessary you might even have to take a shower at your mom's (with products you typically use at your own home).
If nothing else, pack a worn t-shirt, securely closed up in a ziplock bag, that you can put on just before you go inside. That will smell like the "you" she is accustomed to.
Having a change of clothes seems to be the consensus. That's such a great idea and one I hadn't even considered. Thanks, all!
 
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