Moving house with your cat

Moving house is stressful—for you and your cat. Planning ahead can help make the transition stress free and safe.

21 Mar 2016 By Kat Pekin Comments

Moving house is a guaranteed stress-maker. The mess, the cleaning, the packing and unpacking, it’ll leave you ten types of exhausted. But as stressful as it is for you, moving house is equally as disruptive to your cat. You know why you’re moving, but your cat doesn’t. All the cat knows is everything is being removed from his or her home and the familiar smells are being eradicated. Cue stress, anxiety and ramped up weird cat behaviour!

How does your cat react to travelling in the car? Is there a lot of meowing and shifting in the cat cage? Do they poop and pee all over the car? Or are they calm? How your cat has travelled in the past will be a good indicator for how your cat will travel to a new house. If car travel is normally an ordeal for your pet, make the ride as smooth and swift as possible. Try to avoid unnecessary stops and get your cat to their new home as quickly as you can.

Prior to moving day you’ll need to determine when is the best time to shift your cat from the old house to the new house. Some owners like to move their cat first, before all the heavy lifting and shifting begins. Other owners prefer to move their cat last so they have plenty of time to be with their pet to help it settle in its new home. Either way, it’s best to keep your cat in a pre-decided room where they will be safely enclosed while the moving goes on around them. Bathrooms are ideal considering there is likely to be some cleaning up after your cat’s been in there stressing for a couple of hours. Best they do it in there and not on a brand new carpet, right!

Make sure the room is well ventilated, especially in summer, and put a generous amount of water in the room along with their usual litter tray. Don’t overload your cat with food as the stress may cause them to eat too fast and vomit. Check on your cat every half hour or so to make sure he or she is okay (more often if she’s particularly anxious, less often if she seems comfy). The familiarity of your voice and attention will help them stay calm. Be careful when you open the door, though, because given the chance, amped up cats have a tendency to bolt!

Some owners have their pets stay with relatives or neighbours or in a boarding shelter for the duration of the move, and this can be a very useful option. But if your cat doesn’t regularly visit the neighbour or stay at a boarding shelter, this sudden change in location and routine may cause them just as much stress as keeping your cat with you while you move.

After the move, one of the best things you can do is keep things as normal as possible when it comes to interacting with your cat. Don’t do anything too differently. Keep their same food and water bowls, and the same toy or blanket that they enjoy (or furniture they’ve claimed), and keep those items nearby. Also try and keep your mannerisms and actions as normal as possible. If your cat sees you going about things in this new home just the same as you did in the old home, they will likely feel more comfortable.

At some point, your cat will start roaming and getting used to their new place, and this can be a time when your cat may try returning to their old home. Hopefully your kitty is more attached to you than to your house, but cats do often return to the familiar home they used to live in. If your cat has done this in the past, keep them inside in the new home for as long as possible. Go outside with them so they don’t wander alone and bring them inside at night. This can be time consuming and difficult if no one is at home, so keep your cat shut indoors if the house is empty so they don’t wind up back at their old home. It can also be useful to inform the new residents of your old house that they might get a cat wandering around. Provide the new resident with a photo of your pet along with your phone number instructing them to call if they see your cat.

Male cats can spray rooms and items, so follow your male cat around while he roams to ensure you don’t get a nasty, stinking surprise later. You can even carry your cat around the new house and show them each room and let them have a wander. Keep things relaxed and calm and your cat will soon adjust. If you have a fenced backyard, sit outside with your cat and let them get used to the new nature around them. Again, place their food and water bowls nearby and a familiar toy or blanket so they get to understand that this is their new home.

Have you got any tried and tested soothing techniques that helped your kitty chillax after a house move?

21 Mar 2016 By Kat Pekin Comments

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