15 Handy Tips For Moving House With A Cat
Simple tips and advice to reduce the stress for your feline family members.
Moving House With A Cat
If you think moving house is stressful, just imagine how your cat feels! No one asked ‘Fluffington’ if he/she wanted to up sticks and leave its familiar territory behind. No, one morning you’re staring through the window at next door’s budgie, the next thing you know you’re stuck in a car and unleashed into a new and bewildering environment. So here’s a few helpful tips for anyone moving house with a cat.
Before The Move
Before moving day, make sure your cat’s microchip is updated with your new address so that if they should manage to make a break for it, whoever finds him/her will know where to bring them.
Tell The Neighbours
If you’re moving a short distance and it’s likely your cat might find it’s way back to the old house, speak to your neighbours and the new occupants. If your cat does go missing, check with them first as it might have made its way ‘home’.
If your move is likely to take a few days, it might be better to book your cat into a cattery for the duration of the move and collect them once the dust (and moving boxes) have settled.
At The Old House
Do Not Disturb
To keep your cat calm while the chaos of moving starts to unfold, keep your them in a safe room with the door shut and preferably a sign so your removals team know not to enter. Make sure your cat has familiar toys, blanket and access to food and water as well as a litter tray.
For particularly nervous cats, there are plug in pheromone diffusers on the market which can help keep your cat calm.
Make sure your cat is in a cat carrier or basket. This should be securely fastened with a seat belt or packed in so that it can’t move. For longer journeys, place the basket (securely fixed) in a dog cage so your cat can have breaks outside the basket with access to food and drink.
Never let your cat travel loose in the car. Even if your cat is a good traveler, they will have no protection in the event of an accident.
Let your cat travel with familiar items such as blankets or toys that have its scent.
Give your cat breaks on long journeys and if you do have to leave them in the car, make sure it’s well ventilated and park the car in a shaded spot if it’s a hot day. And remember, the sun moves so allow for the direction the sun will be in by the time you return to your vehicle.
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At The New House
Set a room aside with a ‘Pets – Do Not Disturb’ sign and speak to the removals team about not entering the room to give your cat a safe haven away from all the boxes and banging. Place their toys, water, food, etc in the room creating a ‘cat zone’ they can explore and hide away in.
Another tip for nervous cats is to rub a cloth gently around your cat’s face and then rub the cloth on cat height surfaces of the first room you place it in, to create more familiar smells. You can repeat this in other rooms to build up your cat’s scent in its new territory.
Bedding & Toys
If might seem tempting to get everything clean and ready for the move but don’t wash toys or bedding just prior to the move. At the new house everything is going to seem strange and new, having some familiar scents on bedding, blankets and toys will reassure your cat that although it is new, this is their space.
A Door You
Once you are ready to open the door and let your cat explore your new home, try not to leave every room open. It can be very overwhelming with so many new places to explore at once. Equally, as you’re getting to know your new home, it’s very easy to mistakenly shut your cat into a room or cupboard, so try not to leave doors open. And if you don’t see him/her for a while, you might want to retrace your steps to workout which wardrobe you’ve managed to shut them in!
A Little Bit Of Love…
…goes a long way. Moving home with a cat can be pretty confusing for them. Everything smells new, looks new, big men with noisy boots. You woke up in a house full of all your favourite smells and now where are you?!? While everything else is totally strange, one very familiar thing is you, so after the removals team have left, find some time to cuddle and play with your cat to reassure it that it’s not so scary after all.
Yes, you’re excited to make yourself at home, but your cat might not be quite so enthusiastic. Let them explore their new surroundings at their own pace. Don’t pick them up and give them the grand tour or carry them into the garden. If they do decide to stay put don’t worry, they’ll go for a wander once they’re ready and feeling a little more confident/curious.
Reduce the size of your cat’s meals once you’ve moved, feeding them smaller amounts more often. This will encourage them to keep coming back and not wander too far as they scope out their new neighbourhood.
Another handy tip when moving house with a cat, if you’re letting them out for the first time, do it when you know they’re hungry so you can entice them back inside with food if you have to. Once they are outside, make sure the door is open so they can get back inside easily when they want to.
All cats are escape artists. Their instinct will be to do a Houdini at the first chance they get, so make sure your house is escape proof, windows and doors (internal and external) are kept closed and that everyone in the family knows the new cat-safe rules for the first few weeks until they’ve adjusted to their new home.