Moving With A Cat- Tips For Owners Planning A MoveReading Time: 3 minutes
Most cats are not big fans of change. They’re also territorial, so imagine how they must feel when they suddenly find themselves in a totally unfamiliar location. Moving is very stressful for humans, so you can certainly understand how unhappy the whole thing makes the family cat. But at some point in their lives, most cats must move on to a new location. Making the transition as stress-free as possible for your feline companion can have big benefits. This includes reducing the risk of fear-based house soiling, excessive meowing and crying, hiding, escape attempts or aggression. Moving with a cat to a new house or apartment involves three basic aspects. They are: pre-move preparations, the move itself and settling into the new home.
Moving With A Cat- Pre-Move Preparations
Allow your cat time to get used to his carrier. Leave it sitting out with the door open and a comfy bed inside. Occasionally leave a couple of cat treats in it so your cat can find them on his own. Start feeding your cat in the carrier. If your cat is reluctant to enter the carrier to eat, start by just placing his dish next to it. After a few days, put the dish just inside the carrier, right near the opening. Then, over a week or two, gradually move the dish toward the back of the carrier so your cat has to step a little further inside each day. Eventually, place the dish at the very back of the carrier to your cat must go all the way into it to eat.
Put out your moving boxes a couple weeks before you need to start packing so your cat has time to get used to their presence. If your cat is nervous while you’re packing, he’ll probably be happier closed in a quiet room, away from the activity and noise. It’s also a good idea to confine your cat if you think he might try to hide in one of the boxes. If your cat is very skittish, nervous or easily stressed, speak to your vet. They can prescribe anti-anxiety medication to make the moving process easier on your cat.
Moving With A Cat- The Move
To prevent your cat from dashing out the door while movers are going in and out, close him in a bathroom with food, water, a bed and litter box. Place a sign on the door asking the movers to keep the door shut. Feed your cat a very small breakfast on moving day to reduce stomach upset. Make sure your cat stays in the carrier until you are safely enclosed in a room at the new place. Do not open the carrier to ‘comfort’ him, as he will quite likely dash out and escape all the mayhem. Ensure your cat is not left in a hot car or out in the sun in the carrier! A car can heat up to dangerous temperatures within 10 minutes, even on a relatively mild day.
Avoid putting food and water in the carrier, unless you are planning on being on the road for more than 12 hours. For lengthy journeys you will need a carrier big enough for a litter tray and food bowls that ideally that can be refilled from the outside and won’t spill during transport. While in transit, resist the urge to open your cat’s carrier to soothe him. A scared cat may try to dash out. Only open the carrier in a secure area and when absolutely necessary. Carry a roll of packing tape in case the carrier needs emergency repairs along the way (it happened to me).
Moving With A Cat- Settling into the new home
First, cat-proof the new house. Tuck away electrical cords and plug up nooks where a cat could get stuck. Make sure that all windows have secure screens, remove any poisonous houseplants and confirm that no pest-control poison traps have been left anywhere in the house. Set up a sanctuary room for your cat so he’ll have a safe and quiet place initially. Set up this room with some familiar furniture, his litter box, food and water bowls, scratching post, toys and some hideaways. Since the house will be totally unfamiliar, it’ll be less overwhelming for him to be confined in one room so he can get his bearings and start to create some familiarity.
When the flurry of unpacking is over, gradually give your cat access to the rest of the house, one room at a time. If it’s not possible to close doors to limit his access, closely supervise your cat during short exploration sessions. Whether your cat is stressed or frightened will determine when to let them out to gradually expose them to more of the new environment.
Moving With A Cat- Final Thoughts
As we mentioned earlier, cats are not big fans of change. Moving to a new place is stressful for a cat and their owner. Making the transition as stress-free as possible for your feline companion can have big benefits. By preparing before hand, cat and owner can have a smooth transition to their new home. We hope this article helps all cat owners and we wish them luck with their move.
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