Moving Home with a Cat
Most cats are quite territorial and appreciate familiar surroundings. They enjoy roaming around, but usually keep relatively close to home, where they feel settled and comfortable. Moving home with a cat has its share of difficulties and should be made as stress-free as possible. Advance preparation and practice will assist your cat in avoiding unwanted behaviour such as house soiling, hiding, crying, meowing, escaping and aggression.
There are three aspects involved when moving your cat to a new home: pre-move, moving day and settling in. With the right approach and preparation your cat will not feel scared or confused.
Preparing your cat for the move
You will require a suitable carrier for your cat during the move. Either purchase or hire your carrier some time before the move so your cat can become accustomed to it. Place the carrier in a location your cat is familiar with, put a comfy bed inside and leave the door open. Your cat may feel comfortable enough to walk straight in and curl up, or you can induce it inside by making a couple of tasty treats available. Train your cat to take its meals in the carrier. If it is reluctant to enter you can start by placing the dish next to the carrier door and slowly moving it inside over the space of several days. Eventually your cat will feel comfortable enough to enter the carrier for meals even if the dish is all the way at the back.
Cats appreciate familiarity and can become quite nervy during change. You can start packing some boxes early so your cat gets used to them. Alternatively, you can keep your feline friend in a closed and quiet room during packing. Your cat may also try to hide in one of the boxes, so make sure you don’t box him or her up during the packing process.
Keep your cats feeding and playing routines as consistent as possible during packing and moving. Feeding at regular times every day will minimise nervousness of your pet. You may even set a timer so feeding is scheduled in during this busy period. Some cats are naturally a little skittish and easily stressed. Consult with your vet regarding anti-anxiety medication if you think it will make the move easier for everyone concerned.
There will be a lot going on during moving day and your cat may be tempted to dash out the door and run away. To prevent this, use your bathroom as a safe cat haven, and provide a bed, food, water and a litter box. Put a sign on the door reminding everyone there is a cat inside and keep the door closed.
Your cat will be more nervous than usual on moving day so go easy on the breakfast serving to reduce the possibility of an upset stomach. Once in transit, keep the door to the cat carrier closed. Your pet may be upset or meowing, and you may want to offer comfort, but the last thing you need on moving day is a panic stricken cat escaping during transit.
Once moved into your new home, keep your cat in a relatively confined area for a few days until it realises the move is permanent. Carry your cat around the yard or through the house and help it to become familiar with the new surroundings.
These guidelines should ensure the move to your new home is easy, and everyone including your cat will be settled in safely and happily.
Are you travelling interstate? Read the Traveller’s guide to interstate quarantine