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Moving House With Your Cat
Moving house can be a stressful time for you and your cat, especially since cats enjoy their routines, and upheaval can be difficult for them. So, if you’re moving house with a cat, it’s important to do so in a way that minimises their stress.
Preparing your cat for the move
Before moving, make sure your cat has a microchip with up-to-date contact details, including your new address. It’s a good idea to get a robust cat carrier and leave it near your cat for a few days so they can get used to it. Your cat may resist going into the cat carrier initially. Try to make it as appealing as possible for them by approaching them calmly and having their favourite blanket placed inside. Once you get them in, make sure it’s fully secured. If it’s a hot day, make sure your cat is kept as cool as possible. If your cat is distressed when travelling, place a covering such as a light blanket or towel over their carrier as being in the dark should help them relax.
Easing them into the transition
Your cat may very quickly sense that something is about to change, which can cause them to be on edge. To try and help calm any unease, try to pack their familiar/favourite items last so they have comforting objects.
Moving day with your cat
On the day of the move, it’s a good idea to keep your cat contained. All the activity of moving could stress them and make them unlikely to cooperate with going in the carrier – so try to get them in as soon as you can.
Avoid feeding them a few hours before you plan to travel, as this will reduce the likelihood of them getting travel sick. Check on them regularly during the journey. It’s recommended to plan for a few breaks if your journey is a long one, as a healthy cat should be let out their carrier every 2-4 hours – with older or less healthy cats needing more frequent rests.
Settling your cat into the new home
Try to maintain your normal routine, so your cat has some consistency as they adjust. So, if your cat normally gets fed at a particular time, try to keep to that schedule.
Consider getting a pheromone spray or diffuser. These emulate the natural pheromones released by a mother cat to calm her kittens, so can help a cat to feel safe. This helps alleviate signs associated with fear and stress in kittens and cats.
And even though your hands will be full, make sure to spend time with your cat.
How long should it take to be settled
Your cat may take a while to adjust and settle into their new home. If you plan to let your cat outside eventually, they should be confined to the house for around four weeks while they get used to their new surroundings. However, even if your cat is an indoor cat, it’s a good idea to restrict them to one room for a few days after you’ve moved. It’s also a good idea to have their new room set up with their litter tray, food and water bowls, and their bed, so everything is ready as soon as your cat arrives. Be sure to keep the litter tray well away from their food and water bowls as well as bedding area. This will allow them to settle in and gain confidence – and ensure they’re out of the way while you’re unpacking. Once they’ve got used to ‘their’ room for a few days, it’s time to let them explore the rest of the house.
Preventing your cat from returning to your old address
Cats have an excellent sense of direction and may try to go to your old home as soon as they can. Therefore, it’s best to let them outside slowly, after they’ve had around a month indoors. Try taking them for a short walk with a cat harness to make sure they don’t run off, and after about a week of supervision, you should be able to let them outside by themselves.
Things to look out for
Disruption to routine and changed surroundings can be incredibly stressful for cats and your cat’s behaviour may change. For example, they could:
● lose their appetite
● get more or less affectionate
● be more destructive
If your cat exhibits signs of stress for a prolonged period, such as refusing to eat and drink, make sure to take them to a vet.
Moving house can be a difficult time for everyone but, with careful planning, you can help your cat settle happily into their new home. For more information on looking after your cat, visit our petcare blog.
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