If you have a cat, you’ll know they are very territorial animals who develop close attachments to their home environment. So moving house with a cat will be a major upheaval for your feline friend. Here are some tips on how to make moving house an easier experience for everyone in your household.
Moving house with a cat will work better if you are prepared. But don’t be surprised if the packing and preparations are confusing or troubling for your pet. “The first time I moved, Nancy got really upset by everything being packed up,” says Anne, an experienced cat owner who has moved house, and brought her cat Nancy along, several times now.
Do: Take your pet’s anxiety seriously. “You can get products like Feliway and Zylkene which help them with stress – we had a really good capsule which you open up and tip on their food, which helped Nancy.”
Moving day will bring intimidating and alarming changes for most cats, who will feel stressed and uneasy about all the upheaval. From the intrusion of removal men to the disappearance of the contents of the home, it’s a scary time for your cat, who will need to be treated with sensitivity.
Do: Secure your cat in a safe room that will remain shut while the removal men are packing up the van. Make sure it contains all their creature comforts so that they feel as calm as possible.
Don’t: Put your cat in the removal van, or the boot of a car. Felines don’t always take kindly to being cooped up in carriers, but this is the safest way for them to travel.
Do: Consider putting your cat in a cattery if you feel that moving day will be too stressful for your pet.
Moving house with a cat will require a lot of reassurance on your part, to let them know they are safe. When your cat arrives at your new home, they’ll need time to grow accustomed to the strange new environment.
Do: Make the new house as welcoming as you can by giving it a familiar and reassuring scent. Help them to feel at home in their new territory by rubbing a soft cloth on their face and then wiping this on items of furniture and other objects in the house. This mimics the cat’s instinctive behaviour of rubbing their scent on items they come into contact with and will help them to understand that this is now “home”.
Don’t: Let your cat out straight away, as they may try to escape. They will need time to get their bearings and get used to the new set-up before exploring beyond the confines of the house. The Blue Cross recommends keeping cats indoors for a fortnight or longer.
Settling in to the new home environment may not always be straightforward, and some cats may attempt to return to the familiarity of their old house and garden.
Do: Ensure that your cat has a collar to identify them, and take other precautions, such as microchipping, just in case your cat goes missing.
Don’t: Encourage your cat by ‘rewarding’ them for returning to the old house. The new occupants (or old neighbours) may inadvertently reinforce this behaviour by offering a welcome and/or food, but this is counterproductive – it may be worth warning them what’s going on so that they know not to offer food.
So, there you have it. The do’s and don’ts to make moving house with a cat as easy and stress-free as possible for everyone involved.