16 tips for moving with cats
Last month we had 14 tips for moving with dogs, but this month we are turning our attention to cats. Our feline friends tend to be stressed by changes to their environment, so a move can fill a cat with anxiety leading to health issues and possible escape. So, here are our top 16 tips to make your move a success for your cats.
1. Update chips and tags
Like we said earlier, moving can be a stressful time for cats, and stressed cats are more likely to escape. If this happens, you will be glad you took the time to make sure all of your contact information is correct on your cat’s chips and tags.
2. Have a check-up
This step is optional, but before your cat goes through the anxiety of a move, it may be wise to have them check out be a veterinarian to make sure your cat is healthy. This is also a good opportunity to talk to your vet about any suggestions they may have about keeping your cat healthy during the moving process. We strongly recommend this step if you have an elderly cat.
3. Familiarize with the carrier
Often, cats associate their carrier with negative events, such as vet visits. To change this opinion, a few weeks before the move begin leaving the carrier open in a room the cat frequents. Place comfortable bedding inside with the occasional treat. Your cat will become more comfortable going into the carrier, which will reduce their stress when it is time to load them up.
4. Layout boxes
Also a few weeks before the move, begin to layout empty boxes and other packing materials around the house. Make exploring and playing with these items a game for your cat to help them stay relaxed as the packing process begins.
5. Set up a safe room
When it is time to start packing, pick a room where you can confine your cat safely with their essentials and favorite toys and bedding. This will keep them out from under foot, prevent them from finding a difficult hiding space in the house, and stop them from escaping from the house. It may also help keep them calm since they will not be witnessing all of the changes to the rest of the house.
6. Keep a routine
Moving is a hectic time, but try hard to keep your cat’s routine as consistent as possible. For instance, feed your cat at the same time every day.
7. Make time for play time
During the packing process, your cat may become anxious because of all the changes, and also from being confined to the safe room. A healthy way for your cat to work out this anxiety is through play time. So, be sure to set aside time in between packing to help your cat work out some energy through play.
8. Pheremone therapy
Scientists have discovered that certain pheremones can help calm stressed cats. If your feline seems especially stressed and anxious, you can purchase various cat pheremone products that may help.
9. Avoid kitchens and utility rooms
Kitchens and utility rooms often have small spaces that a stressed cat can crawl into and hide. These hiding spaces can be hard to find, and difficult to extricate a cat from, so be aware these issues, and avoid unsupervised time in these areas at both the old and new home until the cat has settled in.
10. Take cats last
Wait to the end to move cats and their items. This will offer them as much time in familiar surroundings as possible, and will also reduce the time they spend in their carrier.
11. Consider a sedative
If moving long distance, talk to your vet about the possibility of giving your cat a mild sedative to help them make the journey with as little stress as possible.
12. Set up another safe room
At the new home, do not let your cat out of the carrier until you have them in a closed room set up with their essentials and favorite bedding and toys. Keep the cat in this safe room as you unpack the rest of the house.
13. Spend time
During the days your cat is confined to the safe room, it is absolutely essential for you to spend time with them. Regularly visit that room and spend quality time both playing and relaxing with your cat.
14. Cat proof the house
As you are unpacking, also take time to cat proof the house. This can include tucking away wires, covering potentially difficult hiding places, and ensuring all windows have secure screens.
15. Supervise exploration
When the main items are unpacked, and things are beginning to fall into order, you can begin to let your cat out of the safe room, but do not immediately give them free reign of the house. Instead, introduce them to one space at a time. Observe as they explore each space to make sure there are no issues.
16. Wait to let outside
Even if you have an outdoor cat, wait at least a few weeks before letting them outside at the new home. They need to be familiar with the smells and sounds of the new house to make sure they will not run away.