If you’re a cat owner, you’ll know that felines can be very particular creatures. From their favourite spot for an afternoon nap, to that particular brand of dry food they won’t touch with a barge pole, and their war of attrition with the tabby next door, cats can be difficult customers, which is why many owners worry about their pets when it’s time to move home.
Moving house can be incredibly stressful for humans, but it can be just as stressful for cats. To help make the move and settling in a little easier, we’ve created a guide to moving home with a cat, from making moving day as smooth as possible to acclimatising cats to their new place.
Preparing your cat for moving home
Good preparation will help to keep your cat happy and calm during the move. Around a week before the Big Day, dedicate a room in your old property to your cat. A litter tray, food bowls, their bed, a scratching post and anything familiar which makes them feel safe should be included in this room. Encourage your cat to spend as much time in there as possible and begin keeping them shut inside towards the end of the week to acclimatise them to being in a confined environment.
Moving day with cats
The day of your move is likely to be extremely stressful, with a hundred and one things to remember and approximately a bazillion boxes to keep track of. Depending on how much time you have and the nature of your cat, you may choose to move the animal with you, or book them into a cattery while you make the move.
Every cat is different, so if yours is good natured and not prone to stress, taking them with you on moving day may be a suitable option. However, make sure you’ll have enough time on the day to look after its needs. If you will be too busy, a cattery may be a good option for a day or two while you get everything sorted out – then you’ll have the time and attention to care for your pet once you’re all moved in.
Keeping cats indoors after moving
When your cat arrives at the new property, again set up a dedicated room with its familiar items. If possible, choose a room which is out of the way of the moving kerfuffle to minimise stress and disruption. Keep a sign on the door to ensure your pet isn’t disturbed and doesn’t escape.
Your cat should stay in this room for a few days to allow it to acclimatise to the sounds and smells of its new home without getting overwhelmed. When your animal grows in confidence, let them explore the rest of the house, keeping outside doors and windows closed. They should not be allowed outside for at least three weeks to ensure they’ve built up a smell profile which will help them find their way home.
Letting your cat outside after moving
When you do allow your cat outside, make sure you do so just before their usual meal time to help tempt them home. Leave the door open, go outside with them and let them out for just a short time over the course of a few days before giving them the run of their new area. Ensure they are microchipped so that if they do get lost, they can be identified and returned to you.
Moving with multiple cats
The process for moving with multiple cats is precisely the same as moving house with one cat. However, depending on the relationships between your animals, you may choose to keep them in the same room or separate rooms as you acclimatise them. If they are close with each other, keep them together. If they are prone to fighting or find each other stressful, separate them during the moving process.