Cats are creatures of habit and thrive in a consistent and familiar atmosphere. Moving house can be very stressful for cats once they are taken out of their comfort zone.
Prepare ahead of time to make moving house with your cat go as smoothly as possible.
If you need to stay overnight at motels check ahead to find a pet-friendly motel. Don’t leave your cat in your vehicle if staying at a motel. Find pet friendly motels in a booklet that can be purchased from your newsagent or do a search on the Internet.
If you have a very nervous cat and your move entails a long car journey you may wish to discuss with your vet whether or not it would be advisable to give your cat a tranquiliser before the journey.
When travelling by car, your cat needs to be contained in a cat carrier which can be secured by a seatbelt. Make the carrier comfortable and include a favourite blanket or toy with a familiar smell.
If you are travelling a long distance to your new home pack a ‘Cat Pack’ The pack should contain food, food dishes, water dishes a litter tray and clean litter. You will also need plastic bags and a scoop for cat litter disposal. Don’t forget a spoon or fork if you are taking canned food and some paper towels and wipes for any accidents. For nervous cats you might want to take a blanket or towel to cover the carrier.
When to move the cat
If you are moving a shorter distance to your new home and are making several journeys back and forth leave your cat until the last trip to bring it over to your new house. Your cat may be disturbed by the activity of furniture being moved out, but at least it is in familiar surroundings. Confine it to one room if possible with a familiar piece of furniture or it’s own personal bed if it has one.
The new house – Settling in
On your cat’s arrival at the new home try to make sure that the removalists have left and all furniture and packing box transportation is finished.
Make sure all doors and windows are securely closed. Remember to block chimneys too. Let him out of his carrier when it is quiet, not when there is still lots of activity associated with moving and unpacking going on. Make sure there are familiar things around him. Your furniture will have smells he will associate with home. Let him explore by himself and don’t force him to do anything.
Some cats take to moving without much drama while others are very stressed and may hide under a bed for days. If your cat refuses to come out of a room or is hiding under a bed supply him with a litter tray and food and water in that room. Put a favourite blanket, toy or piece of furniture in the room to reassure him.
Feliway® sprays or diffusers can be used to settle your cat. Feliway® is a product which reproduces certain pacifying properties of cat facial pheromones. For more information visit the Feliway Website
Reassure your cat frequently by giving him plenty of attention. Lots of love and cuddles go a long way.
Sometimes your cat won’t want to eat. Don’t worry, he will eat when he is ready. Always have food and water available in familiar bowls. If your cat usually sleeps with you encourage him to do this in your new house. He will feel secure at night cuddled up with you in a bed he knows and with people he loves.
Don’t allow the cat to go outside for a week or two or until he is very settled in his new environment. When you feel it is time to go outside it may be advisable to take him out on a harness, however if your cat is not used to a harness it could contribute to his stress levels. Supervise him for all outside visits at first and make sure he knows the way back into the house.
Collars and ID
Your cat may not usually wear a collar but it would be advisable before your move to get him used to wearing one. When you move attach an ID disk with a phone number. He should get used to wearing a collar BEFORE you move as putting a collar on after the move may add to his stress.
If your Cat is micro chipped
Don’t forget to notify the Microchip Register of your new address and phone number. Do this a couple of weeks before you move and let them know your moving date. Ring the vet who implanted the microchip if you are unsure of who to contact. Usually you have notify the registration people in writing so make sure you organise things well in advance of your move.
Interstate and Overseas
If you are moving interstate or overseas and flying, then you will of course need to check out airline regulations for information on flights, container regulations freight costs etc. Thoroughly check quarantine requirements when traveling overseas. You will also need to check with your vet if any additional vaccinations are required.
Good Luck with your move and forget about the old wives tale of putting butter on your cat’s paws.