Moving house with cats
Are you moving house soon and are worried about the stress it may cause your cat? Cats are territorial animals so moving into a new environment will be difficult for cats to accept. I’ve spent some time researching ways to make the move easier for your cats and how to support them with the process.
Before moving house
Here are some tips and tricks for before you move house to help settle your cat.
Cats make a pheromone when they feel safe which helps them identify their home (you might see them doing this when they rub their faces on furniture). It’s ideal to use a plug-in diffuser that infuses this pheromone into the air 24 hours before you move – or even when you’re packing to move – to help them feel calmer and safer.
Keep to your routine before moving house
Whilst you might not think it, you probably have some sort of routine that your cat is used to, especially regarding their food time. Try to keep to this routine as much as possible to avoid any confusion or stress on your cat(s).
Provide a cat-safe zone
It might be useful to move your cat’s things (food, water, bed, litter tray and toys) into a quiet room to distract them into another part of the house whilst you’re packing. Make sure to do this slowly, preferably a week before you move.
If you were to get out your cat carrier just before your journey, your cat is more than likely to become scared and feel constrained. Try having the carrier out in the open for a couple of weeks before you plan to travel. You could also try to give the carrier a more positive appearance by putting treats or toys in it to encourage your cats to go in it.
On moving day
Moving day is most likely the day to cause the most stress on your cats, here are some ideas that might help comfort them.
Keep their cat-safe zone available
On the day of moving house, make sure to keep your cats set up in your ‘original’ home that can be their stress-free zone. This way, whilst you are moving any belongings and making trips, you know your cat will be safe alone. You should also pack any of your cat’s belongings last so that they have less time without them.
Still keep to your routine
Like before, it is still so important to keep your routine as similar as usual on your moving day. Give your cat their food at the same time and try to give them the same amount of attention as you usually would. They’ll feel so much better if this routine is stuck to and will ultimately keep their stress levels low.
Travel as you normally would. Make sure to have a safe, enclosed carrier. Secure the carrier by wedging it into its car seat or use a seat belt to strap it down. Also, make sure to speak to your cat during the journey, it will be comforting for them to even just hear your voice.
Unpack their things first
Once you are in your new home, make sure to unpack all of your cat’s belongings first whilst they are still in their carrier – things like their bedding, food, water and toys. Getting these things out before you let your cat out will hopefully reassure them as they will be able to smell their homely items before seeing their new living environment.
Similarly to the last point, scent-swapping involves bringing blankets/cushions that your cat is familiar with from your old home to help them settle in. You could also rub a soft cloth on your cat’s face and then rub it onto furniture at their height to spread their scent around the new house.
After moving house
You might think once you’ve moved house, your cat will settle on their own. But there are some things to keep aware of once you have moved in.
Prepare for accidents
The stress from moving for your cat can cause toilet accidents so be patient with them. Make sure to keep a clean litter tray somewhere easily accessible for them and encourage them to use it by showing it to them often.
Expand their space
Moving into a big, new house can be very overwhelming for a cat, so don’t expose them to the whole space at once. Give them a safe room to start off with and slowly introduce them to different rooms.
If you have an outdoor cat, you need to take extra precautions when moving house. Your cat(s) will miss having access to the outdoors but it’s important to keep them inside for at least the first three weeks. This will allow them to get used to the new home scent and help them recognise it when they do go outside. Before you let them out, it is advised to sprinkle some of their used cat litter around the perimeter of the house. This will expand their scent and also pre-warn other local cats that there is a new cat.
When they’re ready, start by letting them out just before they’re due food. They are likely to run back to the sound of their food packets rattling this way. You should also never force them out – make sure to leave a door or window open so they have an easy way to get back in, and go out with them! They’re much more likely to explore knowing you’re close by.
Moving house with cats
I have used the advice and information from the Vets4Pets website and if you would like further information on moving house with your cat, I recommend visiting their site at https://www.vets4pets.com/pet-health-advice/cat-advice/moving-house-with-your-cat/.
Information in this post has been created and researched by My Three Cats. We do not provide medical advice. If your cat experiences any issues regarding stress and anxiety, please get in touch with your vet immediately.