Are you moving cats to a new home?
God bless you! Not for the seemingly stressful task ahead of you but for not leaving them behind. Maybe it was never an option for the sweet soul that you are (to abandon them) but you know there are people out there.
Any way, we recently moved to a new house and brought our kitty along, with the least amount of stress.
Here’s what we did (that worked well)
Getting them used to the cat carrier
When you’re moving house with an indoor cat, it’s very important for them to get used to the carrier, a few days ahead of the move. Generally, cats will have no problems adjusting to a new carrier. But then, if the cat is used to making her vet visits in an old carrier, they may have negative emotions attached to it. In which case, this preparation period will help. In fact, we left the cat carrier open for a couple of weeks and got her used to it. On the day of the move, she was comfortable being in it for a long time.
If you’re moving long distance with cats, it’s not a bad idea to feed them in the carrier. Once a day, throw a few kibbles inside the carrier. Make sure your Tee or your kitty’s favorite blanket is kept in the carrier. The idea is to get them to sleep in the carrier a few times before the move.
Cats can sense when things that normally don’t happen, start happening. This is particularly true when you start packing and stacking boxes. While at it, you don’t want to scare them off as they may become anxious and isolate themselves. Therefore, it’s a good idea to pack your things when the kitty is asleep, ideally in a different room.
Keep a few empty cardboard boxes (with holes) mixed in with the boxes that contain your belongings. And encourage your kitty to play in those empty boxes. If possible, move them around the house so that they think of it like a game and develop a liking to it. That way it becomes more play like and your cat may never realize what’s actually happening.
Extra play time
Continue the exact same routine for your kitty in the days leading up to the move. Try to give them a bit more attention, additional play time, may be an extra kibble. The idea is to keep them distracted at all times.
What to do on the day of the move?
The D-day is here and keeping your cat engaged on this day is very important.
If you were able to pull off all that was spoken up to this point, there’s no reason why the move itself couldn’t be smoother. In fact, it’s important to keep yourself in an easy-going attitude. If you’re free of stress, your cat will easily pick up on your happy vibe and before you know, the cat will be sitting on a box in the new home, ready to play.
Prepping the room & the cat carrier
Your cat may panic and run out of the house when they see new faces carrying the boxes out. To prevent all that drama, you should move your belongings out of the cat’s room (where your cat feels most comfortable) beforehand. After feeding a small meal, keep a bowl of food and water in the cat carrier along with the litter box in the room. Have a friend or a family member accompany your cat in the room. When it’s time to move, you can entice your cat into the carrier by luring them in with a cat treat.
Moving your cat
After this point, secure the carrier on a flat surface inside the car, making sure the cat is comfortable. Adjust the temperature in the car so that it’s not too hot or cold.
While travelling, have someone constantly monitor the cat. Better yet, having a word or two will really help comfort them. Get some cat relaxation music off YouTube. I find that my cat is a lot more relaxed whenever we play soothing music meant for cats. Travelling can be stressful to cats and driving with anxious cats can be nerve racking for humans. Luckily, since my cat loves it when my wife sings, we were able to help calm her down.
If your cat is not used to travelling or gets very anxious the moment they are carried out of the house, you may want to consult your vet. They may recommend something to calm their anxiety.
Moving an outdoor cat to a new home
Outdoor cats draw a sense of identity and belonging from their external environment. When outdoor cats are moved to a new home, they may undergo certain psychological changes due to the lack of familiarity. That’s why moving with an outdoor cat is a bit more challenging for cat owners as they adjust to the new surroundings. There are a few things an outdoor cat owner can do in order to breed familiarity in the new home. For example, consider placing an outdoor dining table or a trampoline from the old home.
Moving cats to a new home might not seem pleasurable. But just know that it’s completely do-able and by following the tips in this article, you will make it easy on yourself. Furthermore, people move homes with their cats all the time. A lot will depend on your cat’s personality and the steps you take will make the experience relatively stress-free.