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Moving house with your cat

Moving house can be hard on every family member. Before you start packing up all your things into boxes, consider your pets. Chances are they’re feeling the strain from moving too. These tips can help you keep your pet as calm as possible.

Is moving house stressful for cats

Yes! Moving home can be a stressful time for all of us, but it can be particularly stressful for your cat. Amongst all the packing and reshuffling of boxes, it can be easy to forget- or perhaps not even realise, the impact moving house has on your beloved cat. They rely heavily on routine and territory, and scent plays a massive part in their familiarity with a place. Without this familiarity they start to feel uncomfortable and unsettled.  

How can I relax my cat before I move house?

Before you even begin packing, ensure that you have a pheromone diffuser plugged in. Cats rub their pheromones on things via their cheeks to release a familiar scent of themselves. These pheromones help them feel safe and secure. Plugging a diffuser in for at least 24 hours before you start packing will help your cat remain as stress free as possible before the move.

It would be a good idea to create a “cat safe zone,” about a week before you’re due to pack. Gradually start to move your cats favourite things, such as their bedding, toys, food and water into a really quiet room. Include a litter tray in there if there is no access to an outside area from this room. Preferably, pick a room you’re happy to pack up last. Giving your cat a week to settle somewhere quieter within the house will help keep them as comfortable as possible throughout the move, and will make them feel safer if there is a lot of disruption going on elsewhere in the house.

Prepare their travel box in advance. Getting their cat box out immediately before going somewhere will just imply to them that they’re going to be constrained for a period of time, and perhaps will be going somewhere they don’t want to go – such as to the vets or to the cattery! Putting the box out and open for at least a week before you go will allow your cat time to get used to it being there. Spraying a pheromone spray on the box, or putting a few treats occasionally in the box, will also help get them used to it. It may be best to avoid putting their box in their “cat safe zone” though as this may make them feel not so safe in that particular room.

How can I relax my cat on the day I move house?

The “cat safe zone” you created previously can now be used. This will allow them to stay as comfortable as possible whilst you start moving your stuff out. Putting them in their own room will also prevent them running away or getting lost whilst the front door is open. Always move your cat’s belongings last so they have them close whilst they’re in their safe zone. 

Keep their routine the same as much as possible. Take time out of your packing schedule to pop in and see your furry friend in their safe zone. Feeding them at around the same time as normal and giving them a little bit of attention will help to reassure them.

Once you’re packed and ready to travel, you can then get ready to take your cat with you. They should be secured in the car with a seatbelt or by safely wedging them in. Make sure to keep reassuring your cat throughout the journey and make sure that water is readily available, especially if the journey is a long one. You should never leave your cat alone in the car, regardless of if they’re kept in the shade.

How do I settle my cat after moving house?

Unpack your kitty companions’ things first. It is advised to do this whilst they are still in their travel box so that everything is out and ready once they are out of their carrier. This will also help towards settling them in as they can see and smell their belongings straight away.

Continue to use pheromone sprays to make the home feel safer and more familiar. Let them freely explore the house in their own time so that they can start to rub their pheromone map on walls and furnishings. 

As always, still try to stick to their normal routine. Don’t rush them to adjust straight away, but by feeding them at their regular times, they will start to feel some kind of normality again.

Important things to remember when moving your cat into a new home.

An essential thing to remember amongst all the packing of boxes, is to update your cats microchip details! Even if you’re planning on keeping them inside for the full three weeks after you move, it is still best to be safe and update their details with your new address early on, just incase they find a way to sneak out the door!

Check the house, and garden if you have one, is cat safe. Look out for new plants or flowers that could be toxic or poisonous to your cat. Lilies can be deadly to cats so ensure you do a thorough check of the surroundings – including out the front for potential dangers on busy roads.

If your cat does not travel well, or you have a long journey ahead to your new home, it would be a good idea to speak to your local veterinary practice for ways to help keep them calm and as comfortable as possible during the journey.