Moving to a new home can be both exciting and chaotic as you decide what to take with you and what to leave behind, but this is no time to get rid of your cat's familiar toys and belongings. Cat's rely on scent and familiar surroundings to soothe the nerves and ease the transition to a new home. You can make moving easier on your cat by preparing him in advance and preparing the new home for his arrival. Follow these tips for moving with your cat.
Prepare Your Cat for the Move
The days leading up to your move are likely to be busy and more than a little chaotic, which may disturb your cat and leave him feeling confused and vulnerable. You can help him prepare by gradually easing into the onset of packing.
Place several empty boxes around the home and allow your cat to explore them. Avoid shooing your cat away as you begin packing. Let him peek inside and explore this new activity.
Use feline facial pheromones on packing boxes. You can purchase these in a spray at your local pet store. These synthetic pheromones mimic the pheromones that cats emit when they rub against people or furniture. It sends the message that everything is okay and generally eases anxiety in cats, says PET MD.
Introduce the carrier. If your cat is unaccustomed to riding in a carrier, gradually introduce him to over a week or more. Begin by feeding your cat near an open carrier, and gradually move the food closer until he will venture inside to eat. Place a familiar blanket or cat bed inside the carrier where your cat can smell familiar scents. This will help your cat view the carrier as safe place.
Keep your cat's routine as regular as possible. Feed, groom and play with your cat at his regular times. Many cats react negatively if routines are disrupted, and your goal is to keep kitty feeling comfortable and secure.
Preparing the New Home
If you live close enough to visit the new home, you can do a little proactive work there before you move in. Otherwise, take these steps as soon as you arrive at the new home.
Kitty proof the home. Look for broken screens or windows where your cat may escape, check for areas where he may get trapped (frightened cats often crawl into tight spaces and may not be able to get out), and be on the lookout for pesticides or mouse bait left behind by previous owners.
Mark the home with your cat's scent. Place an old sock on your hand and spend some time petting your cat, especially the area around the nose and face. This will cause your cat to release his natural pheromones. Take the sock with you to the new home and rub it along areas nose-high to your cat. When he arrives later, he will think he has already marked these areas and feel more comfortable in the new home.
Designate an area for your cat. You may choose an empty room or your bedroom if your cat typically sleeps with you. Place your cat's litter box, food dishes, familiar toys, and scratching posts in the room. When you arrive, place kitty in the room and close the door. This allows him to adjust to the new surroundings with his own familiar scents and keeps him safely out of the way of the movers when they arrive. Gradually give your cat access to the rest of the home.
Making the Move
Moving day may be the most stressful part of the move for your cat, but you can ease those fears, too.
- Place your cat in a closed room before the movers arrive. The easiest way to do this is to empty one room of everything except your cat's things and make sure movers know that room is off limits.
- Put your cat's favorite blanket or bed in the carrier. This will help your cat feel more secure.
- Place the carrier in a secure area of your vehicle. Place the side and back of the carrier against the seat or door of the vehicle. Secure it with the seatbelt so that it will not slip and slide during the move.
- Cover the carrier with a blanket if your cat is visibly upset. This often calms the nerves and encourages your cat to rest or sleep.
- Provide food and water as needed during the trip.
- Talk to your cat and take the time to show him affection during the trip.
Taking the time to help your cat adjust to the move will eliminate stress for both of you as you make your transition to your life together in a new home. For more help, contact a moving company like Bekins Van Lines Inc.