Tips For moving House With Cats
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Cats are animals that cling to routine in order to feel safe and secure. Unlike other animals, a cat’s routine is scheduled in such a way that their food, sleep, play, hygiene and socialization times need to always be in order. For this reason, sudden changes to this routine may generate: cat and moving stress, fear or anxiety in a cat. Moving or relocating can be a significant change to a cat’s life and this needs to be considered.
Therefore, if you are thinking of moving with your feline, it is crucial that you provide it with enough time to adapt to its new home. Ideally, this transition should be carried out gradually rather than suddenly. In this way, you will favor your cat’s adaption process, avoiding unnecessary stress.
Keep reading this AnimalWised article to find out some tips and recommendations on how to move with a cat.
Moving cats to a new home
As already mentioned, cats are creatures of habit, this is why sudden changes can easily cause them stress and anxiety. Therefore, providing your cat with an appropriate adaption time is necessary.
No animal, regardless of age, sex or breed, is able to adapt instantaneously to a new reality or environment. Adaptation is in itself a process and every individual needs their own time to overcome it in a positive way.
Moving is a complex experience for cats, be that at any stage of their lives. However, kittens or young cats are often more adaptable and flexible than adult cats. This does not mean that adult or older cats cannot experience a good moving process, however, it will require more patience and dedication.
Moving house with cats: TOP tips
When moving with multiple cats or moving house with an outdoor cat, there are many things you need to consider. Here are 8 practical tips to help make your cat’s adaption process as positive as possible:
- Turn the move into a positive experience: There are many people who naturally, feel very stressed when moving. However, it is important to remember that our cat’s often sense our feelings, therefore; if you feel very stressed, so will you cat. You must help your cat assimilate the move with something positive. If the idea or process of moving causes you to feel nervous, anxious or stressed: your body language will subconsciously express these negative feelings. Cats are incredibly intuitive and will sense these emotions. Therefore, we recommend keeping calm and planning your move in such a way that it will cause you as little stress as possible. By perceiving your calmness and security, your cat will naturally feel calmer and safer.
- Pack your things gradually: Lack of planning and a hurried move are two more factors which can cause stress in your cat when relocating. If you plan your move step by step and pack your things little by little, it will allow your cat to prepare for change in a calm way.
- Provide a shelter for your cat during the the move: The experience of: loading and unloading boxes, living in boxed clutter with the ins and outs of people in unknown territory, can be quite a chaotic event for your cat. All of this disorder can generate a lot of stress. During this stage of the move, we recommend providing your cat with a type of ‘‘safe haven’’ in a quiet and calm room. You can also put on some relaxing music to help your cat feel more calm. Also consider leaving a cardboard box with your cat’s toys in this room, preferably with a blanket inside. This way, your cat will have a ‘‘second’’ and more familiar shelter.
- Pick up your cat’s belonging at the last moment: although we recommend packing your things and objects of the household little by little, it is key to leave your cat’s belongings for last. Once your cat is completely comfortable and secure in transport to move, then you can pack away its things. The carrier is a key element in the routine of a domestic cat, since it allows you to transport it safely. For this reason, it is essential that you socialize and train your cat in using a carrier when it is a kitten. For more information, take a look at our article on: recommendations for travelling by car with a cat.
- Make sure your cat is with you throughout the move: When travelling in the car, make sure that your cat can see you in order to feel safe and comfortable. Do not leave your cat with the boxes or in a moving truck. Always carry your cat with you, conveying your 'affection, making sure that your cat feels comfortable and safe throughout the trip.
How to settle a cat into a new home
Whether you are moving with multiple cats or just one, we recommend taking these tips into consideration! When moving long distance with cats or even just down the road, once the move is over, you still need to make sure that your cat has been well adapted. Here are some things we suggest you take into account after moving with a cat:
- Release your cat when all has settled: As we have already mentioned, make sure that you prepare a type of safe haven for your cat once you move into the new home. Be sure that all of your cat’s toys, bed and drinking fountain are placed in this space. As you unpack your boxes and get everything in order, leave your cat in their safe space. Only once everything is somewhat organized, do we suggest releasing your cat into this safer environment.
- Give your cat freedom and time to explore their new home: It is essential to allow your cat time and space to explore their new home and all of the stimuli that comes with it. Make sure to always provide your cat with an enriched environment that stimulates their natural curiosity. An enriched environment will also allow them to feel stimulating: developing their cognitive, emotional and social characters.
- Spend time with your cat in your new home: A key aspect in helping your cat feel comfortable, safe and welcome in their new home, is the affection and dedicated time given by their tutors. Therefore, always remember to spend time with your feline in their new home, offering them a nice homemade meal with your company.
How long to keep a cat in after moving house
The time that a cat needs to adjust to its new home depends on its individual personality, the process and the environment offered to them by their tutors. Remember to remain patient and give your cat enough time to feel safe and explore this new unknown environment. Forcing a cat to do something against its own will is counterproductive to its adaptation, health and education. Undoubtedly, it is natural for a feline to appear a little more timid, confused and even somewhat fearful when he/she arrives to an unknown environment.
In general, cats can take from a few weeks to several months to adapt to a new home. For more on this topic, take a look at our article on: how long does a cat take to adjust to a new home?
Old cats moving house
It’s important to remember that moving house with an adult cat or kitten will be different to moving house with a senior cat. Older cats that have lived in the same house for a long time with suffer harder from stress and anxiety than other cats. Some additional tips for moving house with older cats include:
- Keeping it’s litter box as is while moving (as long as it is not too dirty). This is so that it has something familiar which it can smell to feel more at ease.
- Opt for a feliway plug diffuser which you can buy at local pet shops to help calm your older cat.
Butter the cat
Yes, sounds crazy, but one of the top moving house with cats advice is by buttering your cat’s paws. This trick is used so that as soon as your cat comes out of its carrier into the new house it can’t run freely, panic or get lost. By buttering its paws, it keeps the cat sitting, able to take in it’s surrounding slowly. Cats are, however, intolerant to lactose, so make sure not to use TOO MUCH butter on your cat’s paws.
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