Moving home is exciting. But whether you’re moving into rented accommodation, your first owned home or a help to buy property in London, it can be a stressful time.
In the days leading up to your final night, you carefully crated your records and wrapped up your wine glasses but remembered to leave out the important things that won’t be packed until the very last minute.
Things like the teabags, the kettle and the cat.
Oh yes, the cat.
If you think moving’s stressful for you, think about how stressful it is for our furry friends.
Some cats will take being put in a carrier and transported to a strange house in their stride. Others will take your face off at the first sign of the cat box.
Either way, being in a box and being let out in a strange place at the other end of a car or van journey can be unsettling for cats.
Here’s how to make the process less stressful for your cat and therefore, less stressful for you too.
Plug-in a synthetic pheromone diffuser such as those from Pet Remedy or Feliway at least 24 hours before the move. These diffusers emit a synthetic pheromone that replicates the pheromones released from your cat and will help to keep them calm.
Also before moving day, put out the cat carrier your cat will be travelling in to get them used to it being around.
Moving into a new house is chaotic and in case your cat manages to escape while you’re carting boxes around, make sure the microchip details have been changed before you move. Ensure the microchip has your new address and you can check your other details such as mobile number are correct too. Also get a new ID tag for your cat’s collar if they wear one.
On moving day
If your cat likes to go out first thing, don’t let them. They may get confused and meow at you to let them out but you must resist all demands. Cats always know when something’s going on and even if they usually only go out for a few minutes before coming back in, you can guarantee they’ll decide to disappear for an entire morning on moving day if you let them out.
While you’re busy packing up the last of your bits and moving all the boxes into the van, put your cat in a room with their food bowl, water, litter tray and their favourite toys and shut the door. This will keep them safely tucked away from the disruption while being surrounded by their own things. Put a sign on the door so everyone involved in the move knows not to go in there and disturb the cat or let it out.
When you get to your new home, unpack your cat’s belongings in a room with a door that shuts. Keep your cat in their carrier while you do this. Put their belongings and some items that smell of you – e.g. a cushion, blanket, clothing so there are some familiar smells when they’re let out. Let your cat out into this safe space and close the door while you bring the rest of the boxes in from the van.
Rub a soft cloth around your cat’s face then rub the cloth on cat-height furniture to help spread their scent around.
Don’t let your cat out to explore their new territory outside the house for at least three weeks. Before you do let them out, sprinkle some of their litter around the perimeter of the garden. This will alert the local cats that there’s a new cat in town and also make the new garden smell familiar to your cat and help it feel at home.
Cats are territorial animals and like a routine. They’re not fans of change and moving home can be unsettling and confusing for them. Hopefully the advice above will help the move go smoothly and your cat will feel at home in their new home in no time at all.