Moving house is generally a very stressful time for everyone – especially for our feline friends. Dogs don't seem to mind all that much, but the packing, routine changes, and all the strange new smells unfortunately can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for your cat.
During this time, cats can show signs of aggression, house soiling, and excessive meowing or crying. And because cats form definite attachments to places, they often will try to return to their old home if they escape or are let out too soon.
But with our Six Tips for a Stress-Free Move with a Cat, we ensure your move will go as smooth as possible and guarantee your cat will accept their new address in no time.
1. Consider Boarding
A simple way to avoid some of the stress on your cat is to place them in boarding the day before you move, and bring them home when everything is a little more settled. This also stops the risk of your cat escaping and going missing and allows you to set your new home up, before adding your cat back into the mix. Plus, doing so will allow for a much calmer environment to bring your cat home to and become familiar with.
2. Carrier Tips
Whether you're placing your cat in boarding or bringing them with you, they're most liking going to cross paths with their carrier. So if your cat is a little unsure about theirs, bring it out a few days earlier. Many cats will eventually start to explore this strange new space, and may even start sleeping in there (try putting a clean towel inside). When the moving day does come around, make sure their carrier has a nice absorbent towel base – as some cats are known to soil themselves out of fear or stress.
3. Feline Tranquil Formula
Cats see and experience things a lot differently than us. So when we pack, move furniture, and introduce them to a new environment, their whole world changes. Their senses are practically bombarded with new stimuli. This can be a very traumatic time for them, as cats like routine, patterns, and predictability – basically they don’t like change.
In stressful situations like moving, an anxiety relief supplement such as Zylkene is a great option for keeping your cat's anxiety levels down. Zylkene contains a natural product derived from casein, a protein in milk. It is a molecule well known to promote the relaxation of newborns after breastfeeding and helps your pet cope when faced with stressful and unpredictable situations.
Zylkene is palatable and easy to give: simply mix with food or give the whole capsule. It can be given daily and is both preservative and lactose-free.
4. Before the Move
A few weeks before moving house some general things to consider include:
- Make sure your cat is microchipped and wearing a collar with a pet tag that is up to date with correct phone numbers.
- If they are home on a moving day, restrict them to a small and quiet space in the house (laundry, bathroom, or bedroom).
- Try to keep your cat’s routine as similar as possible and don’t forget to schedule some cuddles and playtime at the end of a long day.
- If you’re traveling a far distance by car, consult your vet about any health concerns that could impact your cat’s well-being.
- Avoid feeding them breakfast on the morning of the move as this may contribute to an upset tummy.
5. During the Move
If your cat isn’t placed in boarding during moving some general things to consider include:
- Keep your cat safely enclosed in their carrier until you're in an enclosed room at your new place. And try not to open the carrier to ‘comfort’ them during transit as they may make a quick dash and try to escape.
- Do not leave your cat unattended in a hot car or out in the sun in their carrier. A car can heat to dangerous temperatures within 10 minutes, even on a relatively mild day.
- Unless you're planning on being on the road for more than 12 hours, avoid putting food or water in their carrier.
- For lengthy journeys, ensure the carrier is big enough for a littler tray and has food bowls that ideally can be refilled from the outside, and won’t spill during transport.
6. After the Movie
Once you have moved house some general things to consider include:
- Set your cat up in a small room; the bathroom or laundry are ideal. And let them get use to this one small space where they have food, water, litter, plus some things that smell familiar – basically set it up like a nice cosy home.
- After a few days, let you cat suss out another room, and gradually allow them to explore their new environment.
- Do not let your cat outside for at least 2-4 weeks after a move. And when you do decide to let them out, make sure the initial access is supervised and ideally just let them out into a fenced area. Cats are easily startled and will often dash out into another cat’s or dog’s territory or the road. Some cats have been known to return to their old homes, so the longer you keep them inside, the better.
- Avoid letting your pet outside after dusk and before dawn to not only protect your cat, but the wildlife too.
Overall, you can’t help that your cat is a creature of habit, so moving can be quite stressful for them. We do hope that these tips will help to make the whole process a little easier, and smooth as possible for you and your feline friend.