Moving House With Cats
Cats become familiar with their surroundings and are very suspicious when their normal environment changes, so moving house will naturally affect your cat, and can often be a very daunting an unusual experience for your feline friend. This section helps you make the process of moving house with your cat smoother and less disturbing for you and your pet.
Use A Cattery While You Move House
Before, after and during the move, you may wish to use a cattery. This will keep your cat away from the disruption and chaos that moving house normally brings about. This may need some planning. Many cat owners find it easiest to board their cat in a cattery for a number of days, to include the packing, moving and unpacking.
Keeping Your Cat Happy Before Moving House
If you do not use a cattery, there are many things that you can do to shelter you cat from the chaos of moving house. Prior to packing, many pet owners completely empty one room. The cats' toys and bedding can be placed in this room with a cat carrier. Encourage your cat to use this room - their toys and bedding will help them become familiar with these temporary, quiet surroundings. This method will also help them become familiar with the cat carrier prior to travelling. Remember the food and water! In this way, your cat can be separate from the danger and stress of packing! Just remember to keep the door shut on moving day, and ensure your removal van don't open it for your cat to escape! Remember, with the noise and disruption, your cat will probably want to do just that to get away from it all.
Remember to give your cat all of the love and attention you would do normally. This way your cat won't feel left out or alienated during the house moving process. Make sure your cat knows that he or she isn't being left behind!
Ensure you read our section about travelling with your cat during the move to your new house!
Arriving At Your New Home With Your Cat
Once you arrive at your new home, your cat should be top priority. Place your cat in an empty room, with the cat carrier, bedding and toys. This will help your cat as it will still be familiar with all of this. Also remember food and water! You don't want your cat to escape, so keep the door shut. You can then continue to unpack, with your cat separate from the chaos.
Once the removal men have gone, and things have settled down somewhat, you can open the door to the room your cat is in. Your cat may choose not to come out of the carrier, or may choose to hide. This is only natural. Your cat will deal with the change in its' own way, and it may be some time before he/she starts to explore the new house. Remember to keep external doors and windows closed!
Ensure that your cat is not subject to stress as it becomes used to the new surroundings. As your cat will be indoors for some time, ensure they know where the litter tray, food and water are. Reassure your cat and speak soothingly - all of this helps for smooth adaptation to the new environment! Your cat will also be keen to spread their scent, by rubbing their faces against furniture or walls; this is only natural and all goes toward the pet cat feeling comfortable.
Just remember to perform your routine as normal, to ensure your cat is confident that things aren't changing too much. You could even feed your cat smaller portions but more regularly after the move to encourage contact as normal.
Letting Your Cat Explore Outdoors at Your New House
It is advisable to wait three to six weeks before letting your cat outside after moving house. This helps to ensure they are comfortable and safe in their new home. It is a good idea to let your cat outside little by little, and during the day. Many pet owners only do this when their cat is hungry, such that they are inclined to return soon for food!
You may wish to accompany your cat outside to help their confidence to build; letting them a little further away each time. Remember that whatever the circumstances, it is a good idea to ensure your cat has identification or you cat is microchipped.
Tip! If your cat is microchipped, ensure to have your address changed now you have moved house. There may be a small cost involved. The same goes for identification tags - update these straight away.
Your cat may come into contact with others for the first time in their new surroundings. As cats are naturally territorial, there may be some local conflict as a matter of course. You may have to let this happen to an extent, but always ensure you check your cats for wounds or disease if you know they have been fighting. This should calm down quite quickly once your cat has established themselves.
Stop Your Cat Returning To Your Old Home
Many of the above points will help prevent this, but it can still happen, especially if you live near to your old house. This can often happen because the cat is not yet comfortable enough in its' new home. If so, you may have to keep your cat indoors for even longer and repeat the steps above.
If you have ongoing trouble with your cats' behaviour, ensure you consult your vet, who will be able to give you professional advice. They can also point you in the direction of specialist cat behaviour experts.