Moving house with a cat

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Starting life in a new home is exciting, but moving house with a cat isn’t quite so simple. Cats are territorial animals, so the sudden change of environment can be stressful for your pet unless you manage the move carefully. Here are some tips for how to move house with a cat while keeping your furry friend happy. 

Plan wisely before moving with cats

Your cat may sense that change is afoot even before you get the keys to your new house. As you empty your old property, all those unfamiliar people, cardboard boxes and stripped-bare rooms could cause anxiety for your cat as their environment changes. For this reason, when moving house with a cat you might want to consider booking them into a cattery. This way, you can spare your moggy all the disruption at your old home as you pack away your belongings. The advantage of using a reputable cattery is that your pet will receive care and attention from trained staff in comfortable surroundings. Also, introducing a cat to a boarding facility at a young age teaches them to easily adjust to new environments, which could come in useful if you use a cattery in the future. 

Alternatively, if you decide on moving home with a cat the same day you leave your old house, you’ll need to make the right preparations. For a gradual transition, you could select a quiet room where you put the cat’s litter, food, water and toys until the last minute on moving day. You will know your pet’s personality better than anyone, and if they’re not especially prone to anxiety then moving your cat to a new home should be manageable. Whichever option you take, you should ensure your cat’s vaccinations and microchip details are up-to-date given they’ll be entering a new neighbourhood with different health risks. 

Leaving day: how to move house with a cat

If you’ve decided to keep your cat in your old home until the day you move, here are some dos and don’ts. 

  • Do create a safe haven. Cats appreciate familiarity, so you should put your kitty’s food, litter and essentials in one room while they get used to their new surroundings. You could even create hiding places – such as empty boxes or accessible shelves – which will help your cat establish a sense of security.
  • Do keep your cat inside. You should keep your moggy indoors when moving a cat to a new home. Keep any doors, windows and cat flaps shut so that your pet can adapt to its new territory – this is a key part of settling a cat into a new home.
  • Do reassure your cat using scent. Pheromone products such as sprays, diffusers and wipes can come in handy when moving house with a cat. Your cat has a strong sense of smell, and pheromones will help your pet orientate itself in the new home. Your local vet may be able to advise on which pheromone products to try.
  • Don’t rush. Your cat could be anxious in their new surroundings, so it’s worth introducing them slowly to each room rather than the entire house at once. This is especially important when it comes to old cats moving house whose memory may not be as good.
  • Don’t create disturbances. If possible, it’s a good idea to delay any decorations or renovations for the first few days when moving house with a cat. Continued disruption in your home will cause your cat to feel unsettled while they adjust to the new surroundings.
  • Don’t ignore your cat. Of course, you’ll have a busy agenda with your big move, but don’t forget to give your cat plenty of attention and playtime to relieve any stress. 

What to do after moving house with a cat

Settling a cat into a new home takes time, but there are lots of ways you can ensure your kitty remains happy and relaxed in its new home. You should keep your cat indoors for at least three weeks, as scent is very important to cats in terms of establishing territory and finding their way around a new location. Even if you’re moving house with an outdoor cat, you should wait until the right moment before unlocking the cat flap. When you do eventually let your cat outside, you might want to let them explore just before mealtime, which will give them a strong incentive to return shortly afterwards. To reassure your cat, consider accompanying them for the first few trips outside; it’s best not to pick them up as they’ll need to learn to explore on their own accord. Gradually, you can reduce the length of time you spend taking the cat outside until they feel confident enough to venture out on their own. 

No one said moving house with a cat was easy, but with careful planning your pet will eventually love your new home just as much as you do.

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