How To Prepare Your Cat for the Big Move

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There are many complexities to moving your residence. Some are in your plan from the start and others may require a bit more planning. Pets are a part of the family and can often become disrupted and even at risk of injury or getting lost during the chaos. Here is what we have learned from some pet experts on how to make sure your fur baby makes the transition safely and settles in happily.

Unless your cat lives “outside the box” compared to other cats, it probably doesn’t like change very much. The routine recommended for introducing a new cat to your home for the first time involves isolating the feline in one location at first, then introducing other parts of the home so it can get comfortable, gradually. After years of comfort in the current location, asking your cat to move will be a shock to the system.  It may  take love, patience, finesse, and planning on your part to help your cat through the transition.

To help reduce your cat’s stress for you upcoming move, you can follow these steps provided by experts. These steps apply differently to each of three phases: 1) Before the move; 2) During the move; 3) After the move.

1) Before the Move  

  • Carrier Comfort

    On the day of the move, your cat will be spending a lot of time in its carrier. To prepare for this, the cat should spend more time than usual in its carrier. If you normally store it away from the general living area, bring the carrier into the house and leave the carrier door open to encourage easy entry and exit. Put favorite toys, treats and snacks into the carrier. Once or twice a day, preferably at normal rest times, put the cat into the carrier with a treat and with the door closed. This will be important on the day of the move.

  • Moving Box Madness!
  • Cats do love boxes so leave an empty moving box around its carrier for it to play with. As your house fills up with packed boxes, your cat’s empty box will make the presence of other boxes seem more normal. You can spray the special box with some catnip spray to make it more inviting.
  • Respect Their Routine
  • Before moving day, make their lives as normal as possible (other than the reintroduction of their carrier and the moving boxes) by keeping their mealtimes, snuggle times and play times business as usual. If you keep them on their routine as much as possible, their pre-move stress can be kept to a minimum.
  • Reach Out To Your Vet
  • If your cat is inclined to stress or is typically anxious, your family vet may be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to help make things a little easier on your kitty, especially on the big day. You’ll need to reach out BEFORE moving day to secure any prescription or to put any other more natural suggestions from the vet in place. The day of the move is too late!

2) Moving Day 

  • Contain Your Kitty!

This one can’t be helped. The day of the move your cat needs to be kept either in its crate or in one room (even the bathroom). With people moving in and out and the doors open, it would be very easy for your cat to bolt out the door. That can put your pet at risk, and it will for sure make a very stressful day even worse for you! It’s just one day. Keep your cat safe. Once the truck is loaded and it’s time for the move, your cat will have to be put in its carrier and kept their until everything is unloaded, and the doors are closed at your new home.

  • Cat Fast Fever?

While you shouldn’t put your cat on an actual fast on the day of the big move as cats often express anxiety through stomach issues. By limiting their food before the move is finished, you can limit their stomach discomfort as well as any bowel or vomiting problems. Wait for any big meals until after the move is complete. A big meal or special treats might also be seen by your kitty as a reward for arriving at the new home.

3) Settling Into Your New Home 

  • Go To Your Room!

While this move will be easier than when you first brought your cat into his original home, it is a good idea to select a room for your cat to start out in the new place. This room should have its litter box in place and should be where meals are brought. This routine will help your cat settle in and get comfortable. Because you and your family are outside of the room, your cat will get curious and let you know when it is ready to explore the new space, which is your cat’s new home as well.

While it is rare, some cats don’t adjust their old routines easily to their new environment. To assist with the transition, try to reintroduce the cat’s old routine into the new home as quickly as possible. It is likely that just being with you and your family will help them get acclimated and happy. If not, reach out to your vet for solutions that might make things easier for your feline to adjust.

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