If the idea of moving to a new location makes your head spin, your cat has to hate it to death. Cats are territorial creatures. They are able to establish bonds with their surroundings, bonds that may be hard to break. That means in the cat’s mind, that lounge, bedroom and all, well, it’s his and he has allowed you to say out of his endless kindness.
Moving willingly with a smile on its feline face is out of the question. But, there are things you can do (must do if you are of the animal rights variety) to make the move more friendly on your cat’s soul.
A stress-free move for your cat will involve three stages, all of which have to be well done: pre-move, the move itself, and the post move stage.
1. Preparatory Steps
Familiarise it With the Carrier
Your cat will be in a carrier when in transit. Buy a comfortable one with ample space for the cat not to feel constrained. But a good carrier won’t reduce the cat’s stress in the slightest. To achieve that, the cat should get familiar with the box before the move. Put the carrier out with its door open where your pet can easily get to it. Randomly leave some cat treats to lure it into the box without any coercion. After a few days, up the ante and let the cat east solely from the carrier.
Your cat may be so untrusting of the carrier that it shuns venturing inside even with all the treats. In this case, you first have to hide your devious intentions and start by first putting the food close to the carrier before putting it inside. Later, you can put the food at the entrance before pushing the dish right at the back as the days progress.
Get it Used to The Presence of Boxes
One of the ways your cat’s environment will change, apart from the apparent chaos and two or three strange guys is the presence of the moving boxes. These can potentially throw the stress level of your cat through the roof. To prevent this, introduce the cat to the boxes by putting them out where they can see them before packing. Let it eat close to the boxes until it is okay with such a sight.
Keep the Cat in One Room during the Packing if it is Still Scared
But sometimes, the cat may still find the whole packing business stressful even after all your efforts. In this case, you will have no choice apart from keeping it in a closed room, away from all the commotion. You will need to make sure the cat has all its cat essentials in this room.
Maintain the Cat’s Routine
During the moving period, which your cat will find most turbulent, try to maintain its daily routine. That means feeding it at the usual times, giving it the same type and amount of food, and giving it the same amount of play time and attention as always. Don’t forget the grooming. Clean the cat, sticking to the same time table you have accustomed it to.
See Your Vet If Your Cat Seems Too Anxious
Your cat may still find everything so overwhelming. If its anxiety levels seem uncontrollable, it might be time to use a little pharmaceutical help. Visit your vet and let them subscribe the best cat anti-anxiety concoction there is.
2. On The Moving Day
Keep the Cat in One Room
On the moving day, there will be new faces hurrying in and out of your house carrying brown boxes. This may scare the claws off your cat and send it dashing out the next opening. To avoid this, simply keep it in a room that won’t require the mover’s intrusion, like the bathroom. Be sure to leave it food and water in there. It would be a good idea to check on it randomly.
Feed it a Small Meal
Feed the cat. But make sure it is less than its usual ration to prevent it from getting an upset stomach. Anxiety and a loaded stomach are not the best combination.
Don’t Open the Carrier
While on the move to your new house, you may get a seemingly harmless urge to open the carrier and soothe the anxious cat. Don’t. Your cat is scared and to him, an escape might make the difference between life and death. There is a great chance of him jumping out. Keep the door closed and should you find it absolutely necessary to open it, do it cautiously.
3. In the New House
Make the House Cat-Friendly
You will need to make sure the house is as cat-friendly as possible. Take care of all naked electrical wires, check the window screens to make sure they are intact, and ensure that there are no poisons in the house, whether left accidentally or as pest control.
Select One Room for the Cat
Upon arrival, take your cat to a pre-set room where it will remain during all the unpacking and furniture arrangement. Make sure this room has food, water, a bed, and a litter box. To make the cat fall in love with the room faster, there is no better way than leaving treats in random places.
You will need to keep the cat in this room for a week or so. It will be his little sanctuary in this big unfamiliar world that is your house. In this way, your cat will be introduced to the new environment at his own pace, and out of his own curiosity.
Spend Time with It
Spend as much time as possible with the cat to give him the idea that everything is alright. You can first start with simply spending some time in the room, perhaps reading or playing games. Later on you can engage in direct interaction with the cat, playing.
Slowly Introduce the Cat to Other Parts of the House
Once you have done the unpacking and the dust starts to settle, allow your cat to access new parts of the house. Make sure you are there as it ventures into what to it is uncharted territory.
If you are not patient and attentive, your cat may exhibit some anxiety-induced behaviour like pointless meowing and crying, loss of appetite, and hiding. It may also try to escape which would result in you losing your cat, and moving around with ‘lost cat’ posters.