Moving with cats? In recognition of Happy Cat Month, Chipman Relocations is pleased to offer tips on how to move with a cat and keep him or her happy and healthy throughout the process.
Cats are territorial animals. They like order and familiarity, and could become seriously stressed when experiencing the many changes brought about by moving to a new home. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the stress of a move could cause your cats to cry and meow excessively and/or become aggressive. Your cat might stay hidden from sight, and you might see or smell signs of house soiling. However, you can take steps before, during and after the move to help minimize the stress your cat feels and avoid these negative behaviors.
Before the Move
You will likely transport your cat in a carrier during the move. A carrier can also serve as a safe and familiar place for your cat throughout the moving process, helping to ease the stress your cat feels.
If your cat is not comfortable with the carrier, allow him or her ample time to get used to it before moving day. Put a familiar blanket or cushion in it, keep the door open, and begin feeding your cat in the carrier. Keep to the daily feeding schedule as much as possible.
The ASPCA recommends you put out moving boxes a couple of weeks before packing so your cat can become familiar with their presence. If you think your cat may try to hide in the boxes, ASPCA says it is a good idea to confine him or her.
If your cat tends to be neurotic or easily stressed, talk to your veterinarian about using an anti-anxiety medication. Natural solutions can be purchased in pet stores and online.
During the Move
Consider moving your cat’s carrier and litter box to a quiet, closed room during the move. The commotion of packing as well as that of unfamiliar movers carrying boxes and furniture out can cause your cat to feel extreme anxiety. Placing the cat in a quiet room helps lessen the emotional turmoil experienced. It also helps prevent your cat from darting outside without you knowing about it. You certainly don’t want to spend hours searching the neighborhood for your cat when you are ready to leave the house for the last time.
Feed your cat a small meal before transport to prevent upsetting his or her stomach. If transporting your cat in a vehicle, be careful when opening the carrier and only do so in a controlled area. If moving long distance, you can find pet-friendly hotels across the U.S. by searching Petswelcome.com. Also read about moving pets state to state here to be sure you follow regulations.
Moving Cats into a New Home
After arriving at your new home, cat proof it by checking for any hazards such as poisonous plants, places your cat could become stuck in, or loose screens he or she could escape through. Place your cat’s carrier, litter box, food and water in a quiet room where the cat will feel safe and can start to feel settled. Keep your cat confined to this room for at least a few days. When you have completed unpacking and the home is settled you can begin to allow your cat to explore the rest of the house. If possible, limit access to one room at a time. Supervise your cat’s initial explorations to help ensure he or she doesn’t find any hazards you missed.
When moving with cats, if you understand how traumatic it can be for them and follow tips about how to move with a cat and keep stress to a minimum, your feline friends – and your family – can have a much happier moving experience.