If you’re about to move house, you’re probably concerned about settling your cat into a new environment. Here are some handy tips to make the transition for your furry friend stress-free and as safe as possible.
If you’ve owned a cat for long enough, you’ll know they don’t like change. They’re also pretty territorial. Imagine how they’d feel when they find themselves in an unfamiliar environment. Heck, moving is stressful for humans, so you can understand just how unhappy the whole process can make your feline friend.
Unfortunately, stress is fairly unavoidable during a move, but there are a number of things you can do to transition your cat through the process.
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Prepare your cat in advance
You can do your best to avoid your cat getting spooked, but it’s best to make sure you’re prepared in case they do. Proper identification will be useful if someone finds them. So make sure their ID has your mobile number on it. If your cat has not been microchipped, take her to your local veterinarian to have that done. The microchip is a small device implanted just underneath the skin. If someone finds your cat, they can take them to a shelter or the vet and scan them for owner details.
Moving your cat on the day
On the day of your move, put your cat (or cats) into a room that has been cleared. Leave food, water, bedding and a litter tray, together with the cat carrier inside. Consider taping a sign to the door so everyone knows to leave that room alone (including the mover, if you have one!) Your cat will need some time to rest and recover from the car journey while you sort out the rest of your house.
The new home for your cat
To help your cat settle in, keep your cat indoors for at least two weeks to get used to their new environment. You should try to provide small, but frequent meals to keep a routine established. The best thing you can do is maintain routines you adopted in your previous house. This will provide your cat with continuity and security.
When should I let my cat explore the new environment?
When you’re ready to let your cat out to explore the new home, choose a time when you’re going to be at home for a while and let him or her out, just before meal time. Be prepared with additional food and water bowls in their new room. If possible, sit in the room with your cat while they explore. It’s important to remain as calm as possible. This signals to your cat that they’re in a safe environment. Your cat can now explore the rest of the house. Think about doing it one room at a time if they display any signs of anxiety.
Use familiar scents
It’s worth taking extra care for your permanently indoor cat because a new environment has the potential to upset them. It may take indoor cats longer to adapt to their new surrounds. Having old familiar furniture will help. You could also think about purchasing a feline pheromone diffuser and spraying it in key rooms or along furniture to keep them calm.
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Should my cat go outdoors?
In general, you should keep your cat indoors for a few weeks so they can get used to the property. Make sure your cat has some form of identification on them (i.e a collar with an ID tag secured) showing his name, address and contact phone number. When you decide to let your cat outdoors, chase away any cats you see in your garden. Your cat will need all the help they can to establish their territory.
You should introduce your cat to the outdoors gradually, by initially opening the door and going with them into the garden. If your cat has used a harness before, it may be useful to walk them around the garden on a lead. Don’t carry your cat outside – where possible, allow it to decide if and when it wants to explore.