Moving into a new home involves a lot of planning, preparation, and action. From the stage of packing and boxing to unboxing and arranging, the process can be stressful. Actively engaging with your home, learning how everything works, and prioritising which projects you want to do are all part of embracing your position as a homeowner.
However, you cannot move into a new home without some idea of going about it. You also need to engage in the process and understand what is happening actively. For cats, however, the reality is a lot different.
Like many human beings, cats are creatures that are also adverse to change. They form strong bonds with their environment by rubbing their scents on objects. Some cats are highly protective of their space and prefer to remain in their present surroundings. Even the smallest change in routine, like moving their little box, can lead to anxiety and mild depression. Once a cat marks its territory, getting it to leave that place might prove difficult.
If you are moving into a new house and you have plans to take your cat with you, then this article is for you. You want to make the transition from a previous location to a new home as smooth as possible for your cat.
As the moving date approaches, try as much to maintain the normal routine for your cat. This is because you do not want your cat to get frightened at the appearance of boxes or suddenly notice that most things in the house, especially favourite items, are missing.
Moving boxes – if possible, introduce boxes into your home weeks before you begin to pack to reduce tension. When it becomes a regular decor in your home, your cat will see it as normal rather than intrusive. It creates a familiar landscape for your cat, which will serve as a decoy to reduce the number of new stressors on the day of the move.
Safe space – creating a safe space for your cat is also essential. As you move items and belongings from the rooms, leave an area untouched. It could be a room or a corner where your cat likes to stay. Place your cat’s beddings, litter box, enough food and water there. If possible, turn on the TV, radio, or some other source of entertainment that your cat is familiar with.
The reason why this is important is it creates a safe space for your cat when they get scared. When the noise of moving boxes and lifting equipment is loud or foreign faces are going in and out of the house, your cat knows that she can always go to that spot and settle back into the comfort of well-known surroundings.
Pet carrier – cats may be unpredictable, and if permitted to wander around the car, they can represent a menace to everyone. To avoid such scenarios, make use of a reliable pet travel cage with room for air. The cage should be able to keep your cat contained and comfortable.
Cooler weather – Make the move during a period when the weather is cooler, and do not leave your cat alone and unattended in the car. If the move is long-distance, you should have the windows down for fresh air or the air-conditioner to avoid dehydration.
Light meal – Give your cat a light meal. If your cat isn’t used to being in a car for a long time or hasn’t fully adjusted to the moving process, then stress and worry are some of the things you have to deal with. If your cat is feeling stressed, it might present itself in the form of an upset stomach or vomiting. To reduce the chances of having to worry about a sick cat or stopping to clean vomit, it is advised that you cut on the meal ration for that day.
Carriers with plenty of room – note that if your cat is not used to a carrier, she might scratch, bite and rebel. You should introduce your cat to the cage or carrier weeks or months before relocating. The carrier should be twice the width of your cat, more than the normal height, and have enough room for the length of their legs.
At this point, you have successfully gone through the main hurdle. All that is left is easing your cat into its new surroundings. Your goal is to make the adjustment process go as smoothly as possible.
Deep cleaning – before your cat comes into your new house, you should carry out deep cleaning. Deep cleaning in this sense does not refer to making your home neat, tidy, and habitable- although those are also important things. In this sense, it involves getting rid of the smell of other animals that may have lived in the house before you moved in.
Removal all pet odours – cats have an acute sense of smell, and they can detect the faintest whiff of the animal odour. Your cat might not want to remain in a place where another animal that she does not know has laid claim. You need to shampoo, wipe, vacuum, and thoroughly clean every inch to eliminate any leftover fur or smell.
Carrier in cat’s room – when you arrive, put the cage or carrier in the cat’s room. Just like you did before moving, restrict your cat to a single room until unpacking and arranging are done. The room should have beddings, food, water, and a litter box. Leave the carrier open and shut the door behind you. Don’t force, tip, or pull your cat out of the carrier before she is ready. Allow them to come out and explore at their own pace after gently opening the carrier.
Give your cat plenty of time – your cat might come out immediately to seek refuge or inspect the room. If your cat does not come out for the first couple of minutes, it is okay to give them a little more time. Allow them to choose what to do, where to go, and how to do things as they get familiar with their new surroundings.
Keep the cat indoors for a while – although you might want to let your cat go outdoors as soon as you move in, it is a bad idea. Cats have an extraordinary sense of direction and might try to find their way back to the old house, especially if the move was a short distance. It is typically best to wait up to three-four weeks before introducing a new territory.
Supervised outdoor time – allowing the cat out for brief amounts of time while you supervise is a good way to ease her in. After a week or two of supervision, keep in mind that cats should always be kept indoors during night-time for their protection.
Your actions are crucial to their adjustment – in a new home, you are the one constant that your cat can depend on. How you interact with your cat during the first few days or weeks will determine how quickly they adjust to the new environment. Although your cat has a room where their beddings and other necessities are, you should spend some time in the room as well, playing with your cat and engaging in other activities you did back at the old house.
Anxiety will disappear eventually – As time goes on, curiosity will replace fear, and your cat will begin to adjust, ready and eager to explore new areas.
Spread your cat’s scent – spread your cat’s odour throughout the house to create a more grounded sense of security. You can do this by wiping your cat’s face with a soft cloth. Rub the cloth against random surfaces and in different places like the walls, furniture, entrances- at cat height. Do this daily until you notice your cat rubbing against objects.
Permanent home for litter box – when your cat is well adjusted, you should make a permanent home for their litter box. Maintain a litter box in their room or personal corner and keep another in the main area. Allow both boxes to stay for a few weeks, then remove the one in the corner so that the one in the main area becomes the permanent litter box.
Consult a vet if they’re still having trouble – If your cat finds it hard to adjust to the new changes after a few weeks, consult with a veterinarian on alternative methods to make things easier. Be present, alert, and ready to assist your cat in any way that will lessen their stress and worry. Let your cat know that there is nothing to be afraid of, and they will eventually come around and settle in their new surroundings.
Cats, like other animals, can wander off from home. If your cat has not gotten the lay of the area, they might find it hard to return. Taking precaution by getting your cat a collar that has contact details on it should provide information to people around on how to bring them back home to you.
Congratulations on moving from your old house to a new home, and even better, making the process a smooth transition for your cat. Now that you and your cat are all settled in, activities can continue as they did before. Remember to always make use of a professional furniture removalist company, to help reduce your own stress, which will in turn, help to alleviate the stress and anxiety of your pets as well.