Moving house with a cat is bound to be stressful. Cats are known for being skittish in unfamiliar settings, but there are steps you can take to make moving less of an ordeal. If you’re worried your beloved feline might freak out and run away, use these tips to help keep them calm.
Before the Move
Whether you’re relocating across town or moving interstate, planning ahead can help minimise your cat’s stress levels. As cats are intuitive creatures, they may sense that change is afoot long before moving day arrives. Maintain your cat’s routine and reduce their anxiety by packing their bedding, bowls and litter tray last.
If your cat has any medical conditions, consult your vet to find out if the moving process could trigger their health issues. It’s also important to update your cat’s collar with your new address details just in case they try to run away.
During the Move
Worried the chaos of moving could traumatise your cat? Arrange for them to stay somewhere safe until you’re settled in at your new place. Sending your cat on a short holiday with friends, family, or a professional pet sitter means you won’t have to worry about them getting in the way of removalists.
Transporting Your Cat
Make sure you have access to a cat carrier once you’re ready to transport your furry friend to your new place. It’s illegal to let your cat roam around a car unrestrained – it can also increase their stress and put them at risk of motion sickness.
Once your cat is safely tucked inside their carrier, place a towel over the top to help keep them calm. Make sure you’ve got the air-conditioning turned up while you’re on the road, as cats can be sensitive to heat stress.
Settling into Your New House
Cats tend to react to stress by running away, so only let them out once they’re settled in to your new home. Keeping your cat inside a closed room for a few days may help them feel less overwhelmed by their new environment. Your cat’s room should contain:
- Their bed
- Litter tray
- Food and water bowls
- Favourite toys.
If your cat is stressed after the move, being surrounded by their creature comforts will help them feel less anxious.
Letting Your Cat Out After the Move
Cats are very territorial, so be careful with letting them roam around your new house unsupervised. They could start fights with other cats in the neighbourhood, or wander off and get lost. Keep your cat indoors for at least the first few weeks so they don’t run away at the first sign of freedom.
If you’re really nervous about letting your cat out after a move, try walking them around the perimeter of your new property while attached to a harness (leashes aren’t just for dogs!). This will give your cat a chance to get to know their new home without you losing sight of them.
Moving an Older Cat to a New Home
Your cat may find moving especially difficult if they’re getting on in years. Older cats often have hearing and sight problems, so they tend to struggle with unfamiliar flights of stairs and obstacles around the house. To keep your change of address from ruining your cat’s golden years, cordon off areas of your new home they may struggle to navigate.
To reduce the risk of injury even further, consider keeping older cats indoors on a permanent basis. Elderly cats tend to sleep all day and aren’t likely to kick up much of a fuss about staying indoors.