Moving house is one of the most stressful situations people can go through, so just imagine how hard it can be for your cat. Territorial by nature, the cat marks her environment by rubbing her scent over objects in her home. This scenting lets other cats know that it is her territory and defines your cat’s boundaries.
At the old house
The first thing to remember is that cats can be upset by anything that is out of place in their environment. Packing boxes and moving furniture can confuse and frighten the cat. When packing, leave one room until last, for the cat to feel at home in. Tell the removalists there is a cat locked in the room so they know not to open the door. To be extra sure, stick a note on the door.
Better still, using a boarding cattery for a few days while you pack up and move to the new home can be a better option. This gives you the chance to move and then unpack in the new house.
Transporting your cat
Lock your cat safely in a cat carrier and wrap a seat belt around it during transit. If your cat is an especially nervous traveller, it may be worth speaking to your vet before your move about the possibility of giving your cat a mild sedative. Alternatively, you could ask your vet about Rescue Remedy.
At the new house
Confine your cat to one room until unpacking is completed. Make sure there is fresh food, water, a litter tray and your cat’s favourite blanket or bed in the room, and ensure the windows are locked to prevent accidental escapes. If you have more than one cat, they should be placed in a room together so they can comfort each other. You may want to leave a closet door open or the cat carrier in the room so she can have a place to hide. This will help your cat feel less threatened. Don’t let your cat out of the room until the removalists have finished and left.
Unless your cat is exceptionally mellow, it will take some time while until she feels comfortable enough to venture out into other rooms of her new home. Talk to your cat and pet her often during this time of adjustment. Try to stick to as much of a routine as you possibly can. Leave food and water close by, although she may not want to eat or drink anything for the first day.
As a safety measure, before you move, make sure your cat has appropriate identification. This can be a permanent microchip or a collar with your home or mobile phone number on it. Notify the microchip registrar of your new address and phone number.
Exploring the new home
Eventually, your cat will want to explore his new environment. Let him do this at his leisure. If your cat will be going outdoors at the new home, check first to make sure there are no dogs nearby.
Keep your cat indoors for at least two weeks. Let him really get to know his new home before letting him explore outside. Check with your local council in regards to their laws as many councils in Australia now have cat curfews.
A little forethought and planning can make a big difference in how easily your cat will adjust to her new home.