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Any good cat owner will tell you that doing anything with a cat is a challenge. Especially if that thing involves a big change. Cats don’t love change and can struggle with the process of moving because of this.
The way that your cat adapts can depend on its age and its personality. Younger cats usually adapt within hours while older cats can take weeks. If you’ve moved around a lot, they will adapt easier as well.
Pre-Move Tips For Moving With Cats
In order to make a move less stressful for everyone involved, including your cat, it is important to prepare properly. This is true for moving in general, so packing tips can help you which can help your cat.
Practice With The Carrier
If you plan on using a carrier on moving day, which is recommended, then make sure you practice beforehand. Take it slow and entice your cat with treats or favorite toys. You want them to want to get in the carrier when moving day arrives.
It’s a good idea to have your cat used to a carrier anyway. This can make going to the vet easier as many vets require cats to be put in carriers. This is very normal and humane, as it keeps everyone as safe as possible.
Leave Them With Friends
Another way to prepare your cat is to leave them with trusted friends. This can get them accustomed to new surroundings like a new house. It can also be helpful if you plan on leaving them with friends on moving day.
It’s important for your cat to be accustomed to “strangers” that you trust. They need to rely on you to tell them who is okay and who isn’t. If you have friends you’ve already conditioned your cat to, consider using them.
Play With Boxes
You are going to have a lot of boxes around fairly soon. It is a known fact that once cats get used to them, they love boxes. So get some out before moving day to get them comfortable and then on moving day, they will be more than excited to see so many favorite toys.
This should be easy as most cast love boxes and will be distracted by one all day. But even if they never adapt to the idea of playing with them, you can at least get them used to the towers of boxes that will be around.
Consider Anti-Anxiety Treatment
If your cat struggles with anxiety or stress, talk to your vet about getting them on temporary anxiety treatment. They can take supplements on moving day and even a few days after to make the transition easier on them.
Not all anti-anxiety medicine is a sedative. There are many options that your vet can explain to you. Some natural, some not. Some that aren’t even medications at all. Just talk about options before committing.
Moving Day Tips For Cats
It’s finally time for the big move. You’ve done everything you can to make it easier on your furbaby. But that day can be traumatizing if you don’t do it right, no matter how much time you’ve had to prepare.
Have A Small Breakfast
Not you, but your cat. You don’t want them to be hungry, but you also don’t want them to have stomach issues. If you keep their meals light on moving day, you can avoid upset tummies and vomiting.
If your cat acts hungry after a couple of hours, dry treats can keep them satisfied while still setting well with them. Keep a few on-hand. Also, don’t let them drink too much water all at once or that may upset them as well.
They don’t need to go away from the house, but it will be safer for them to be in their carrier or in a room with a gate. If they are running about, they may get stepped on or frightened by the movers. Keep them safe and secure.
This is a great time to introduce that box again. If they liked playing with the box before, it can be quite useful at this time when they need all the distraction and positive interactions they can find on this stressful day.
Stick Closely To Normal Routine
If you usually feed them at 9 am, then do it on moving day. If you let them out to play at 2 pm, then do it moving day if you can. You can make exceptions, but small things can make a big difference in keeping your cat feeling normal.
You don’t have to stick to a strict schedule, but keeping things as normal as possible can help them adapt better. Do this after you move for a while too. A new space doesn’t have to mean a new routine.
Settling In With Cats
Just because you’ve moved in and all the hard work is done for you, doesn’t mean that it’s over for your cat. It can take cats weeks to adjust if they are particularly old or nervous cat. Keep things easy for them with these tips.
Keep Things Simple
Try not to overcomplicate things and overwhelm your cat. Keep things as simple as possible after you move in. Introduce things slowly, even closing doors to make the house seem smaller. This can help your cat not get overwhelmed.
Unlike dogs, cats aren’t held back by smaller spaces. For this reason, they are often chosen over dogs for people living in apartments. Cats make great roomies in small houses too, so keep it small at first and slowly expand.
Associate With Their Favorite Things
If it helps, you can keep your cat’s favorite things up a few days before moving day. This won’t harm them as they are comfortable at home. Then, after you settle on, reintroduce these things so that they can feel at home again.
Showing them their favorite toys and such can not only provide a distraction but show them that yes, this is their home. Keep their bed close to yours and don’t change their bed right away, even if you want to.
If the house is brand new, this isn’t as necessary. But if the house has been lived in before, deep cleaning is important. Animals can smell the previous inhabitants, including their pets. So clean even better than you normally would.
Everyone cleans their house when they move in, but for cats, it’s more about smells than looks or actual cleanliness. They don’t care if the dishes are done, they care if this home smells like their old home.
Have A Bathroom Ready
Make sure you use the same kitty litter and a litter box for your cat in your new home. Show them where it is immediately. Do the same for their water and food bowl. They need to know that this is their home and they know where they can find the necessities.
Imagine moving to a new house and not knowing where the bathroom or kitchen is. For a cat, the house is larger than it is for you, so this feeling is even more intense for them. Make sure they know their way around.
Moving With Cats Vs. Moving With Dogs
If you’ve moved with a dog before and are wondering if it is different than moving with cats, the short answer is, “yes.” Some things remain the same but there are a lot of things that are different with dogs than with cats.
One of the biggest differences between cats and dogs is the amount of independence they usually have. When you move with a dog, you need to hold their hand. You are their security. But with cats, it can be different.
Cats can have separation anxiety, just not as often as dogs. Some cats don’t have any separation anxiety at all. While it may feel good when your cat needs you, it isn’t healthy to let them have this anxiety. So try to help them through it.
Dogs rely on tricks and distraction to get them through changes. Cats can’t be tricked as easily nor do they learn tricks as dogs do. Dogs can be distracted while cats need you to be more upfront about what is going on.
If you’re moving with dogs, you can take them out for a walk in the new yard and they will have a blast. But cats would prefer never to venture out. This is a plus in some ways but can be a hassle in other ways.
Cats are much easier to retrain than dogs. They adapt to new homes and litter boxes better than dogs do to their new mats or outdoor areas. While they love to explore with you, dogs will likely have more new accidents.
Dogs go potty when they are nervous while cats don’t usually. This is great for cats because you can show them their litter box and they will probably use it right away. So make sure you do so for everyone involved.
Because dogs do love to go on adventures with their owners, they will spend hours with something they trust wearing themself out. So this can be the key to moving with them. They can exert all their energy beforehand and crash when they get to their new home.
When they wake up, things will be different but they were too tired to realize before. So, the transition process is more natural. This doesn’t work on cats as cats don’t need as much exercise. Napping can be a distraction though.
Moving with cats doesn’t have to be difficult. You want to make the day go as smoothly as possible for you and for your cat. A little bit of intuition and knowledge can help you accomplish this without a hitch!