Relocating to a new home can be both exciting and stressful. But adding your precious feline to the mix can add an unexpected level of stress. It seems simple enough to pack your cat’s belongings with your own and sit him in your lap on your journey to your new home. However, we often forget about how busy (or chaotic) and overwhelming the moving process can be for a pet. Here are several tips on how to make your move as stress-free as possible for both you and your furry friend.
- Make your cat’s carrier a comfortable temporary home
Most pets are not big fans of cages or carriers. It’s going to be really important for your cat’s comfort and your own sanity for you to get your cat used to being caged during transport.
For at least a week prior to your move, make the carrier seem like a new cosy place or entertainment centre for your furry friend. Place your cat’s favourite food, snacks, or toys into the carrier multiple times a day to help them acclimatise. The goal is for your cat to make regular trips to the carrier and to spend as much time as possible inside without you having to force it. Place the carrier in an easily accessible area, preferably a room where your cat spends a significant amount of time.
- Separate your cat from all the moving commotion
Once you start moving items around and out of your current home, make sure you place your cat in a safe space inside your house to keep him/her out of your way. This will ensure your cat’s safety during your packing and should also reduce some of the stresses that come with the regular responsibilities of owning a cat.
Place your cat’s litter box, plenty of food and water, and even its carrier in the same space. This space should be an enclosable room that will have limited foot traffic during your packing—one that has already been packed or a room that you will pack up later. If you need to pack the room that you choose to place your cat, simply move it to a new safe space.
- Prepare for long travel times
If you’ll be on the road for long periods, make sure you pack the crucial amenities for your little one. Ample food and water in addition to plenty of breathing room can provide a pleasant travel experience for you and your cat. Be sure to make regular stops to allow stretching and a change of scenery.
If you have to fly, your cat will either be with you at your seat or placed within its carrier with the plane’s cargo. Make sure to feed your cat just prior to him/her boarding the plane.
Also, plane trips or long road trips are not good opportunities to test new food products for your cat. Stick to what you know and only feed your cat the foods that you know will not cause an upset stomach during transport.
- Give your cat a low-stress introduction to your new home
The first day at a new home can be a little nerve-racking for both you and your cat. Instead of letting your cat wander around their new (mysterious) place, be deliberate in introducing each room to your cat in small steps.
Bring your cat to each room and consider closing the door to limit access to the rest of the house. After spending at least five minutes in a room, move your cat to the next and repeat the process. Doing this will help keep your cat from feeling overwhelmed in their new environment.
- Consider pet boarding
Although it may not be the cheapest option in helping your cat stay happy during your move, it may be an effective one. If you have a trusted boarder or pet sitter in mind, make a reservation with them as soon as you have a good idea of your moving dates.
The best days to utilise a sitter or boarder are on the days you are moving the bulk of your household items out of your old home and the days you are moving them into your new home. Having a good boarder watch your cat for you during the most physical parts of your move should give you peace of mind.
The key to making sure your cat stays calm and happy during a move is providing a comfortable environment at all phases of the move. Regardless of your cat being in a room in your old or new home, a boarder’s, or in your car, a safe and comfortable environment—as well as a full belly—will allow for a pleasant moving experience for everyone.