You may find house removals stressful – but just imagine how your cat feels!
Cats are territorial, and they don’t like change. What’s worse, you know that moving day is coming up, but to your cat it’s all going to be a sudden, nasty shock
In fact, I recently heard from a friend of mine who’d done a house move with their cat. The poor moggy got stepped on during the confusion and had to be taken to the vet.
To avoid your cat getting injured, or running off – or just plain getting stressed out during your house removal – follow these 10 simple steps.
- Shut your cat in one room
Put your cat in a familiar room during moving day. A bedroom is often best. Keep the door and windows shut while your movers pack the rest of the house into the van. Make sure you tell the movers to keep that door shut. Put a note on the door as well to cut the risk of anyone opening it and letting the cat escape.
- Keep your cat’s belongings in the room with them
Put your cat’s bed or basket in the room with them. Something they use every day. That way, they’re less likely to feel stressed. Add their litter tray, food and water bowls, and cat carrier. If they have any favourite toys, don’t forget to put them in the room as well.
- Put your cat in their carrier
Once the rest of the house has been packed into the van, now you should go into the room and put your cat in their carrier.
Remember to be careful opening the door. All the noise in the rest of the house could have stressed them out already, and you don’t want them bolting for the garden.
If your cat hesitates about going into the carrier, put a little food in there to lure them in. Once they’re securely inside, place the carrier into your car – along with the rest of their things. If it’s a long journey, make sure to keep the bowls and the litter tray close by, along with some water.
Then you can let the movers into the bedroom to pack it up.
- Keep a car window open for the drive
This is to ensure your car doesn’t get too hot. Just like dogs, your cat needs plenty of air so they don’t feel uncomfortable.
- Take a water break
Most house moves take place over short distances. But if you’re moving more than an hour away, plan for one stop on the way so you can offer your cat some water. Put the bowl in the cat carrier with them rather than risk letting them out.
If the weather is very cold, you can skip this step. But do keep an eye on your cat at intervals during the drive to check that they’re doing ok and not looking stressed.
- Get the movers to unload the bedroom first
When you get to your new house, ask the movers to offload all the bedroom furniture first. Then you can put your cat there with their stuff and keep the door shut – just like you did at your old house, but in reverse. Let your cat out of their carrier and leave a member of the family in the room with them while the movers unpack the rest of your stuff in the rest of the house.
- Keep the cat in the bedroom until you’ve unpacked
If you’re doing the unpacking yourself, it could take a few days for you to get everything sorted. To avoid the risk of any injury or extra stress, it’s best to keep your cat in the bedroom until most of the unpacking is done.
- Let your cat explore the house
Once you’re unpacked, you can let your cat out of the bedroom to sniff out the rest of the house. But it’s best not to let your cat outside until they’ve got used to their new surroundings. So keep the external doors and windows shut. Also keep them away from any rooms with small spaces where they could hide – just to be on the safe side.
- Keep your cat inside for a couple of weeks
This is dependent on your cat and how nervous they seem. Just remember cats don’t always show obvious signs of distress, even when anxious. So if you’re not sure, you’ll want to keep them inside for a couple of weeks to avoid them getting freaked out by too much new and unfamiliar stuff outside.
- If your cat is the super-anxious type, do this…
If your move is pretty local and your cat upsets easily, you’ll probably want to keep them out of the way altogether while the move takes place. Keep them with a trusted family member or friend on moving day, then come back to pick them up once you’ve unpacked your stuff at your new place.
Moving is already stressful. But follow these 10 tips and at least you’ll keep the stress to a minimum for your feline companion. And help them settle in much more easily and quickly.