How to move home with a happy cat – our weekly Vetsavers column

Reassure your cat with plenty of attention.
Reassure your cat with plenty of attention.
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Cats are creatures of habit and thrive in a consistent and familiar atmosphere. Moving house can be very stressful for cats once they are taken out of their comfort zone.

Prepare ahead of time to make moving house with your cat go as smoothly as possible.

If you have a very nervous cat and your move entails a long car journey, you may wish to discuss with your vet whether or not it would be advisable to give your cat a ‘relaxer’ before the journey. There are many natural products available that can help relax your cat.

When travelling by car, your cat needs to be contained in a cat carrier which can be secured by a seatbelt. Make the carrier comfortable and include a favourite blanket or toy with a familiar smell.

If you are moving a relatively short distance to your new home and are making several journeys back and forth leave your cat until the last trip to bring it over to your new house. Your cat may be disturbed by the activity of furniture being moved out, but at least it is in familiar surroundings. Confine it to one room if possible with a familiar piece of furniture or its own personal bed if it has one.

On your cat’s arrival at the new home try to make sure that any removal people have left and all furniture and packing box transportation is finished. Make sure all doors and windows are securely closed. Remember to block chimneys too. Let him out of his carrier when it is quiet, not when there is still lots of activity associated with moving and unpacking going on. Make sure there are familiar things around him. Your furniture will have smells he will associate with home. Let him explore by himself and don’t force him to do anything.

Some cats take to moving without too much concern while others are very stressed and may hide under a bed for days. If your cat refuses to come out of a room or is hiding under a bed supply him with a litter tray and food and water in that room. Put a favourite blanket, toy or piece of furniture in the room to reassure him.

Reassure your cat frequently by giving him plenty of attention. Lots of love and cuddles go a long way.

Sometimes your cat won’t want to eat. Don’t worry, he will eat when he is ready. Always have food and water available in familiar bowls. If your cat usually sleeps with you encourage him to do this in your new house. He will feel secure at night cuddled up with you in a bed he knows and with people he loves.

Don’t forget to notify the microchip register of your new address and phone number. Do this a couple of weeks before you move and let them know your moving date. Ring the vet who implanted the microchip if you are unsure of who to contact. Usually you have notify the registration people in writing so make sure you organise things well in advance of your move.

Your cat may not usually wear a collar but it would be advisable before your move to get him used to wearing one. When you move attach an ID disk with a phone number. He should get used to wearing a collar BEFORE you move as putting a collar on after the move may add to his stress.