What to consider when moving with a cat
While a dog may be Man’s Best Friend, there are actually more pet cats in the United States. And while Crazy Cat Ladies may skew the numbers, there are over 10 million more pet cats than dogs. With so many cats and so many cat owners, there’s bound to be a time where a furry feline must prepare for a move to a new home.
As frazzled as you may be while making preparations for the move, your cat may be even more bothered. Simply put – cats do not like change. Like many of us, they prefer the known over the unknown. But there are steps you can take during the process to calm their nerves, if even a little bit.
Before The Move
In most cases, there is plenty of time to prepare. In the weeks before your move, start preparing your cat for spending time in a crate. Chances are the cat has been in a carrier, for trips to the vet for example. But if you’re moving a few hours away, making the carrier as familiar as possible is key.
This can include leaving treats or feeding the cat in the carrier in the weeks leading up to the move. If the cat is hesitant to eat in the carrier, leave the dish just outside the door. Bit by bit, move the dish further into the carrier until it’s all the way in the back. It will take a while, but the more time the cat spends in the carrier the better trip it will be.
If you’re leaving for another town, research some vets in your new area and have one ready to go when you arrive. Make sure any and all records of the cat have been transferred as well. Chances are, the trip will go smoothly. But if there are issues, it’s better to have vet phone numbers ready to go instead of frantically looking for one when there is a problem.
Finally, when the moving boxes are being loaded and people are coming in and out of the house or apartment, your cat could get the urge to escape. We suggest emptying one room out complete and then putting the cat and the carrier in that room. Your pet will have a safe space and won’t be underfoot.
During The Move
If you have a monster drive ahead of you, it’s important to keep the cat as comfortable as possible. Talk to you vet about anti-anxiety medicine you can give the cat before loading it up. When moving day arrives, make sure the carrier is secure and filled with comfortable items, such as a favorite toy.
Make sure there is food and water available for the cat, too. Unfortunately, most cats can’t be put on a leash for a potty break like you would with a dog. So be prepared for a thorough cleaning when you get to your destination. As an added bit of caution, consider having some duct tape on hand in case the carrier needs some emergency fixing.
Perhaps the hardest part of the trip will be keeping the cat in the carrier during the ride. The urge to grab your little fur baby for just a little bit of love will be very strong. But when the carrier door opens, the cat could bolt looking for a way to escape the car.
An unsecured cat in a moving car can be disturbing for everyone, so don’t open the carrier until you can do so in a safe, secure place.
After The Move
Once at your destination, find a room that will be left alone during the unpacking. Clean out the carrier and make sure the water and food dishes are replenished. It may take some time, but ensure that your cat is unable to destress.
This will be the room the cat will spend its time for the first several days after the move. This will keep the cat calm while the flurry of unpacking and putting stuff away is happening in the rest of the home. Just like when moving out, it can be difficult to take care of business with a frantic feline running around.
Make sure to spend time with your cat in this room in the following days. Maybe bring in a sofa and tv so the two of you can hang out together. After a week, you can start introducing the cat to the rest of the home, one room at a time. Have a treat or toy waiting while it investigates each new area.
Soon, the cat will be comfortable and ready to resume life looking for sunbeams to nap in. No matter what kind of pet you have, you should take special care when moving. As stressful as it is for you to move, it can be even harder on your pets.
By taking the time to make sure your cat is comfortable before, during, and after the move, both of you will enjoy starting this new adventure. To take even more stress out of your life, consider calling on Smooth Move People. We’ll pack everything up and unload it at your new home. That way you can spend even more time with your little family member.
(As a final bit of trivia about pets in the U.S., we mentioned above there are more pet cats than dogs. But both Mittens and Fido rank well behind the most popular pet: freshwater fish. In fact, depending on the report, there are more pet freshwater fish than cats and dogs combined!)