Most cats are not big fans of change. If it were up to them, they would stay where they’re already comfortable and settled in. But, at some point in their lives, most cats must move on to a new location.
It is vital that you make the transition as stress-free as possible for your feline companion as this can have big benefits, including reducing the risk of fear-based house soiling, excessive meowing and crying, hiding, escape attempts and aggression.
When it is time to move out of the old home make sure that you lock your cat in a secure room or cat carrier before the removalist arrives. Cats do not like change or disruption to their household and will often become uneasy when packing commences and may leave home rather than be in the midst of all the confusion.
It is best to lock your cat securely in one room while packing to prevent this. It will also ensure your cat doesn't climb into a packing box, crate or even shipping container for a sleep and get sent off with the household goods!
Try to keep your cat’s daily routine as stable as possible. Stick closely to his regular schedule for feeding, play and attention. A feeder with a timer can be helpful to make sure your cat eats at the same time each day.
2. The move
To prevent your cat from dashing out the door while movers are going in and out, close him in a bathroom with food, water, a bed and litter box. You could even place a sign on the door asking the movers to keep the door shut.
Feed your cat a very small breakfast on moving day to reduce stomach upset.
Transport your cat to your new home in a secure cat carrier. Cats can become frightened by a car journey and may attempt to escape. Only open the carrier in a secure area and when absolutely necessary.
3. Settling into the new house
The first thing to do upon arriving at your new house is to cat-proof it. This means tucking away away any electrical cords, plugging up nooks where a cat could get stuck, making sure that all windows have secure screens, removing any poisonous houseplants and confirming that no pest-control traps have been left anywhere around the house.
Immediately take your cat to a room that will remain relatively quiet. Before opening the carrier, set up your cat’s food and water dishes, litter box and bed. Place some cat treats around the room to encourage your cat to explore.
Choose a room which you can dedicate to your cat for a few days. This will become their room until things settle down. Place their litter tray, food and water bowls and a sleeping bed or basket here.
When the flurry of unpacking is over, gradually give your cat access to the rest of the house, one room at a time. If it’s not possible to close doors to limit his access, closely supervise your cat during short exploration sessions.