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Checklist: Moving Home with Cats

Posted on 18th February 2019 by Green Lane Farm Team

As any pet owner knows, your home isn’t only special to you, it’s special to your pets as well. Most animals become very attached to their environment and that’s certainly no exception when it comes to cats. Cats have multiple favourite sleeping places in the house, so when you move, it can be quite traumatic for them. That said, there are ways to make the whole experience just that little bit easier for your furry pals.

Before the move

First, make sure that the new home is suitable for your pet and that you have taken the necessary precautions before the move. Below are some questions you will want to consider:

  • Do your prospective neighbours have animals?
  • Is there a reliable veterinary surgery nearby?
  • Are there roads or railway lines that might cause problems?
  • Is your cat up-to-date with all their vaccinations?
  • Is your cat’s ID collar or microchip up-to-date?

Turning to a cattery

If you believe moving home will be too stressful for your cat, you might want to do some research to find out whether there’s a reputable cattery within your local area. Popping a nervous or skittish cat in a safe and secure cattery will be a much nicer experience for them, as pets can feel anxious when they see change and unfamiliar faces (removal men) walking throughout their home. Keep your cat calm and out of the way by removing them from the hustle and bustle of a move and ease them into their new home when you have the time to give them all of your attention.

Benefits of turning to a cattery

Many families consider their local cattery as the holiday home for their cat and this is because their cat are in safe and caring hands. There are multiple benefits for using a cattery and these include:

  • Qualified vets on hand
  • Around the clock attention
  • Professional care (your cat will be fed their favourite food, have a fresh supply of water and will be kept entertained to ensure they’re stimulated each day, through lots of fun play)
  • Comforted by the presence of other cats (they will be safe in their own run with their own privacy pod but should they wish to be social, they can come out to make new friends)

Keeping your cat with you on moving day

If you decide to keep the cat with you during the move, there are small things you can do in advance of the moving date to ease the transition:

  • Chat to your vet about the possibility of sedation, if your pet is extremely nervous.
  • Let your cat get used to their travel carrier and give them treats when they use it.
  • Introduce your cat to a harness. Put it on them every now and then before you move. You will want to use their harness and lead when introducing them to their new garden. Do this every time they go outside for a couple of weeks, to ensure they get used to their new home and don’t run away. Avoid the myth of putting butter on your cat’s paws, it does not help them adjust to their environment.
  • Begin packing as early as possible, to keep the chaos on the day to a minimum.

Whilst you load the van

If you have chosen to keep your pet with you on the day of your move, it’s important to ensure you have prepared a room for them to stay in, in advance. Having a safe place for your cat to relax away from the hustle and bustle during the removals process will avoid the possibility of them slipping out of the house or being accidentally hurt. Sort them a room that includes:

  • Bed – don’t wash their bed, keep it as it is, for maximum comfort
  • Water and food bowl – give them a light meal at least three hours before travelling
  • Familiar toys – to distract them from the sound of people coming and going
  • Litter tray – should they need to go to the toilet, they needn’t hold it in
  • Travel carrier – enclosed spaces help cats to feel safe and you never know, they might sleep in here whilst you prepare for your move
  • Closed doors and windows – stop the escape artists and keep secure in a locked room
  • A suitable temperature – keep the room a comfortable temperature, so they feel cosy
  • ‘Do not disturb sign on door’ – to let people know that your cat is in there and they are to be left alone

Only when you are completely ready to set off should you put your cat in their carry case. This will keep stress to a minimum and make their journey from their old house to their new house a quick and simple process.

During the journey

  • Make sure that the carrier is secured within the car – either wedge them in the foot well or use a seatbelt to keep them fixed in place
  • Bring a bowl and a bottle of water – offer the cat a drink if the journey is a long one
  • Spray the carrier with a feline pheromone spray – about half an hour before travelling – these scents help to relax your cat and feel safe
  • Put the radio on low and talk – if your pet can hear your voice, it’s likely they will feel more relaxed as they know you’re nearby

After the move

On arrival, put your cat straight into a quiet room where they can stay during the unloading period; place the same home-comforts in with him as you did in the first room. It may take a while before your cat feels secure in their new surroundings and you should check on them to reassure them that everything is OK.

  • Use a cat pheromone spray or plug-in – these devices replicate the pheromones that cat’s leave behind, as reminders that a place is safe
  • Take your cat outside on a harness with a lead – walking your cat around unfamiliar grounds on a lead will comfort them
  • Spread some of his litter in the garden – your cat will be able to smell their own scent, which will make them get used to their surroundings quicker and help them to feel safe)
  • Update your pet’s microchip – even though your cat will be inside for the first few weeks in your new home, it’s important to update their information – should they manage to sneak outside)

After two or three weeks, you can begin to let him out shortly before feeding time, to give him an incentive to return.

Download a PDF version of our checklist here: Download Checklist

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