Moving House with Your Cat
When we speak of moving houses, our conversations typically revolve around logistics, costs, and for the savvy, property investments. We discuss the areas to live in, the return on investment, and the potential growth in property value. Yet, often missing from our discussions is the consideration of our four-legged family members – our cats. They, too, are affected by this transition, arguably more intensely than we are. This guide aims to place emphasis on ensuring our feline companions find the move just as rewarding as we do.
Recognising the Sensitivity of Cats to Change
To truly appreciate the magnitude of moving from a cat’s perspective, it’s essential to dive deep into their psyche. Cats are creatures of routine. They thrive on predictability. They have their favourite corners, they know when the sunbeam will strike their favourite nap spot, and they know exactly which step creaks when they’re on a sneaky midnight prowl.
Now, imagine the rug (quite literally) being pulled out from under their paws. The environment they knew every inch of is suddenly unfamiliar. This is why they react strongly to even minor changes in their surroundings. The sensory overload of a new place can be overwhelming, even if to us, it’s just a few miles down the road. Recognising this sensitivity isn’t just about empathising; it’s the first step towards making their transition smoother.
Preparing for the Move
Cats, like many of us, find solace in routine. The daily rituals of feeding, playing, and grooming provide them with a framework around which their world revolves. In the days leading up to the move, it becomes pivotal to maintain this routine. This constancy acts as an anchor amidst the rising storm of change.
The Concept of Safe Spaces:
Ever noticed how cats often retreat to a quiet corner or hide under furniture when guests arrive or during a thunderstorm? This is their way of seeking refuge from perceived threats. As moving day approaches, dedicate a room in your house as this safe haven. Stock it with their favourite toys, blankets, and some treats. This room will act as their ‘ground zero’ amidst the chaos of packing.
For most cats, a carrier signals a visit to the vet – not their most cherished experience. However, the carrier becomes an indispensable tool during relocation. To transform this from a space of dread to one of safety, start introducing the carrier a few weeks before the move. Leave it open in their favourite spot, add a blanket, and even feed them in it. This way, by moving day, it becomes a familiar, comforting space and not a cage of confinement.
By taking these steps in preparation, you’re not merely ticking boxes off a checklist; you’re laying the foundation for a seamless transition for your beloved pet.
Key Strategies on the Day of Moving
Keep Calm and Stick to Routines:
On the moving day, while the hustle and bustle can be disconcerting, adhering to your cat’s routines is paramount. If your feline friend is used to a cuddle session at 10 am, ensure you stick to it. The regular feeding times? Don’t push it. These seemingly small routines are the bedrock of your cat’s day and keeping them consistent offers a sense of normality amidst the chaos.
Safety First During Transit:
We can’t emphasise enough the importance of ensuring your cat’s safety while in transit. No matter how short the journey, never leave your cat unattended in a vehicle. Extreme temperatures inside parked cars can cause distress or even be fatal. And always have water at hand. It might be an obvious point, but it’s one that can be easily overlooked in the hustle of the move.
Designate a New Safe Space Quickly:
Once you arrive at your new home, before you even think about unpacking those boxes, set up a safe room for your feline. This room should mirror the one you set up at your old place. Familiar toys, their favourite blanket, some food, and water – all of this will help bridge the gap between the old and the new.
Introducing Your Cat to Their New Home
The Power of Scent:
Cats live in a world of scents. A world where every corner, every piece of furniture has its unique aroma that tells a story. One powerful strategy when introducing your cat to a new home is to use pheromone diffusers. These mimic comforting cat scents, making unfamiliar spaces feel more like home.
Take it Slow:
Every cat has its own tempo when it comes to exploration. Some might be keen adventurers, while others more reserved. It’s crucial to let them take the reins. If your cat decides to hide under the bed for the first few days, let them. They’re not being stubborn; they’re processing the change in their own unique way.
If your cat is used to the great outdoors, resist the urge to let them out immediately. The new sounds, scents, and potential threats need to be introduced gradually. Start by letting them out for short, supervised sessions, extending the duration over time.
As the boxes are unpacked and you settle into your new home, it’s essential to understand that for your cat, the transition is ongoing. Moving isn’t just about relocating items from one place to another; it’s about ensuring every family member, including our feline ones, feels comfortable, safe, and at home in the new environment.
Remember, it’s not the walls, the floors, or the views that define a home. It’s the shared experiences, the comfort, and the security it provides to every inhabitant – two-legged or four. Ensuring your cat’s seamless transition is a testament to the bond you share and the lengths you’ll go to guarantee their well-being. After all, our homes are complete when everyone within its walls feels a sense of belonging.