As Nicky points out: “Moving house can be a big deal for cats. Much of their feelings of security and the ability to relax comes from having familiar sights, scents and sounds.”
So how can you prepare your cat for their new environment?
Plan your next move
As Nicky advises, there are two options for moving day. You can choose to either book your cat into a cattery or take them with you as you move. This depends on your own personal preferences as well as your cat’s character as every cat is different.
If you do book your cat into a cattery a few days beforehand, you won’t have to worry about them. You’ll need to be organised well in advance and get your cat’s vaccinations up to date.
● First, allocate a room in your home that can be cleared of furniture a few weeks before the move. Next, choose a room in the new home that you can place your cat in as soon as you arrive. Ideally, both rooms will be out of the way so that your cat can be undisturbed
● If you have more than one cat, you’ll need for them to have their own resources – litter tray, food bowl, water bowl etc. If they don’t get along, they may need a room each
● Anxious cats will need more help. As Nicky says: “We’d recommend putting synthetic pheromones in the cat basket and in the new rooms.” Synthetic products can emulate these pheromone effects and can be utilised by cat owners to reduce stress symptoms and encourage positive behaviours. Speak to your vet for more advice
● Once you’ve arrived in your new home, take your cat to the new room with all their familiar resources. You might want to give them something that smells of you, such as unwashed clothing. Shut the door and leave your cat in this room for a while. They might need a few days to settle in before having access to the rest of the house – your cat will soon let you know when they’re ready to explore
● Ideally, keep your cat indoors for three to four weeks, enough time to view the new house as a safe and secure territory
As Nicky says: “Some cats go missing as their owners move house and they let them out a little bit too soon. Only let them out for a few moments at a time at first. You can build this time outside gradually until you feel confident that they can come and go as they please.”
Simon’s animation Nut again! is inspired by his cats enjoying his new home. He explains that “having four cats is a lot of animals to bring to a new neighbourhood! There were a few cat squabbles to begin with, before they sorted out their territory.”
To learn more about moving house with your cat, go to www.cats.org.uk/moving-home