Moving to a new home with your cat is a BIG deal for you and the cat. Try and see it from their point of view!
Their home is their sanctuary. They've put time and effort into surrounding themselves with "happy messages" that make them feel safe and secure. If you've ever seen your cat rubbing it’s cheeks against things, that's them leaving those comforting pheromone messages and marking the area as safe and secure.
Why moving home is stressful for your cat too
Entering a new home without their familiar "happy messages" can be confusing, scary and stressful for your cat. Add to this the actual process of moving; seeing you pack up your stuff, which is their stuff too, and put it into boxes, lots of strange people coming in and out of their home with different smells and no attention from you for a couple of days. You're left with one very unhappy kitty!
So, it's important to take special care of your kitty before, during and after the move. Our board certified veterinary behaviourist, Dr Valarie Tynes, shares her top tips to help make the big moving home for your cat easy and for everyone involved.
What should I do during the move?
To help your cat remain calm and comfortable in your current home, dedicate one room where they can stay. This will help keep the sights and sounds of the movers and moving equipment minimised. The room should contain everything your cat would need during this time, such as food, bedding, toys and a litter box.
A final recommendation for the room, is to place a sign on the door notifying everyone involved there are pets in the room and the door should be kept shut. This will also help prevent a cat running through an open front door and getting lost.
Support your cat with calming pheromones
Plug a FELIWAY Help diffuser into your current home as soon as you start preparing for moving day or ideally 1-2 days before the anticipated stressful event.
The pheromones start to diffuse as soon as the diffuser is warm (about 15 minutes after plugging in). After 24 hours the diffuser will be fully functional and the calming messages of FELIWAYHelp!will spread throughout the area. It can really help to comfort your cat before you move. Keep the diffuser plugged in day and night for best calming results.
Find the the best cat carrier and leave it in the room so your cat can explore and investigate it prior to the move. By spraying FELIWAY Classic Spray in the carrier the‚ "happy messages" provided will make the carrier feel safe and comfortable, which will help keep them calm during transit to the new house. The result? A fuss-free journey.
To help prevent motion sickness, during the trip, withhold food for 6-8 hours prior to trip. They should, however, still have access to water.
What should I do when we arrive at our new house?
Identify a room where you can leave your cat with all their essentials, including a FELIWAY Help diffuser and try to keep them in this in this room, and this room only, for the first few days without access to the rest of the house. This may seem restrictive, but they will feel safe within a confined space and it will give them the opportunity to slowly familiarise themselves with the new sounds and smells. It also gives them a room of their own to use later as a refuge.
If you have access to the new home a few days before the big move, plug a FELIWAY Help diffuser in the room where your cat will stay for the first days. If you don't have access to the new house prior, plug in the diffuser as soon as you arrive. Your cat will feel comforted by the "happy messages" being released and start to feel at home straight away.
Try to unpack most of the house before you let your kitty wander. As much as they usually love to help you pack, they won't be much use after the big move.
As soon as your cat seems comfortable in their first room, you may open the door and allow them to explore their new pad.
What can I do to make sure my cat settles in comfortably?
Knowing your cat and their personality‚ confident, social or shy. Will help you determine what their individual needs are. Make sure you understand the signs of anxiety in cats and what to look for if you are concerned.
Some cats will settle quickly into their new home and saunter around confidently within the first few days. Others may take a bit longer to become accustomed to their new surroundings.
But there are a few things you can do to help your cat after the move:
- Cats use their acute sense of smell to figure out whether something is safe or not. Placing their favourite blanket or a piece of your clothing in the room will mean it immediately smells familiar and will remind them of cuddly times with you.
- In addition to this, provide multiple litter boxes, food & water bowls, toys, scratching post, bedding around the house. When your cat is ready to investigate, these will help them feel at home in any location.
- Let them explore on their own and in their own time. If they decide to hide under the bed, let them be. They'll eventually come out when they feel it's safe.
- And of course, even if you're very busy organising your new home, do not forget to spend time with your cat. Daily play and cuddle sessions should continue‚ nothing should change from their perspective
FELIWAY Help diffuser has been proven to help cats adjust very quickly into a new home and make moving to a new home with a cat easy. How your cat is adjusting can easily be assessed by keeping an eye on the following: whether they are eating normally, sleeping in relaxed postures and interacting with you.
To support your cat to settle into their new home over the long term, use a FELIWAY OPTIMUM diffuser plugged-in continuously for at least one month. Then, to give your cat more time to adjust to their new environment‚ as cat's have different personalities‚ remember to change the refill monthly refills to ensure your cat is perfectly comfortable and happy.
Give them plenty of time to adjust, it will be just as big a change for them as it is for you! But with these simple suggestions if can be a much more pleasant experience for everyone!