On the move!

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14 January 2022
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Moving house can turn your cat’s world upside down. Here’s our guide to making the move as smooth as possible for your feline friend.

Moving house is near the top of the list of most stressful life events — and that goes for your cat as well as you. Felines are territorial creatures so an upheaval to everything they know about their environment can be a challenge for cats. This step-by-step guide to each phase of moving should help the day go smoothly and your cat to adjust to their new surroundings.

Countdown 

Good planning will help ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible for both of you — a countdown can be helpful:      

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1-2 weeks before you move:

Decide on a ‘safe room’ in both your current and new home where your cat can stay while everything is being moved. Empty the safe room, if you haven’t already done so, so nobody needs to go in there for anything. Set up everything your cat will need in there (see Setting up a Safe Room further on for guidance). Start feeding your cat in there so he gets used to being in there. 

Start doing some carrier training if your cat is unaccustomed to it or to improve his associations with it if he’s only ever gone in it for a vet appointment.

The day before:

Put your cat in the safe room — don’t wait until the evening or the morning of your move — especially if he normally has access to outdoors. Chances are he may be feeling a bit unsettled anyway by your packing and the last thing you want is for him to go AWOL at the last minute.

Put a notice up on the door warning that your cat is in there and saying that no one is to go in there. Double check all windows and escape routes are shut.

Put out a box to pack all your cat’s things in from his safe room so they will be ready to hand as you arrive at your new home.

Change your cat’s microchip details so your new address is updated and any contact details.

On the day:

Don’t disturb your cat more than necessary — feed, check water, and clean litter tray out.

If leaving later in day, give him a small meal but avoid feeding 3 — 4 hours before you’re due to leave. Wait till you are ready to leave before putting your cat in his carrier and packing up all his things.

On arrival, take him straight to the new safe room, close the door, and unpack and set up all his familiar things, then open the carrier. If he doesn’t want to come out immediately to investigate, that’s fine, leave him to come out in his own time. 

Put a notice on the door warning that your cat is in there and to warn removal people not to disturb him or let him out.

Boarding

Arranging for your cat to board at a cattery can be a good option; it will mean that he won’t be bothered by all the noise and upheaval and you can get on with the business of moving without worrying about keeping him safe and secure. Things to consider: 

● Check out the cattery you are planning to board your cat at to make sure you’ll be happy with his accommodation.

● Book in plenty of time!

● Make sure vaccinations are up to date and that you have the paperwork to hand, not packed away!

● If moving to somewhere nearby, you could take your cat over on the morning if you’ll have time, or the day before if it’s likely to be a rush. If moving some distance away, it may be best to book a cattery near to your new home so that when you collect him you won’t have far to travel.

● It may be a good idea to extend his stay a little if you can bear to be apart a little longer, so you have time to get everything unpacked at your new home and can set up a Feliway diffuser in readiness.

Read the rest of the feature in the February 2022 issue. Buy the latest digital edition and read instantly on your computer, mobile or tablet device.


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