4 min.

Help your cat get ready to move

Imagine the situation: Without notice, someone shows up at your house and moves you to an unknown location, without a word as to what is happening and where you are. Will you go through this event peacefully and calmly? Probably not. We know that your cat’s move will feel a bit like that too. Moves are actually one of the most stressful events for this animal attached to his environment.

A smooth move for kitty

Fortunately, there are ways to make this experience less stressful for kitty. A common mistake among us cat owners is bringing our cat a few times into his new environment, to get him used to it. The cat is an animal that loves routine and his environment. Therefore it is preferable to move him only once and give it time to get accustomed to his new territory. Also, it is best to avoid changing the litter (box and granules) and food (bowl and food) during the move. One change at a time is more than enough.

Isolate him in a room on the day of the move

The day of the move, plan for a room in the new home where kitty will be able to get accustomed to his new home without being bothered by the movers. The bathroom is often the best choice. A small sign on the door reminding people not to let the cat out is always a good idea.

When the cat arrives in this room, place the litter in a corner and his food and water in the opposite corner with his favourite blanket and toys. Also, leave some treats in the room. Why treats? It would be like having money everywhere upon your arrival in your new home. Wouldn’t you, all of a sudden, find this new home a little more inviting?

Let him explore gradually

Before letting your cat out of the room, there are precautions to take. First, make sure all the hubbub of the move is done, that the movers and all the people your cat does not know are gone. The furniture must ideally be placed in its final location. Also, try to tidy up the house as quickly as possible. This is to avoid changing the configuration of the territory in the days that follow. Make sure that there are no holes or areas where your cat could hide and you would not be able to reach him.
Another tip before letting your cat out: Take a blanket with its scent and rub it against the corners of the walls, doors and other spots where your cat could rub itself to leave that scent. When your cat gets out exploring this new home, he will recognize his scent and could very well think: “Hey! I don’t remember being here but my scent is definitely here and apparently I was comfortable. This is reassuring!”

And why not leave a few treats in some rooms in the house, to make the exploring more rewarding? Maybe preparing a feast (canned food or tuna) and leaving the bowl in the kitchen could also be a good idea. When your cat finds the bowl, it would be as if, in your new home, you would find a case with a million dollars. Wouldn’t that be interesting!

If you move from an apartment to a house, it’s better to limit the size of the environment for your cat to explore first. Some cats could become anxious inside such a larger environment because they would find difficult to explore and control. Blocking access to the basement is often a good idea during the first few days. Avoid the mistake of following your cat during his first outings. Otherwise, he might think that it’s weird and there might be something dangerous somewhere that requires that he protects himself.

Finally, playing with your cat is always an efficient way to lower his stress level. Once again, it is a question of positive reinforcement and positive association with the new environment which would be the same as you thinking “Well, ok, I had to move against my will but with the money I found, and a playground just for me, I could easily like it here in this new home!”

To the whole family: have a great move!