In collaboration with Cat Educator, Intersand®’s cat experts would like to offer a few tips and tricks for new “parents” of cats, cat lovers and anyone who’s considering a feline addition to the family.
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 live through this event peacefully and with serenity? 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 territorial animal.
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 its new environment, to get them used to it. The cat is a territorial animal that loves its routine. Therefore it is preferable to move it only once and give it time to get accustomed to its new territory. Also, it is best to avoid changes with the litter (box and grains) and food (bowl and food) during the move. A change at a time is more than enough.
The day of the move, plan for a room in the new home where kitty will be able to get accustomed to its 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 its food and water in the opposite corner with its 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?
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. Also, make sure that there are no holes or areas where your cat could hide and you would not be able to reach it.
Another tip before letting your cat out: take a blanket with its odour and rub it against the corners of the walls, doors and other spots where your cat could rub itself to leave its odour. When your cat gets out exploring this new home, it will recognize its odour and could very well think: “Hey! I don’t remember being here but my odour 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 motivating? 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 is better to limit the size of the territory 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 the access to the basement is often a good idea during the first few days. Avoid the mistake of following your cat during its first outings. Otherwise, it might think that it is weird and there might be something dangerous somewhere that requires it protects itself.
Finally, playing with your cat is always an efficient way to lower its stress level. Once again, it is a question of positive reinforcement and positive association with the new territory 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!