If you’re settling into a new place with a couple of stressed out cats this spring, you’re not alone. As a cat owner, I’ve faced the issue before. Whether it’s unsettling car rides or reintegrating the animal into your new home, cats are very uncool when it comes to moving. This is especially true when they act out in aggression or fear-based soiling. To prevent this, we’ve gathered some helpful tips to keep you and your cat from losing sleep.
Because most cats are opposed to change, you’re going to need to ease them into the whole moving thing. In the weeks leading up to your move-out date, make some headway on your packing duties. Gradually packing your things will ensure your cat isn’t freaked-out by the changes of your house happening all at once. Allow your pet to familiarize him or herself with the presence of any cardboard boxes you’ve left out.
Let the kennel feel safe for your cat by leaving it out in the open. Make the space comfortable by placing treats inside it every now and then, and laying down a blanket. Once your cat becomes familiar enough with the inside of its carrier, place its food dish at the back.
Business as Usual
If you’re a cat-dad like myself, you keep your cat on a tight schedule of food, fun, and sleep. Maintaining this routine will be difficult to balance your moving and work responsibilities with, but try to keep things normal for your cat. Consider purchasing a timed food dish if you’re feeding your pet late dinners as a result of the move. Hiring a mover can alleviate much of the stress involved with keeping the cat happy and packing the truck. If you know you’re going to be strapped for free time on moving day, request an estimate to see if a mover is right for you.
Losing a cat on the most hectic day of your move will make things unbelievably stressful so you’re going to want to take extra care when the door is open. For some fretful felines, simply leaving them in a quiet room isn’t a good enough solution to keeping them inside. Some cats react temperamentally to being cooped up when they know things are changing. Know that the first step in keeping your cat happy is to have someone it can trust to check up on it regularly. Hiring a moving company can provide you with the help you need so you can focus on keeping your cat stress free.
Having a anxious cat in the car can only be worse if said cat is also facing an upset stomach. Feeding your feline a small breakfast on the day of the move can help reduce the risk that their stress will make them ill. Keep a packet of their preferred brand of treat on hand throughout the day and reward them for good behavior. Take breaks from moving to play with it and work out any stress its accumulated from being left alone.
Keep them Caged
So you’ve got the cat in the kennel, in the backseat, and you’re on the road to the new place. If they’re anything like my cat they’ll be letting you know just how unhappy they are with their circumstances. You might feel the urge to let them out—it’s important that you refrain from doing this. Not only will it be difficult for you to get them back into the kennel, but you’ll find that they’re just as unhappy with the interior of the car as they were with the interior of the kennel.
If you have a long journey ahead of you, it might be in your best interest to ask a vet to recommend a mild sedative. This might especially bode well for cats who are prone to urination during stressful situations.
A Safe Space
Take your cat to a quiet room that will be relatively quiet while you unpack the truck. Before setting them free, set up a litterbox and food/water dish, as well as a cat bed or blanket. While you unpack the truck, have an idea of where the litterbox/cat-tree/food dish/etc. will go once you’ve arrived. Over the next couple weeks, try to keep these things in the general vicinity of where you first put them to allow your cat to adapt to its new environment.
If you’re Moving to Victoria…
Like most Canadian cities, Victoria is a great place to live if you own a cat. The mild climate allows for owners who let their cats roam the neighbourhood to rest at ease for much of the year. Renters in Victoria can attest to a somewhat inconvenient market for finding an acceptable place to keep pets, however if you look hard enough you’ll find that most homeowners are fine with pets so long as there’s a pet deposit.