Whether you’re packing, unpacking, cleaning or directing people, moving to a new home is a hectic experience. It can be even more stressful for your cat, as they feel overwhelmed by all the activity and the unfamiliar sights and smells of their new environment. Here are some tips to make things easier to your four-legged friend.
Moving preparations and cat anxiety
A few weeks before, help your cat become comfortable just being around their carrier. Leave it near their food and water, with the door open and a nice, comfy blanket inside. Hide a few treats within to encourage your cat to move in and reinforce the positive association.
Leave your moving boxes lying around the home several weeks before you start packing, and fill them gradually. This will give your cat time to get used to their presence, without too much going on at once.
Keep your cat safe on moving day
When people are carrying heavy appliances and boxes out the door, the last thing you want is your cat dashing outside or getting in the way. Keep your companion inside a closed room with food, water, their litter box and a few toys. Put a sign on the door reminding people to keep it closed. Pack this room at the very end, minimizing the amount of time your cat will need to spend inside their carrier.
Feed your cat at least three hours before transit to avoid an upset stomach. Make sure they remain inside their carrier in a secure location throughout the drive.
Help your cat settle in their new home
Once you arrive at your destination, immediately transport your cat and their essentials (food, water, litter box and toys) to a quiet room. Hide treats as rewards to be found and leave the room, closing the door behind you. This will help make sure your cat is in a safe, enclosed environment away from all the activity.
For the first few days, keep your cat in their temporary room until the rest of the home is ready. Maintain your cat’s usual feeding and playtime routine. During this time, you can also rub your cat’s blanket on furniture and corners throughout the home; once they start exploring, they’ll feel safe and comfortable recognizing their own scent.
Once you’re settled in, allow your cat to discover the rest of their new home at their own pace. Follow them around on their first few exploration sessions to make sure they don’t get trapped anywhere.
Ask your veterinarian about anxiety reducing supplements
In the weeks before moving and after you’ve settled in, if your cat seems stressed despite the tips above, your veterinarian may recommend using a natural supplement to help reduce their anxiety and provide a calming effect, helping your pet feel more relaxed as they learn to adjust to their new environment.