Even before moving day arrives, just like their owners, cats on the move start to feel the stress. Cats are extremely sensitive to their surroundings and changes, even in their human caretakers. Specifically, they do not like change! Lots of boxes, strange smells, anxious Mom or Dad, potential disruption to their feeding schedule, and a decrease in cuddle and play time. There are, however, ways to decrease stress on your felines during a move. Here are some tips for your cats on the move:
Get them Used to the Carrier
This should be done, even if you aren’t moving! If you plan on taking your cat in a carrier—and we recommend that you do as they could run away under duress—it’s a good idea to get one (or more) ahead of time and get your furry friends to get used to it. Place a towel inside with a familiar toy so kitty can sleep there. You can also place food near it so your cat can familiarize him or herself with the transporter so it’s not a strange, scary box on moving day.
Let Boxes be a Playthings
Cats love boxes and there’s no reason why having these things can’t be a fun activity for them. They are somewhat like small children. Buy them a toy? They play with the box it came in! To make them more appealing, you can dust a little catnip or spray synthetic cat pheromones that will make your cat feel safe.
Keep the Routine
During the relocation process, it can be hard to remember to feed your cat on time or change his or her water dish as frequently as a regular day. But, staying with your pet’s normal schedule reduces their anxiety.
Get or Find Cat ID
Make sure you have an updated cat ID with your cell phone number so you can attach it to your cat’s collar on moving day. Cats can get spooked and run away. Should such an event occur, an ID would make sure that if someone finds your cat, they can easily contact you.
The best option is to have your cat micro-chipped well in advance. Some cats hate collars and will wiggle out of them off in a heartbeat! Should your cat get loose and found by a stranger and take it to a shelter, the micro-chip will help identify and they should call the vet that placed it. The vet will call you!
Visit the Vet
The stress of moving can make your cat more vulnerable to illness. An exam before the move will ensure kitty is healthy and all his or her vaccinations are up to date. If you’re traveling long distance you might want to ask the vet about anti-anxiety and motion sickness medication. One great natural anti-anxiety to use is Rescue Remedy. It’s available on Amazon.com or at Chewy.com but don’t overdo. Read the dosage carefully and ask your vet if it’s ok for your cat(s). A seven-pound cat won’t need as much as a 12-pound cat. Giving a small cat too much can make them “catatonic” (pun intended) and render then unable to move.
Create a Safe Space in Both Homes
Keep your cat in a room away from the hustle and bustle of moving in the old home with the door closed. Keep his or her water dish, food, toys, and litter box in there with the cat. In
the new home, create a similar space to bring kitty in and keep away from the activity. You may even want to give them an item that has your smell, such as a sock or pillow case. Also important? The litter box!
Your furry friends will be anxious on moving day. Give your cats on the move a small breakfast so they have something in their stomach, but don’t overfeed so they don’t get sick during the relocation process.
Let Them Explore
Once you’re all moved in, let the cat out of the safe room to explore his or her new environment. Be careful to keep doors and windows closed while kitty gets used to the new home and remember to get back on schedule with their food, playtime, and such. Routine keeps them happy.
If you are moving out of state or cross-country, check with airlines about taking your cat with you. Ask if they can be on the plane with you or other accommodations they have for pets. You may also want to check into Delta Dash to see if they can meet your needs as well.