Moving House – But what about your cat?

27th August 2017 Rachel McCosker
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In our increasingly busy work life, owning a pet may seem difficult. However pets are a part of family life and without them it seems absent. Our love for them has grown increasingly and they are the thing you rush back from home for after your holiday. As a huge cat lover myself I can only agree! According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA), the cat owning household figure has risen from 17.1% (4,8m) in 2016 to 18.3% (5.1m) in 2017 in the United Kingdom. A possible reason for the rise in cat ownership is how well cats fit well with our busy lifestyle.

From my experience of working for a cat charity and studying cat behaviour. I have noticed how members of the public would ring for advice on what to do when they have moved into their new home. “We’ve just moved in a few days ago but the cat has started to scratch the furniture and toilet in unusual places, is this normal? “This can happen if the cat hasn’t been allowed to adjust slowly therefore getting it right before you move can set your cat up ready. Cats are very territorial animals and become very stressed with sudden changes in their environment, such as moving house. They are creatures of habit and like a daily routine. Therefore, I feel there is a need to help both our vendors and their cats, they come as a package and I like to accommodate wherever I can.

Will you be asking the question “when I move house, will my cats be ok?” Let’s face it; you’ve got a lot on at the moment. So with some careful planning and our handy tips, it should be one thing less to worry about! My advice is to plan ahead:

  • On moving day it will be bustling and have a lot of people coming and going, therefore your cat may feel uneasy. Placing your cat in one room whilst movement is happening will allow your cat to feel safe and you will know exactly where he/she is. Make sure your cat has their toilet, bed, toys, a few treats scattered around as this will be inviting!
  • When entering your new home, try to plug in a Feliway pheromone diffuser for at least one hour if possible, where you want your cat to settle, before bringing your cat. This product is recommended by vets and cat behaviourists when the cat is experiencing a potentially stressful time such as moving home. It is like a plug in air freshener but releases a calming smell to the cat, making them feel at ease and in familiar surroundings. Contact your vet for more information on purchasing Feliway.
  • When all items have been loaded in the van, you and your cat should be last to go, relieving as much stress as possible. Place your cat into their carrier with a blanket from their bed as this is familiar to them. Then, pack all of their belongings and travel with them in the car, secured in a seat.
  • Once arrived at the new house, take your cat in the house first, into the room where you have the diffuser plugged in. If possible, try to set up the room similar to the room in the house you are leaving for now until your  cat becomes more settled in their new environment. Offer them fresh water, food and their toilet. Close the door behind you, so that you can unload the van and move all your belongings into the house without the worry of losing your cat.
  • Over the next few days, your cat may seem quieter than usual but this is normal, as it is a big change for them so they will need a bit of time, if only you could tell them it’s all ok! Once all belongings are in the house, you can leave the door open on their room and allow them to explore. Look for any small gaps around the house as they will seek them out to hide in and could get stuck. Be encouraging with your voice and offer fuss. Your smell and calm scent will help relax them. Allow them to explore and try not to force them in each room as this will increase their stress.
  • You should keep your cat indoors for at least 2 weeks to allow them to adjust to their new surroundings.

I hope you have found this helpful and if you would to chat about you and your cat, I would love to hear from you! A fantastic resource for cat behaviour and advice on moving house with your cat can be found on the International Cat Care’s website, a brilliant charity with a huge admiration for cats and their welfare.

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