Cats are unlikely to understand what’s going on when suddenly their home becomes full of boxes and the familiar items that they are used to are disappearing into those boxes. Then moving day comes and they get shut into a room so they don’t get under foot whilst everything is being moved in and out, until the moment that they too get put into their own boxes and loaded into a vehicle.
And even getting to the new home doesn’t stop the stress, at least not immediately. Now the cats are in a strange new place, with strange new smells, and they still get shut into one room to avoid getting squished whilst the hustle and bustle goes on in the rest of the apartment/house.
It’s easy to see how stressful this can be for cats.
If you hadn’t worked it out yet, we recently moved. It wasn’t a small move, either. Our cats ended up spending about 7 hours in a car to move 500km north to our new home.
There were a few steps we took to make the move easier for the cats.
Confining them to a single room on moving day, both before and after the actual moving, is actually a very good thing. It helps prevent them being stressed by, well, all the things that are moving around them! And of course it means they can’t escape out of doors that have been left open for moving furniture through. Continuing to confine the cats to one area in the new home is also a good idea because it allows them to acclimatise before being exposed to the whole new place. If your cats are outdoor cats you should keep them inside at first, to make sure they know that this new place is home before they go outside.
Our vets suggested giving our cats some calming medication starting a couple of days before the move took place. We also had a hormone spray to help keep them calm, which was sprayed in the old flat in the days leaving up to the move, in their carry boxes before they went in them on moving day, and in the living room of the new flat (the room they were first introduced to) ready for their arrival. (Side note – please consult your vet or another expert before medicating your cat!)
Once the cats got to the new flat we tried to have the room as ready for them as possible. Whilst we obviously couldn’t get everything in and unpacked immediately (two weeks later and we’re still far from unpacked!) we made sure to have their essentials in place – litter trays and water were the priority. We also gave them blankets, which of course would smell familiar to them. And as soon as we were able we moved the cat trees into the room to give them places to climb (and hide), even if the trees would later be moved somewhere else.
Luckily it didn’t take long for the cats to get themselves settled in, and they seem perfectly happy here now!
Have you moved house with your cat? Do you have any tips to share for making the whole process easier on our furry friends?