Moving? Help Your Cat Acclimate with These Tips
by Cindy Aldridge
You’re moving along in your career and it’s time to upgrade your one bedroom apartment to a more adult abode. You’re excited and ready to begin a new chapter in your life. You cat is another story altogether. Read on for a few ideas on how to calm your cat when the calamity of change capsizes her comfort zone.
Take a tour
Curtail your cat’s confusion by letting her spend some time perusing the rooms of her new place. Walk her throughout the home on a leash or harness, following her lead as she examines the new sites, scenes, and scents that will soon become all too familiar. Allow her a few hours to explore and note any areas she pays particular attention to. These may be suitable spots to put her stuff once she’s been let loose.
Even if your cat will have free range to roam, limit her living area to a dedicated domain. Her bed, food bowls, and toys should remain in close proximity to one another, giving her a space to call home. International Cat Care (formerly Feline Advisory Bureau) describes cats as solitary hunters who thrive by establishing a territory with a core area, or den, where she can feel secure enough to relax.
Moving is an emotional experience full of stress and strains that can affect your cat’s behavior. According to Pam Johnson-Bennett, best-selling animal author and cat behavior specialist, moving to a new home can easily trigger anxiety in your feline friend. And since cats pick up on our emotions, remain cool throughout the process to calm your cat’s cantankerous conduct. Ease the process on yourself by preparing well ahead of time: clear your calendar, cleanup clutter, and outsource obstacles, such a small home repairs, that need to be completed before moving. Consider hiring an extra set of hands on moving day so that you can turn your attention to your tiny tiger.
Adjust for age
Moving with a young cat requires plenty of preparations, but moving with an older animal is almost a full-time job. In addition to keeping your cat close by, you’ll want to make sure the new home is easy to navigate for your fragile feline friend. Redfin, one of the nation’s leading real estate companies, explains that there are many simple home modifications to consider when your cat (or dog) is past his prime. For example, since cats like to sit on windowsills, add a pet ramp to make her ascension easier.
Cat-proof the new place
“Curiosity killed the cat.” There’s a reason this idiom has stood the test of time. Cats like to know every nook and cranny of their environment. Don’t assume that your new house will be a safe haven for your curious kitty, especially when your attention is turned to pressing matters, such as unpacking. The Humane Society of the United States suggests covering garbage disposal switches, securing screen, and taking measures to ensure that your cat doesn’t get caught in dark, quiet places, such as behind the dryer. Be mindful of unattended cleaning supplies and medications, as many cats like to chew and these items can be poisonous to your purring pal.
Moving to your dream home can be a nightmare if you don’t take the proper steps to keep your cat comfortable. So remember, maintain your emotions, provide a safe space to call her own, and ease into the transition. This will help you, and your cat, start out on the right foot and plant your paws confidently in your new community.