Around 40% of UK households have a cat, so moving with a cat in tow is a common challenge. Here are some tips on how to face it.
Moving house is stressful enough for humans no matter if you're renting or buying. But for cats, who are territorial and don’t understand what’s happening, the experience can sometimes prove so upsetting they become ill or even run away.
However, there are measures you can take before, during, and after the Move that should smooth out the process.
1. Visit the vet
First off, ensure your cat's vaccinations are up-to-date and that you have all relevant records and certificates. If it needs medication for any existing conditions, ensure you’re stocked up on it before Move Day.
It’s also worth asking the vet about getting some mild sedatives if your cat will be distressed by travelling. And he or she may also be able to recommend a new veterinary practice in the area you’re moving to.
Finally, if your visit is close to your Move date, have your cat's microchip updated with your new home’s address. If they make a run for it when you arrive, it could make things a lot easier.
2. Don’t stray from routine
It might be tricky with so much going on, but try to keep as much of your cat’s normal routine in place as possible, such as feeding and bed times.
3. Unveil cat carriers early
Get out your cat's basket or carrier a few weeks ahead of the Move to give them time to adjust being around it. Just the sight and smell of the carrier can be enough to panic them as they’ll associate it with the vets and you don’t want the extra stress come Move Day.
4. Issue a temporary ID tag
Regardless of whether you have updated your cat's microchip, attach a temporary tag on its collar on Move Day which states your phone number and new address.
5. Consider a cattery stay
You might want to book your cat into a cattery on the day of the Move (perhaps even one or two days either side), saving them the stress and you the worry.
If this your plan, make sure you book in plenty of time, especially over summer when they’re at their busiest.
And bear in mind, you may want to choose a venue that’s nearest to the house you are going to, rather than the one you’re leaving behind.
6. Make plans for Move Day
If you are not using a cattery, allocate a designated ‘pet’ room in your old home during the day of the Move. It should be secure, quiet and undisturbed (it’s a good idea to hang a sign on the door to that effect). Then only move yout cat at the last possible moment.
Cat carriers can be simply strapped into the car with a seatbelt.
If you're breaking up the journey with an overnight stay, don’t forget to check that your pet will be accepted there.
7. Settle your cat into your new home first
Keep your cat confined to one or two rooms and surrounded by familiar belongings (and a litter tray). This will give them a chance to familiarise themselves with their new environment – and you the time to pet-proof the rest of the property.
Once things calm down, allow them to explore their new pad slowly. Give them plenty of attention and treats so they’re reassured it’s a positive and safe place to be.
If you haven’t updated your cat’s microchip already, get it sorted now. Any local vet will do the job.
They won’t like it, but outdoor cats should be kept inside for around two weeks. This will reduce the prospect of them trying to return to their previous home.
8. Introduce your cat to the neighbours
Knocking on your new neighbour’s door with your cat is the perfect icebreaker and – with any luck – means they’ll keep an eye out for them in the future too.