It’s an exciting time moving in to a new home, new location, new neighbours, new interior design and more. However, if you look at it from a cat’s point of view, they likely have a very different take on it!
Cats are very territorial in their behaviour patterns so a house move is not going to be high on their list of desirable activities. To mitigate this stressful period for her, here are 10 tips to keep in mind –
1. While the thought of it may not be pleasant to you, a few days in a cattery to allow you time to finish the packing, get the move done and do the basics of the unpack at the other end, may be a better option than keeping your cat in amongst all the chaos.
2. Have a plan for the travel leg from the old house to the new. If this is a longer trip then consideration of some anti-stress techniques may be worthwhile.
3. Try using Feliway to help de-stress. This is a drug free product based on the cat’s own scents that can be sprayed in travel cages and the new environment to help reduce stress. It also comes as a diffuser to be plugged in to a power point which then lasts for a month.
4. Ensure the house is secure when you first let your cat out of their travel cage. Ensure all doors and windows are closed and everyone knows where he/she is.
5. Keep your cat confined to one room initially and give them things they will find familiar. A favourite bed, food bowls, a blanket with their scent on it, a litter tray and a place to hide away from the world if that’s what they want to do.
6. It’s generally recommended to keep your cat indoors for at least 2 weeks. In that time, you can gradually extend their area of access to the house. It can be helpful to rub their favourite blanket around new places in the house so their scent is spread to the new rooms.
7. If your cat is usually allowed outside then do this gradually. Start with allowing access to a small enclosed area and do this supervised for short periods initially.
8. Gradually increase the time allowed outdoors but watch carefully to see that your cat is not attracting any unwanted attention from the new neighbouring feline friends. Cat fights often happen within the first few months of moving.
9. If you’ve only moved a short distance be aware that they may be tempted to return to the more familiar territory of your old house.
10. Remember your responsible pet ownership. Ensure your cat is microchipped and details associated with this are updated after your move. Register them with your local council. Ensure they are vaccinated appropriately for their new environment and keep her them indoors at night as this will decrease the risk of accidents and fights.
If you’re having problems then seek further help – your local vet clinic may be a good place to start.
Article written by Dr Cameron Murray from Dalkeith Veterinary Clinic who has been helping our family pets for years – feel free to call him to talk any moving with pets issues you may have on 9386 6277.