Moving – How To Help Your Cat Get Used To A New Home
Just like you, most cats find moving to be a traumatic experience. Like human beings, cats thrive best when they have a routine that does not change from day to day. Moving from a cat’s point of view can seem like the world is ending. This is because cats become very attached to their territory and the minute you start moving furniture, rolling up rugs and taking objects out of their familiar places, you are fiddling with kitties' turf. This can cause your cat a great deal of emotional distress and confusion.
This is why it is very important for you, as busy as you are, to be a constant point of steady emotional contact with your cat. The animal needs to know that even in the midst of chaos that you are there for him or her.
To minimize the shock of moving, try doing the following:
- Spend extra time talking to and bonding with your cat to increase your trust level.
- Spend extra time grooming your cat so that he or she sees you as the “alpha creature” (head of the den litter) in the house and is most likely to obey what you do.
- Teach your cat to come when called in case he or she gets lost or disoriented during the move. Responding to your voice can also help distract a cat that is freaked out by other matters. Cats also have a habit of running off on the day of moving and sometimes your only hope of getting it back is by calling it’s name.
- Get your cat used to being in a cat carrier. Reward your cat each time he gets in and out of the cat carrier and remains calm. Also reward the cat each time he manages to stay in the cat carrier without panicking. This helps him associate being in the carrier with a good experience.
- Get your cat used to being in a car. Sometimes cats run off before a move because they are not used to being inside a car. It is a good idea to get your cat used to the car by driving him around while he is inside his cat carrier.
- Board your cat for the day instead. One of the nicest (and most expensive things) you can do for your cat is to board it in a kennel for a day or leave it in a kennel. That way the cat it protected from the emotional chaos of watching the familiar objects from its territory from being moved around.
- Make sure a favorite toy or blanket is always within your pet’s immediate access at all times.
Sometimes the animal’s behavior changes slightly after a move. Don’t be surprised if your cat hides for a few days, acts hyperactive or unfriendly or refuses to eat. One way to keep a very upset cat calm is to leave it inside it’s carrier a quiet room that is apart from the rest of the house and visit the cat frequently. Keep the lights off and the carrier in a place that feels sheltered. After the bustle of moving has died down you can then let the cat out of its carrier. Make sure that the minute that carrier door is opened that all of the cat’s favorite toys, drinking and eating bowls are right there so that the cat feels like he or she is at home. Reassuring the cat verbally with soothing words and feeding it right away also helps ease the trauma of moving.
It is also a good idea not to let your outdoor cat outside for at least three weeks after you move. This is because many cats become disoriented and try to run away (usually in the direction of its old home) after you first move in. However if you are a responsible pet owner you will not be letting your cat out without supervision in the first place.