The move was successful, the new apartment is mostly furnished, but the cat has been attracting attention for a few days with uncleanliness. It marks the new furniture with urine, her coat suddenly shows bald spots and its eating habits have changed. And it doesn’t quite make sense, because prior to the move the cat had a lot of fun with the boxes and the bubble wrap. In general, cats have a strong connection to territories. Hence, a move can be very stressful for them. This article will tell you how to prepare your cats for the move and how to make them feel at home in their new surroundings.
Prior to the move with cats
In this phase it is important to take enough time for the cat. Cuddling and playing sessions should not be neglected, despite the stress of moving. It is also advantageous to think about the organization and furnishing of your new home at this stage of the move:
- Is the new home safe for cats?
- Where will the utensils for cats be placed?
- Does the cat have any favorite toys that should be available during the move?
- Is the cat carrier ready for transport?
- Which items should be available upon arrival at the new home? (e.g. cat litter tray, feeding bowl, etc.)
- Have you bought enough food and cat litter for the first few days?
- In case of emergency: what’s the number of the nearest veterinarian?
During the move with cats
Is there someone in your environment who is already familiar with your cat? In this case it is ideal to put the cat in their care. Should that not be possible, there are a few points to consider during the move:
Before the moving helpers arrive at your place, the cat should be placed in a safe room or alternatively in the bathroom. It is important that the cat can’t run away or be packed in a box by accident. In the room there should be a litter tray, scratchboard or cat tree, a warm blanket or a piece of clothing of the person the cat knows best. Water and food should also be available for the cat at any given time. It can also be of advantage, if the helpers try not to be too loud. Furthermore, it is important to transport the cat in the car with you and not in the moving van with strangers.
Once at the new place of residence, the cat can be put back in a sheltered room with the above-mentioned objects until the move is over.
Emergency tip: Is your cat highly afraid of traveling? In this case, you can discuss with the vet whether the cat needs a mild sedative.
Settling down in your new home
A move can lead to behavioral problems with your cat, which might not always be pleasant. It is important not to punish your cat, but to show sympathy.
Here are some tips on how cats can best get used to their new homes:
- Familiar furniture can help cats become more comfortable in a new home. If you want to furnish your new place completely new, it would be beneficial do exchange the furniture one after the other.
- To create further familiarity for the cat, it is advantageous to keep up the accustomed daily routine of the cat.
- Catnip and synthetic pheromones can help, since they have a calming effect on the animals.
- If your cat still shows abnormal behavior after two months, it is advisable to visit the animal psychologist.
How to handle outdoor Cats
After the move, cats should be kept inside the new home for two weeks so that it can become the new base of the territory. If your cat has not settled sufficiently after two weeks, you can wait longer. It is important to let your cat decide for itself what it wants to do. In the beginning, if the cat chooses to go outside, the door should be left open for it to come back inside at any given moment.
Before letting your cat go outside, the following points should be checked:
- Are vaccinations up to date?
- Is the cat’s identification up to date?
- Has a cat flap been installed?
- Are there other cats in the neighborhood? In this case, your cat might need support to establish itself as the new cat in the neighborhood.
What if the cat goes home after the move?
The fear that the cat will return to its old home is quite common but mostly unfounded. It is unlikely for a cat to do that, if the new home is more than five kilometers away from the old home because cats can no longer orient themselves. If the distance is less than five kilometers, it is best to inform the former neighbors and the next tenants about the possibility. It is important that they don’t feed the cat, as this leads to additional confusion for the cat.
What to do if the cat can no longer go outside?
It happens time and again that it is not possible for the cat to run around outside, due to dangerous streets in the new neighborhood. In such cases there are different possibilities.
A balcony for cats and action in the apartment
Should it no longer be possible to let the cat outside, the apartment should be equipped with as many climbing, sleeping and hiding places as possible. And if there’s a balcony, it should be cat safe. Playing and cuddling is now especially important, otherwise the cat will become bored and underchallenged. An interesting exercise could be to hide dry food in the apartment for the cat to find. This gives the cat the opportunity to “hunt” in the apartment.
Alternatively, you can get your cat used to the leash. This enables you to take the cat outside under your watch. However, it take a lot of time and patience, since cats are not used to leashes.