Dealing With Your Cat On Moving Day
Cats, by their very nature, are of particular concern during the moving process. They have not only formed a strong relationship with the members of the household, but they have also become very attached to the home and their local environment as well. Due to their traits of maintaining some degree of mobility, cats can often be a bit challenging when attempting to keep them around the new home long enough to understand that the family now has a new address. As a result, once they have been re-located from their old familiar haunts, free-roaming felines have been known to return to their former, and familiar dwelling. Instances of cats finding their way back to their previous homes are not uncommon, especially if the move was over a short distance. Cats have also been known to disappear permanently from the new home if the move was much further away than just across town.
Therefore, it is very important to initiate some form of confinement for your cat before, during, and after the moving process. Safety and security are the primary concern while they adapt and become familiar with their new ‘territory’ and make it their own once again. This is easier for indoor cats of course, so if your cat is not an established indoor cat, make sure it is brought into the home long before the movers are scheduled to arrive. Designate a ‘safe room’ for the cat, such as a spare bathroom or bedroom where the packing activity has been completed, and just leave them with adequate amounts of food and water, their bed, the litter-box, and a few favorite toys while the packing and moving process gets underway. Once you and your belongings have been loaded up and you are ready to hit the road, your cat should be safely tucked away in their crate or carrier for the ride to the new home, especially if they have rarely (or never) traveled in a vehicle before. If your cat is the skittish type, or is easily stressed, ask your vet about anti-anxiety medication to make the moving process a bit easier to handle.
At The New ‘Territory’
One your belongings have been unloaded and unpacked, the best procedure for your cat is to perform the ‘leaving home’ process again, except this time it is done in reverse. Confine the cat in an appropriate ‘safe room’ for a few days while the furniture has been re-located and arranged, and most of the household routines have been re-established. At that point, you can begin to introduce your cat into the broader environment of the home, and allow him to discover things and explore the rest of the house in its own time, and on its own terms, after everything has settled down to a more normal state of composure. As soon as possible, begin to create or involve your cat with its previous routines, such as feeding times and places, to allow a ‘new normal’ to take hold in their sense of belonging, and that goes for any other pets you may have as well.
In case you may have been considering the idea of transforming your free-roaming cat into a home-dweller, whether for its overall well-being or safety issues, the new home environment is the best occasion to start. In your previous dwelling, your cat would be insisting to be let out to prowl its territory, whereas in a new home, there is no established territory as of yet, so keeping it inside the new home at the start may be the wisest idea. Even if a ‘conversion’ is not part of your plan, it is still best to keep it inside the ‘familiar’ environment of the home for at least a few weeks until it exhibits a more relaxed behavior. After a period of time, you can offer to show it the new yard, or take it for short walks with a leashed harness. Eventually though, you will need to trust your own instincts, as well as your cat’s, and let it out into the world, and hope for the best.
As previously mentioned, as with moving to a new home with a dog, make an appointment with the nearest clinic so the veterinarian and staff can get to know your cat before an exam for illness or injury occurs. If your cat has also been micro-chipped, be sure to contact the registry to inform them of your change of address and contact numbers in case your cat wanders off or gets lost in its new environment and you can be notified right away if it is found. After a while, and with a little patience, whether it is your dog or cat, by the time you and your family have become comfortable in your new home and surroundings, they too will have adapted to its boundless array of interesting and captivating opportunities to make their new domain all their own.