Previously, we have provided tips for moving with pets. Today, we focus specifically on moving with cats. Cats offer different challenges from other pets, such as dogs. Cats are independent, free-thinkers and helping them adjust to your moving situation can be difficult. They can—and often will—hide or try to run away and are generally resistant to being crated, making the process time-consuming and stress-inducing. There are, however, different things you can do to make your cat more comfortable and cooperative.
Try to prepare them for the move before you pack anything
Do your best to get your cat comfortable in a crate. You can place their favorite blanket and toys inside of the crate, and reward your cat with a treat if it spends time in it. If your cat seems to be getting more comfortable inside the crate, take your cat (inside the crate) on short road trips. This tests your cat’s comfort level and helps you know what to expect on move day. Keep doing this, and make each trip longer than the last. Again, reward your cat with a treat for good behavior. If you keep this up, your cat may be more relaxed when it comes to the actual move.
If your cat is anxious, ask your vet if sedation will help
If your cat cannot get comfortable with being crated, talk to your vet about possibly sedating the cat for the move.
“Cats tend to hide as they typically do not like to be crated. I strongly recommend talking to your vet,” said Pam Garrison, International Operations Manager at JK and former pet store manager. “The vet may recommend light sedation when relocating cats because they tend to get physically and emotionally upset. If they sleep through the process, it will be easier on them.”
During the move, keep your cat out of the way
If sedation is not ideal for your pet, consider placing your cat in a small area or confined room while you are packing and loading boxes. Cats love boxes and investigating – the last thing you want is to accidentally pack your cat in a box! Keeping your pet out of the way also ensures that the activity around the move will not disturb your cat and that your cat will not get out of the house. Lastly, be sure to feed your cat at least an hour before the move so that it has the chance to use the litter box.
Make your new home feel familiar
Cats are creatures of habit – it may take several weeks before your cat is comfortable in the new house. To help your cat feel more at home, it may be best to confine it to a single room, and let it out to explore for only a few hours at a time. You can give it some familiar toys or even try arranging some furniture or decorations in a similar layout as the old home. Once you place the litter box, do not move it around. Cats are creatures of habit and these little consistencies go a long way in helping it adjust to the new home.