Moving home with your cat

Moving home with your cat

Not only for us is moving home a stressful experience. This is also true for cats. We will show you how you can make moving to a new home as stress-free an experience as possible for your cat by preparing properly and taking a few precautions.

Is moving home a negative experience for cats?

A cat would never move home voluntarily! And why should it? This is the cat’s home; it knows every nook and cranny, it feels safe and protected, and is familiar with all the scents. If it is allowed outside, it will also have its own territory that it wants to patrol every day, and it will know all the best places for finding mice. No cat would ever decide to give all that up. It must therefore be said that having to move home really can be a very negative experience for many cats. Only very rarely can anything be done about this. It is therefore important to simply be aware of this situation and to make the move as stress-free as possible for the cat.

What do I need to consider when moving home with my cat?

Every cat owner knows how sensitive cats can be. If you prepare for the move in an atmosphere of stress, your cat will pick up on this and may become increasingly anxious. If possible, preparations should be planned over a long period of time and should proceed with caution. Fetch a few cardboard boxes and put the first few things in them. Let the cat sniff them, and do not shoo it away or it might see the situation in a negative light right from the start. It is also important that your cat’s places of retreat, such as its scratching post, bed and litter tray, remain undisturbed in their usual places for as long as possible. This will give the cat a feeling of security. Only at the last minute should the cat’s belongings be taken away, ideally on moving day. This also has the significant advantage that they can be unpacked first in your new home and you do not have to search for them in the removal van.

How can I help my cat get used to its new home?

Just like in your old home, you should also set aside a separate room for the cat in your new home, at least for the day when you move in. All your cat’s belongings should be put in here and the door should remain closed. It would be unwise to try to surprise and treat your cat with completely new items. Your pet is not interested in being rewarded for all the stress it has had to endure with a better cat tree or a nicer cat bed or new toys, but will far more appreciate being surrounded by old, familiar things that have its scent on them. If you are planning to replace your cat’s belongings, for example because your new home has a different layout or because they are showing signs of wear, then it is best to delay your purchases for a few weeks. Now is the time to concentrate on making the move as stress-free as possible for your cat.

Depending on how the work in your new home is progressing, your cat should be allowed to keep its place of retreat for a few more days. It is important to spend plenty of time with your pet, even at times of considerable stress. Most cats will cope rather well with moving home after a few days and will settle in nicely. If your cat is very timid, it is a good idea to constantly reassure it and calm it down both before and after the move.

Tip: It would be in the cat’s best interest if any renovation work in your new home is already finished by the time you move in. Noise, fumes from paints and varnishes, and residues on the floor such as rubble, splashes of paint and sawdust can be harmful to cats.

When should I let my cat outside again after moving home?

Moving home can bring about a lot of changes for a cat. For example, cats that were previously allowed outside may now have to be kept indoors, and indoor cats may now be allowed out. The most difficult situation is when a cat is suddenly no longer allowed outside because its new home does not have the appropriate access or because the surrounding area is too dangerous due to roads and traffic. If this is the case, you are likely to face considerable problems. Some cats will cry and wail, start to have little “accidents” as a form of protest, or even become aggressive. If you have a balcony, you can make it cat-proof so that your cat is able to enjoy relaxing on it in safety. If you are renting your new home, do not forget to ask your landlord for information about a cat protection net or similar.

If you are planning to let your cat outside again or for the first time, it is advisable to wait a few weeks. Only when you have the feeling that the cat has really settled into its new home, should you allow it to go outdoors.

Check list: How can I make the move easier for my cat?

  1. Start a few weeks before you move home by filling up a few removal boxes.
  2. Show consideration for your cat. It should not develop negative feelings about the move right from the start.
  3. Avoid stress, because you may well pass this on to your cat.
  4. On the day of the move, the cat should be looked after by friends or kept in a separate, quiet room where it can retreat.
  5. Take your cat with you to your new home in a cat carrier in your car.
  6. Do not buy your cat new everyday items. The familiar scent of its usual belongings will have a calming effect on your pet.
  7. Your cat should have its own room in the new home during the entire unpacking and tidying process.
  8. Any renovation work should, if possible, be completed before you move in, as this can subject your cat to stress and pose potential risks.
  9. Wait at least two or preferably four weeks before letting your pet outside. Only then will it have become reasonably settled into its new surroundings.

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