On the list of most traumatic challenging experiences humans face, relocating to a new home ranks high, coming in only after the death of a loved one or divorce. It is a stressful experience that few people find remotely enjoyable, and most would avoid it if possible. Pets, especially cats, are in tune with their humans’ emotions and will pick up on your heightened stress levels. They internalize these feelings and may start displaying different behavior patterns, which is their way of showing you they are also stressed and need reassurance.
Here is some advice to make relocating with a cat less stressful than it needs to be:
Take care of your kitty
As soon as a cat senses approaching change, they might go off their food, start behaving differently, or become ill. This is the body’s way of reacting to perceived stress. Such changes can have a negative effect on your cat’s long-term health. It can trigger autoimmune responses that might cause permanent health damage. A high-quality feline immune support supplement will maintain your cat’s immune system during this time, helping it fight off potential infections. There are many popular brands that offer cat supplements to support its health and ensure an optimum lifecycle. Some of the brands you can look for include Vet’s Best, Scruffy Paws Nutrition, Pet Naturals, Spectrin and and Nature Vet.
Cats that do not eat when stressed are more susceptible to bladder and kidney problems. They get most of their liquid intake from cat food. Therefore, not eating could lead to dehydration or kidney and bladder infections that require veterinary intervention.
If you find the cat being clingy during this time, ensure you give it some extra attention. It is typically caused by separation anxiety, and your kitty might be worried it will be left behind when you move.
The long packing-up process may start well in advance of your move. Expect to see a reaction from your cat once you start packing boxes with household goods and possessions. Allow your cat to keep you company while you are packing, maintaining a calm atmosphere, and giving the feline some extra attention.
As we know, most cats love empty boxes. Giving your cat one to play with while you pack might be a perfect solution. It could make a cat feel more confident about what is happening and be a welcome distraction. Additionally, giving a cat its own box will hopefully prevent it from playing with all your boxes. Seal boxes as soon as they are full to avoid having your cat ‘unpack’ them on your behalf.
Utilize one room, preferably a bedroom, on moving day to keep your cat safe. With so much traffic in and out of the house from movers, your cat might slip outdoors to escape the stress. Keep doors and windows of the selected room closed and leave a note on the door to remind everyone that the door must remain shut.
Put a cat carrier, bedding, food and water bowls, and a litterbox in your selected room, so your cat is comfortable. Once everything else has been loaded into the moving truck, allow the movers to empty this room. During this time, place your cat in its carrier somewhere safe, such as in your car, while you wait. Remember that a locked vehicle is not ideal during extreme weather conditions, so you might need to consider somewhere else to keep the cat carrier while you finalize having your furniture and boxes loaded.
Arriving at your new home
Once you and the movers arrive at your new home, get them to unpack the same furniture from the room your cat was in first. Ensure that conditions in this new room are similar, with doors and windows remaining shut throughout. Put the cat carrier in this room and open its door. Do not force the cat out of its carrier. Instead, give it time to calm down and exit the safety of its carrier when ready.
Offer your cat some food and water by leaving full bowls behind while you attend to other tasks, such as directing movers to the correct rooms with your boxes and furniture. Keep checking in to see that your cat is fine, always ensuring that the door remains tightly shut.
Becoming familiar with new surroundings
Once everyone else has left your new home, let the cat out to explore its new environment. Keep windows and external doors closed so your kitty cannot bolt. Understand that your cat is feeling anxious and wary of its new surroundings and needs time to adjust.
High-strung cats might look for somewhere to hide, such as between appliances in the laundry room. Getting a feline out of such a predicament is challenging and probably the last thing you feel like doing after a stressful move. It might be preferable to open the house up to your feline in stages, allowing them to acclimate with each incremental increase in home access. Always remain calm in the cat’s presence and use a reassuring tone of voice when communicating with them.