Why 9 you may ask? Because cats supposedly have 9 lives, of course! (Thank you, I’ll be here all week!)
In college I moved every single year to a new apartment totalling 7 moves. Then I moved back home and back in with my parents while I saved money for my own place. This was followed by my husband and I moving into our first home, subsequently moving to AZ for a year, returning to OK and then moving into our 2nd home while we waited for house #1 to sell. Suffice it to say, I am an expert when it comes to moving my cats.
So, without further adieu, let’s dive right into my personal favorite Top 9 Tips for Moving Your Cat(s).
Tip #1: When moving there’s obviously a lot that goes into planning each aspect of how to get you, your belongings and your beloved fur babies from one place to another safely and without incident. For this reason my #1 tip is always to move your pets last! Why? In my opinion, and what has always worked best for me is to go about it this way because everything you own smells like YOU. Therefore, you want your pet to be introduced and welcomed to the new place already smelling like YOU. This should, in many cases, help reduce their stress. I always accomplished this by putting the cats in one of the bathrooms with their litter box, food and water bowls, their toys and their beds in attempts to make them as comfortable as possible while all the hussle and bussle of moving took place.
Tip #2: At your new place, set up a designated pet room or bathroom preferably in a low traffic area. Be sure to incorporate some of their items so their scent will also be in the room. Your scent plus their scent should help make the transition of “new and scary” a little bit easier.
Tip #3: To piggyback off of Tip #2, the next most important thing I always do is quarantine my pets for the first several hours all the way up to the first couple of days so they can get used to smells and sounds. The sounds are particularly important as they hear you around the house this reinforces you haven’t left them and allows them some time to calm down if you have a diva like I do…eh hem, Coco! This has always worked great for her. By the end of day 1 and sometimes day 2 she is ready to explore.
Tip #4: Now to piggyback off of Tip #3, this tip might seem a little silly, but my cats have always been like my kids so I pick each of them up separately and one at a time carry them around the new place so they can get a lay of the land and be less freaked out seeing there is no one unfamiliar on the premises. Coco literally holds onto my neck while I carry her and her eyes are as big as saucers while I talk sweetly to her showing her all is well. By the end of the tour she is usually ready to get down, go explore or go hide until she’s ready to come out on her own.
Tip #5: Don’t fully change the litter or wipe down the box yet! If you have male cats like I do and have had in the past, litter box changes are a no fly zone. I’ve had my older male cat start marking because I had completely cleaned and sanitized his litter box thinking, “This will be a nice fresh start, clean box, clean litter, and a happy kitty!” Boy was I wrong. Eventually feel free to do this after you’ve been moved in for a couple weeks and all should be fine. (If not, and your cat is missing the box or what appears to be marking, ask your vet about checking for a UTI.)
Tip #6: Treats!! Cat treats are a must. Afterall, your furry feline didn’t ask to be uprooted and moved so a few treats here and there will help to show them love and make them happy for at least a few seconds. My cats have always been big on treats whether it’s from the store or a little cube of cheese from the fridge. Bonus: Moving is HARD work so get yourself a treat while you’re at it. Ice cream is always a winner for yours truly.
Tip #7: A new toy or two? So all of my cats love toys that have some sort of feather feature. The feathers never stand a chance and always end up being pulled out on day 1. However, using this as a way to entice them to come out and explore, play and see that all is well has always warranted new feather toys that need demolishing.
Tip #8: Allow them to sleep with you or stay in your room for a night or two. Growing up my cats were always in my room with me every night. As I got older, I got tired of constantly cleaning cat hair off the bed so always made sure in my apartments they would have their own room. On occasion I would let them be in my room with me overnight. I have found that after moving allowing them in the room for a few nights helps them feel more at ease. Coco is my big, under the covers, snuggle bug so this helps both of us sleep well in a new place!
Tip #9: The last and final tip I have to share is this: do what works best for your pet! These tips I’ve shared have almost always worked best for me, but sometimes I’ve had to improvise due to circumstances beyond my control or do things in a reverse order because timing wouldn’t allow for anything else. Bottom line is: do whatever you can to lessen the stress on your pet AND yourself when it comes to moving.
All photos are the property of Passion Paws blog owner and creator and are not to be used, sold or copied without permission.