If there's one universal truth that people can agree on, it's that moving into a new home is nothing short of stressful.
This truth isn't exclusive to people either, as a big move to a new house can mess up your pet's personal schedule, especially a cat's schedule.
Luckily, there are some tried and true methods to moving with a cat that'll make the transition all the smoother, which you can find out about below. (Moving with kids or even some greenery? Check out our blogs on Moving with kids here, as well as moving with plants here.)
Understanding Feline Freak-out
It may not cross a cat owner's mind that their feline friend will be equally, or even more stressed than them when moving house.
Cats by nature are territorial, meaning your kitty's incessant rubbing on everything isn't to merely scratch an itch but to mark it as their own.
Imprinting their scent on their territory marks home for these furry felines, so when they're taken away from that territory and placed in a new environment with scents not known to them, it can be quite a jarring experience that amps up a cat's stress.
Throw that on top of furniture that's been moved around and large cardboard boxes that litter the home (that are already full that they can't jump into), it's no wonder they are a bit stressed out.
Preparing Before the Move
Before you begin the packing process, ensure your cat's ID collar has all the correct information in case of an emergency, and all its vaccinations are up to date. It's not completely uncommon for a cat to try to escape from its new home, so a microchip is a great way to keep track of where your furry friend might run off to.
Once the packing begins, ensure one room is left until the very end that contains your cat's food and water bowls, litter box, and cat bed so the feline is less distraught.
Cats can become easily upset by any change of environment, as well as loud, sudden noises. A great way to counter potential fright from noise is to play music or leave the TV running in the room you've designated to be where the cat resides. The noise from the room will hopefully drown out the noise of packing and moving elsewhere.
With all the items associated with the cat in the one room, now would be the time to introduce and familiarise a cat carrier, if your cat is not used to one. Leaving the carrier with the cat will allow the pet to realise it's not a danger to it and that it might even be a great hiding place to sneak into when it gets noisy.
Finally, ensure the cat is locked in the room once the big day arrives, as the door will typically be wide open and there will be plenty of movement where you can't keep an eye on your footwork.
Any movers that go through the house should be informed they are not to open the room containing the cat before they clear out the rest of the house, leaving that space for last.
Arriving at the New Home
Once the moving trucks and packaging have arrived, grab your cat in the carrier and all their items, as that'll be the first thing to unpack.
As you left the room containing the cat last for moving out of the old home, you'll be unpacking the room containing the cat first in the new home, as this will allow the cat to stay put in one area with all its associated items (a scratching post is a great cat toy for a stressful cat on its own).
In your new property, it will seem like a fresh start, but for your cat there may be other odours or pheromones from previous pets of the property. Consider thoroughly cleaning the new home once packing has settled, which will allow your cat to have the same fresh start you will with new surroundings.
Obviously, you can't keep your furry friend locked in the room for the entirety of your time in this new property, but you also shouldn't hasten the process of letting your cat roam free around the premises.
The cat itself may be shy to venture from the room but present the opportunity anyway by opening the door and allowing the cat to adjust to its new territory.
If your cat is an outdoor cat, ensure it remains inside for roughly a month, as it will allow the feline to grow an attachment to the house and not try to make its way back to the old stomping grounds.
Once you feel comfortable that your cat has adjusted to the new space, allow the cat to explore outside in small increments under your supervision.
Be cautious of any new potential threats to your cats in the neighbourhood also, as the neighbour’s dog or stray cats may not be as loving as your furry friend as you are. Don't forget to bring your cat inside at night to sleep too, as a cat feels safe and can let its guard down once they're sleeping indoors.
Eventually, your cat will settle into your new address once it's marked its new territory, so don't stress yourself out too badly if your pet hasn't adjusted to relocating yet. Try to maintain a consistent schedule so your cat can sense a feeling of normality in a strange time of its life and can begin to love the new property as much as you do.
For any other questions about moving home as a whole, we've put together the ultimate guide to moving house, which you can check out here.
If you need help getting your utilities connected sorted, please call MyConnect on 1300 854 478 or use the Get Connected form here! If you're unsure about using a utility connection company, hopefully, this post here can assist you.