If you’ve ever moved from one home to another, you know stressful it can be — for you and your animals! Cats can be especially nervous when you move into a new house because they are highly territorial.
The best way to help your cat relax is to confine him before and after moving day in a “safe room” outfitted with food, water, a litter box, a scratching post, a bed and toys. Put a “do not disturb” sign on the door.
Confining your cat not only reduces his stress, but also prevents him from slipping out, which is a danger at both the old home and the new. Your cat could easily become scared, take off and get lost.
Your cat should be confined in his safe room the day before packing begins, moved to his new home in a carrier, and then confined again in his new safe room until the moving is over, the furniture arranged and most of the dust settled.
After you arrive at your new home, don’t pull your cat out of his carrier. Instead, put the carrier in his safe room, open the carrier door, and let him come out into the room when he wants to. After he’s a little calmer, you can coax him out with some fresh food or treats if you want. But don’t rush him and don’t drag him out, or you may be bitten or scratched. Trying to force a scared and stressed-out cat to do anything he doesn’t want to do is hazardous to your health.
When you have the rest of the house settled, open the door to the safe room and let your cat explore his new home, on his terms. You can find more tips on moving with cats at fearfreehappyhomes.com.
There’s more – including a guide to parrot toys – in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.