The Bekins Blog
4 Ways to Prepare Your Cat for a Move to a New Home
Most cats are creatures of habit who don’t appreciate big changes. Since moving with your cat is a very big change, expect your cat to have some issues on moving day. Manage your cat’s fear, discomfort and annoyance by preparing your precious feline in advance.
Start a few weeks before the move to begin acclimating your cat to the changes that are coming. Listed below are some smart ways to help when moving with your cat.
Plan a Cat Carrier Adjustment Period
Whether you travel by vehicle or plane, your cat will need to be in a pet carrier. A few weeks before moving day, select the carrier that will serve as your cat’s safe space. It should be approved for airline travel if necessary. The carrier should also be well-ventilated and roomy enough for your cat to stretch, stand up and turn around.
Several weeks before moving with your cat, set the carrier in an area of your home where your cat feels safe. Place a warm blanket and a treat or toy inside the carrier, and then leave the door open. There’s no need to force the cat to go inside the carrier right away. Let your kitty discover the carrier on its own.
As the cat grows more comfortable with the carrier, you can begin to feed one meal a day in the carrier. Place a small amount of water in a bowl next to the food. Close the door of the carrier and latch it while your cat eats. These steps help your cat get used to eating in the carrier.
Introduce Kitty to the Open Road
Acclimate your cat to car travel once your pet accepts the cat carrier. Place some clothes or fabric with your scent inside the carrier to help soothe the cat if he’s never ridden in a car before. You can also loosely wrap the carrier in a blanket that smells of home. Don’t place food or water in the carrier on the first few trips.
Start with small road trips around the block. Make sure the carrier is firmly placed in the seat and secured.
No matter how loudly he howls, don’t let him out of the carrier to wander in the car. This could cause a serious accident or injury to you and your feline. Try to play music, talk to your cat or provide some other distraction if your cat is seriously anxious.
When you return home, set the carrier back inside the house and open the door. Allow the cat to exit the carrier on its own, but be there to offer pats and encouragement if he wants affection. A few uneventful short trips in the car will help most cats understand that everything will be OK.
Check With Your Vet for Anti-Anxiety Meds
Watching the cat’s behavior on the trial road trips will let you know if your pet is going to be super stressed over car or airplane travel. If you think the anxiety will be too much for your cat, discuss the situation with your veterinarian.
Veterinarians can provide calming agents and sedatives for cats. Your vet is the best person to prescribe these medications for your pet since the vet’s office knows your cat’s medical history and health risks.
Another tip is to purchase soothing cat pheromone spray from your vet. When cats rub their faces on each other (and you), they release those feel-good pheromones as they show affection. The sprays are familiar and calming to most cats. Spray the car and the carrier with them as directed when moving with your cat.
Bring a Good Box Game
Cats and boxes naturally go together. However, if a bunch of boxes suddenly show up all over the house a day before the movers arrive, your cat may suddenly hate boxes and decide to disappear. Prepare your cat for box heaven by bringing the cardboard containers inside your home a few weeks before the packing starts.
Empty boxes standing all over the house will intrigue the cat. Let your pet explore the boxes while you place random items inside them. Play a few relaxed games with the cat. Your cat will soon view the boxes as familiar items and may have a much easier time tolerating the real packing event.
It’s also wise to prepare your cat for unfamiliar litter boxes. If your cat will be going in one-time-use litter boxes as you travel to your new home, let your cat use one of the disposable litter boxes before the move. Place the strange cat litter pan near your cat’s old pan. If your cat only uses the old pan and won’t try the new one, remove the old pan to encourage your cat to try something different.
Contact Bekins Van Lines, Inc., for more tips and resources for your relocation and moving with your cat. We offer moving and packing guides as well as all of the moving supplies you need to pack up your household efficiently and securely.