Moving with your animal
Suffice it to say that moving is exhausting. For our feline companions however, it can be much worse… For a majority of cats, a move can be very difficult to experience. They attach allot of importance to the stability of their territory and routine. Without even talking about the stress of the move itself, your cat will also have allot of work to do setting up a whole other routine with new habits in a new territory.
The importance of your cat’s solitude.
There are ways to help your cat better navigate the stressful transition of a move. The day of the move, isolate your cat in a room (before you leave the old house and after you get to the new one). The bathroom is the perfect spot since it will be the least travelled area movers will use to move furniture and boxes. Make sure to put your cat’s litter box in one corner and their water bowl and food bowl in the opposite corner or on the counter if your cat can reach that high. The food and litter must be placed separately since a cat will refuse to eat or drink if they are too close to where they do their business. Make sure to lighten up the situation by offering your animal what they like most: it can be tuna, pieces of cooked chicken or ham, or their favorite treats! These simple gestures will help your cat create a positive association with their new territory. Adding new games can also help reduce stress before the move and as well as after the move, as it will combine the new environment with something fun.
When the hubbub of the move is over, that is, all the movers and/or the people who offered to help have left your new home, and most of the furniture has been placed, you can free your cat from his isolation room (if they is calm). If your animal stays in a corner, moves around while being low to the floor and does not eat, they are not ready to explore the rest of their new home. Wait until you see a display of calmer behaviour, at which point they will explore their environment room by room at their own pace. Some cats will spend several days or even weeks before feeling comfortable in a new territory, while others who are more assertive and curious will want nothing more than to go discover the novelty. Most of you know their cats well enough to know if they have good adaptability. During this period, if your animal refuses to eat and especially to drink for more than two days, quickly consult a veterinarian. Do not wait until your cat is dehydrated.
The importance of letting your cat explore freely.
When your cat explores their new environment, let them do so freely without following them. Otherwise, they may feel like you're trying to protect them from danger. Instead, try to adopt the same routine you had in the old house, while watching your cat out of the corner of your eye. In doing so, your cat will understand that, although the territory has changed, the routine remains relatively the same which serve as a reassurance. Do not make your cat explore a particular place. Let them visit and explore at their own pace.
Why not have treats all over the house? That being done, your cat will discover that in this new house, there are treats in every room! Wow! It's really more interesting than the old territory, right?
The sooner you unpack your things and settle in, the better your cat will be because every time you move a piece of furniture, you change the configuration of its territory. In the weeks following the move, try not to relocate the furniture to give your cat a chance to tame their new home and establish a routine that to them is so precious. As most cats find comfort in heights, including a cat tree greatly helps them develop a point of interest and reduce their anxiety, especially if you have multiple cats.
Adding disposable litters to different rooms in your home will also help your cat become familiar with their new environment. Add some of the same grains as was in their old litter box in order to transfer their odour.
Taking time to prepare your companion's arrival in their new home is worth the investment in time and energy and they will know how to pay you back in kind!