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Moving Houses with a Cat: How to Make It Work for Everyone

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No matter how different cats might be from one another, they all have one thing in common: they don’t like change. This little trait makes moving with your feline friend particularly challenging and stressful.

Dogs are typically happy to hop in the moving truck and find out what the next adventure holds. However, moving with cats can be trying for everyone involved. Fortunately, there are ways you can make moving with cats a bit more tolerable for the entire family.


Before the Move Begins

Before you begin the moving process, start thinking about how you’ll “cat-proof” your new home. Even if your cat has been an indoor/outdoor cat, kitties who go outside right after moving to a new home risk becoming disoriented and getting lost.

With this in mind, you’ll need a safe place to sequester the cat while the hubbub of moving continues. A small bedroom or closet will work beautifully for this. Think of it as the “safe kitty zone” and have a plan in place before you move for where it will be and how you’ll alert others that they shouldn’t go in or out of the room.

During the Moving Process

The most critical component of moving with cats is being expedient and decisive. Don’t keep your cat in his or her carrier for longer than is necessary. Leave the cat and a few choice pieces of his or her “furniture” (scratching posts, beds, etc.). These should be the last things that are moved from the house.

Once the rest of the home is packed up and ready to go, place your cat in a safe, hard-sided carrier. Then put him or her on a stable surface (such as the floor) in the car. Cats shouldn’t be in a moving truck. The risk of fumes or falling boxes is all too real.

If your cat is highly stressed, you may want to cover the carrier with a light, breathable sheet. This will cut down on visual stimuli.

When you get to your new home, unload the cat first and place him or her in the “safe kitty zone”. Leave food, water bowls, a bed, and a piece of furniture (so the cat has some place to hide) in said room. Tape a note on the outside of the door so that movers and friends know to keep it firmly shut.

Over the next several days, take proactive measures to help your cat settle into the new home. This is a complicated process. Simple things like sticking to the cat’s regular feeding routine, playing with the cat, using stress-reducing pheromones, and bringing old, familiar furniture into the house can all help the cat feel safe and at ease in his or her new location.

Moving with Cats: It Doesn’t Have to be a Hairy Experience

Even if your cat doesn’t appreciate change, you can find a way to move with Fluffy that doesn’t unnecessarily stress them or you. By following these tips, you can make your move safe and simple for everyone involved.

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