Moving with a cat is stressful for human and cat. The human stress is doubled. We are stressed by the move and the thought that our cats are upset. The problem starts way before the actual move. Well it did for me.
If you decide to move home or have to move home and if you have a choice and if you are living in a big city….the great difficulty, initially, is how to best accommodate your cat companion. I mean…you’re almost buying the place for your cats!
But you have to think about the cats if you are a decent cat caretaker and the first call is safety. I know I go on about it, but the best solution in the city is a house and catio. Finn got it right. Finn, by the way, is a PoC regular and he lives in Denmark with his cats.
I have not got it right but I have the best compromise, a large apartment on the ground floor with traffic no where to be seen. In expensive areas you will have to compromise and a place as far from traffic as possible is the first choice if the cats are going out. Or a leash might do and finally there is the full-time indoor route but I resist that choice because I like to do best for the cats provided they are reasonably safe when outside.
Back to the move….and Finn. Finn called it “Cat Relocation Anxiety“. Nice description. The thing is, cats do like the security of routine, as do we come to think of it. And relocating chucks everything into the air metaphorically speaking. That said a bit if change is beneficial sometimes.
Americans, like Europeans, are a mobile society. Apparently, in the US, one in five families move each year and there are lots of domestic cats in America, so lots of moving with a cat. Cats can be frightened by a move but it depends, of course, on the individual cat and how the move is dealt with.
When moving with a cat, it is probably wise to confine your cat to a room in the house/apartment when the removals people are in with his or her litter box, food and water etc.
The actual transportation is common sense but once in the new home the argument is that they should be given a good time to acclimatize to their new surroundings. One hidden issue for cats is that they are territorial and a move removes them from their established home range. I would suspect some cats would simply hide under something initially and gradually start to explore – it depends on the cat’s personality, is she bold or shy?
Received wisdom says that cats should be kept in for about two weeks or more after a move. This stops them panicking when going out into new outdoor surroundings or perhaps, even, heading off home! I intend to put a leash on my three legged cat and walk him around the place. Not only will it keep him safe it will probably help with introductions to the neighbors.
It probably goes without saying that before, during and after the move we should do all we can to make our cats as calm and relaxed as possible. That means giving them more of our time, some treats and play, and when in the new home keeping them surrounded by their familiar items.
Selected associated pages for moving with a cat:
Moving With A Cat to Home Page