How to help your cat adjust to a new home?

If you have a pet, you probably do as much as you can to make their life as comfortable as possible. However, when the time comes to relocate to another home, people are often overwhelmed with so many tasks and forget about their pet’s feelings. Like humans, animals are very much aware of the change in their environment. Cats are very attached to their living space and live their life with an established routine that’s very important to them. Any changes cause them a lot of stress, gaming them nervous, sad, and even aggressive. That’s why you should prepare for moving with a pet and be ready for possible challenges. Here’s how to help your cat adjust to a new home and make the transition stress-free and smooth.

Why relocations are stressful for cats?

As we mentioned, cats enjoy their everyday routine and almost never step away from it on their own. Moving house is an event that brings rapid changes in their life, so cats may recognize it as a huge problem. They don’t know anything about the new environment and can’t come back to their old place, which causes them a lot of stress. As you are moving house in just one day, and can’t do much about it, you can focus on the period that comes after the move. There are ways to help your cat adjust to a new home and establishing the routine at another address. 

Make a moving plan

When moving with a pet, you need to be as organized as possible. Make your move simple and easy, by planning all the details in advance. The reason is reducing the stress and minimizing the last-minute rush. If you get stressed and nervous – your cat will be anxious, too. If you’ve had your pet for a long time, it will recognize your feelings and become nervous as well. Therefore, make a plan long before you start your journey to the new home. Make a list of all moving tasks, so you can finish them on time and have a smooth moving day.

Don’t change the routine

One of the most important things in relocating with a cat is sticking to their routine of feeding, sleeping, and going out. So, to make the transition easier on your pet, make sure you do these tasks, as usual – not changing the timing, as well as your cat’s bowls, toys, and bed. This will help them feel secure even though the environment is changing.

Familiarize with moving boxes

Cats can react to new and strange objects in familiar surroundings. That’s why you should start gradually bringing and packing boxes, and let them stay around your old home. This way your cat will get used to their presence, which will make the moving and unpacking period a lot easier on them.

An example of how to help your cat adjust to a new home by letting it stay around moving boxes
To help your cat adjust to a new home, let it be around the moving boxes days before the move. This will help them familiarize themselves and stay relaxed.

Hire professionals

To make the move hassle-free and smooth, you need to hire professionals to help you out. Make sure you do some research on Verified Movers and choose the best moving company according to your needs and relocation type. Experienced and reliable movers will take away your furniture and moving boxes quickly, without disturbing your pet with noise and mess.

Travel together

As the moving period can be pretty stressful, and some cats are not used to traveling, it’s best you travel together when moving. No matter how long is the drive to the new home, make sure you make the travel comfortable and easy for your cat. Get a secure carrier and keep your pet safe while traveling. Also, don’t forget to keep it hydrated, too, as they can dehydrate due to stress.

Remember: It’s a good idea to bring the carrier in your old house days before the moving day. Keep it open and leave some treats inside, so your cat can come in and out and familiarize you with the carrier. Be sure to include some toys, too, so the carrier feels fun and comfortable. This way the travel will not be that difficult and stressful.

Make the moving day as relaxed  and safe as possible

The biggest stress in the moving process is surely the moving day. Movers going in and out, you traveling to the new house – all of these things can affect your cat negatively. So, to help your cat adjust to a new home, make sure it doesn’t experience a lot of stress on a moving day. Try to keep your cat secluded in another room while the boxes and furniture are being carried out. Also, it is important to keep your home and vehicle safe – a scared cat will most likely try to run away. And finally, keep the meals simple and small. Don’t risk stomach problems as cats can get sick due to stress or anxiety.

Get to know the new home step by step

A new, big home is something your cat is not familiar with, and will probably feel anxious and scared, not ready to explore. That’s why it’s best to let it see the new home gradually. At first, keep your cat in one room, and open the doors to other rooms as they get familiar with the previous one. This way, if your cat gets scared of something in a new room, it can run back to the safe place – the first room they got familiar with.

Make the new space familiar

The biggest mistake when moving into a new home is replacing all furniture with new pieces, along with your cat’s items. Cats are very attached to their items and can recognize them by smell. That’s why you should keep some old things to help your cat adjust to a new home. Keep your cat bed, toys, bowls, and other items, so it can smell and find them in the new house. This way the new environment will not feel that strange and the adjustment process will be much faster.

Unpack before the cat arrives at the new home

One more way to make the new home more familiar to your pet is that you unpack before your cat arrives. You can ask a family member or a good friend to take care of your cat until you unpack. Also, you can keep your kitty in one room, until you unpack the other rooms. Then, let it gradually explore other rooms one by one.

Cat-proof your new home

To avoid problems and accidents, make sure your new home is safe and cat-proofed. This includes:

  • tucking away electrical cords;
  • protecting outlets; 
  • securing windows and doors, as well as fences and gates in your backyard;
  • removing poisonous plants;
  • getting rid of any pest control substances or traps;
  • keeping chemicals and cleaning products in a closed cabinet.

All of these steps will create a safe environment for your cat and give you peace of mind, too.

a cat looking through a window
Cats tend to run away when they are scared, so be sure to keep your new home safe.

Contact your vet

Contacting your vet before the move is an essential step in a good moving plan. You should talk about the move and get additional advice. Also, pick up all the necessary documents or prescriptions in case you need to find a new vet. Furthermore, if you think your cat is easily scared and nervous, talk to your vet about some medication you can give to your pet. These can help pets deal with the moving process better.

Recognize the signs of stress

As well as humans, cats can also feel unwell and go through some health issues that happen as a result of stress. Learn how to recognize these problems and lep your car by comforting it or calling a vet in case these become serious:

  • runny eyes and nose
  • diarrhea
  • excessive grooming
  • drooling or panting
  • dehydration – rare or no potty breaks
  • lack of appetite.

All of these signs are quite serious, so be sure you contact your vet and help your cat on time.

a cat feeling sad about moving to a new home
Every change in your cat’s behavior needs to be taken seriously.

Have patience

The common thing when moving with a pet is for them to start behaving differently in the first days after the move. Excessive scratching, unusual vocalization, aggression, hiding, and similar signs are very common with stressed cats. These behavioral changes are probably temporary, so it’s important to have patience and understanding. Instead of reacting negatively, try to comfort your cat and spend more time together in your new home. If possible, don’t leave your cat alone for a long time, until it completely gets used to the new living space. Love and support will help your cat adjust to a new home in no time.

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