Moving is already a strain for humans and can turn into stress even with the best preparation. A move with cats is a special challenge.
To make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible and your animals can quickly get used to the new environment, we give you the right tips: from the organization to the dismantling of the furniture and packing to the first time in the new home.
Cats can react completely differently to the change of location. It is therefore important that you choose the right approach for your pets.
In this article you will learn how to organize a move with cats, how to carry it out and how to facilitate the acclimatization in the new apartment or house. With the right preparation, you can save yourself and your animals a lot of stress and even prevent dangerous situations.
Preparing properly for a move with a cat
Long before the actual moving day arrives, it’s time to pack boxes, possibly sort out and dispose of one thing or another, or already move some things into the new home.
This does not escape your cats.
If you yourself are stressed, nervous and maybe even in a bad mood, this will be transmitted to the sensitive animals.
It is therefore better if you proceed in a structured way.
1: Write a list
What has to be done by when? Do you have enough boxes and packing material? Are the necessary tools available for dismantling the furniture?
2: Pack infrequently used items first.
Take a few hours each day to pack up everything you won’t need until the move. Books, DVDs, shoes and clothes that aren’t in season, cookware and linens – this way you’ll have made great progress in just a few days without having to rush.
You may even be able to move some of the boxes to the new home already.
3: Spend time with your cats
Playing and petting should not be neglected in the time leading up to the move. Spending time together will counteract stress for both you and your cats.
4: Get your cats used to transport boxes.
If these are not always open in the apartment anyway as a place of retreat for the velvet paws, it is now time to change that.
Especially when moving with longer travel time, your animals must feel comfortable in them and be able to come to rest. Make the boxes cuddly. Ideally, cats will accept them as a sleeping den.
5: Create a cat kingdom
On moving day, your cats should experience as little chaos and stress as possible.
The best way to do this is to confine them to one room ahead of time. Water, food, toys, transport boxes, litter boxes and sleeping areas should be placed in a room that can be locked on moving day and will not need to be re-entered.
Also, the advantage of having all the cat stuff in one room is that you pack it last and don’t have to gather it all up again afterwards.
6: Prepare arrival
Just like in the old apartment, your cats should be kept away from the initial chaos in the new home.
Limit them to a room that doesn’t need to be opened at first and provide everything that is necessary here.
Ideally, you should already have food and cat litter available in the new home.
Cats on moving day
Take your cats to “their kingdom,” provide food and water, and then lock the room.
Especially if you have ordered movers, the risk for careless opening is high. Since during the move the door of the apartment and the house are always open, your animals could escape.
Avoid the dangers, search and anxiety that come with this by locking the room so that only you have access. Also, inform everyone that the room is locked – for example, by posting a note with large lettering on the door.
Once the apartment is cleared out and everything is loaded, secure your cats in their boxes, put away all accessories, and move them to their new home.
Again, they should have their own kingdom – that no one enters. For the beginning, water, food, litter boxes and sleeping places are enough.
After that, you can start setting up furniture and unpacking boxes.
Our tip: It goes without saying that your animals should travel with you and not in the hold of a transporter. For longer journeys, it may also be a good idea to have a veterinarian prescribe a mild sedative beforehand.
Getting cats settled in
To make the move as relaxing as possible for you and your cats, keep them in their own space for the first few days in their new home.
Once most of the furniture is in place and cabinets are put away, you can let them explore.
In the meantime, you should integrate already familiar details. Have water and food always been in the kitchen, the litter box in the bathroom and the scratching post in the living room?
Then try to keep this arrangement.
The faster your cat will find its way around and feel comfortable.
Also, do not change everything at once. Even if it is tempting to put a new cat tree, new cat beds and toys already – familiar objects and smells help your cat to get used to them.
Also, give your cats plenty of attention.
Curious animals will go exploring on their own and reserve their favorite spots. Fearful velvet paws may not even leave the room.
If this is the case: sit with them, lure them with treats and convey confidence and relaxation. Also, leave the room door open so your cat can get out and into her retreat at any time.
Frequently asked questions about moving with cats
Questions always come up when moving with pets, and we answer them for you here.
How long to keep cats inside after moving?
Cats (with outdoor access) are territorial animals. Therefore, if you let your cat outside too quickly after a move, he may try to get back home.
This is extremely dangerous for your pet.
Therefore, wait until your cat is completely comfortable in the new home. Offer her variety, give her attention and spoil her.
Only when your cat really feels at home, you can risk the free walk.
As a rough guide, you can estimate a month for self-confident and very affectionate animals.
If this is not the case, it should be at least three months until the first outdoor access.
Is a move bad for cats?
This varies from individual to individual. Some cats have no problem with a change of location as long as their owner is present.
This is especially true if they have a very good bond with you and are kept indoors only.
Others, on the other hand, react very sensitively, are unsettled and need more patience to get used to the move.
How do cats behave after a move?
Self-confident cats explore their new environment cautiously, but curiously. They want to discover everything, play in the moving boxes and enjoy their new environment.
Others become particularly affectionate, following you wherever you go and letting you know they find the situation suboptimal by meowing continuously.
Still others may be shy and fearful, hiding and avoiding you.
Just like humans, cats deal with changes in their environment in completely different ways.
Your job is to respond individually to the animal and make the change as comfortable as possible.
What calms cats after a move?
In short, as many familiar smells, objects and sounds as possible, as well as proximity to you and familiar pets.
Do you keep multiple cats or cats and dogs that get along well? If the velvet paws move with their entire family and have proximity to them, the change of location is much easier.
Does your cat have favorite blankets, toys or feels especially comfortable in its sleeping cave? Then you should provide that in the new home.
How can I make the move easier for cats?
Is your cat curious, brave, happy about new influences, approaches people joyfully and has no problem with driving?
Then the move will also cause little anxiety.
In case of more sensitive animals, however, it may be necessary to use tranquilizers from the vet, avoid any stress and use pheromone plugs, for example.
How long does cat meow after moving?
Some do not meow at all, others do not stop even after weeks of complaining.
A decisive factor can be the outdoor access.
Has your cat been allowed to go outside every day and is not used to being indoors all the time?
Offer her a variety of indoor activities. Try walks on a leash, so that your cat gets to know the environment in a safe way.
What you should never do is open the door and let your cat out because of meowing.
A cat in this condition will not just look around the new garden and after 5 five minutes run back to the new home satisfied.
The meowing can bring you in the long run to the edge of despair. You still have to have the staying power on this one if you don’t have a cat-proof garden.
Should I have my cats taken care of when I move?
If you do not have the possibility to house your cats in a separate room, if the move is very complicated or if it will take a long time, you can consider taking care of them.
If there are familiar people who have already taken care of the animals, this would be ideal. However, it can be even more confusing and unsettling for your cats if they are separated from you for several days and then moved to a strange environment.
So here you have to weigh up for yourself what is best for your velvet paws.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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