This article is written by Erin Pidduck from our Te Puna clinic. 

Cats generally are not great supporters of change. If they had it their way they would prefer to stay where they are already settled in their surroundings. However, at some stage in their lives, most cats have to make that move to a new location.

Before relocating have your cat microchipped and on a register, if your cat is already microchipped make sure the chip is still working and your new contact details are up to date.

Making this transition as stress-free as possible can have big benefits, including reducing the risk of in-house soiling, excessive vocalizing, hiding and attempts to escape.

Here are some tips to on making that transition as stress free as possible for you and your cat.

Preparing for the move

  • Have the cats travel cage in a common room in the house with the door open, this helps the cat get used to seeing the cage and doesn’t head for the hills the morning you bring it down from the shed.
  • Have some moving boxes around a few weeks before you begin packing so your cat has time to get used these. And like most cats, may enjoy playing and hiding in the boxes.
  • Keep your cat’s daily routine as normal as you can.

Moving day

  • Consider boarding your cat at a cattery for a few days whilst you organise the house, as an option.
  • Make your cat comfortable in a room where there won’t be movers coming and going. Set them up with food/water, bedding and a litter tray. Place a sign on the door asking to keep the door closed.
  • Feed your cat a small breakfast on moving day. This can help prevent any travel sickness that may arise.
  • Refrain from opening your cat’s carrier to calm him, un till you have reached your destination. A frightened cat can be very quick to try to escape.
  • Carry extra bedding in case of accidents.
  • Cover the cage with a blanket whilst in the car and seat belt in if possible.
  • For long hauls, make sure the travel cage has a litter tray area, food and water along with soft familiar bedding.
  • Allow fresh air to circulate through the vehicle and take regular stops on the way.

Settling into the new house

  • Leave your cat in the carrier till you have a secure room set up with food/water, litter tray and bedding, also something familiar in the room can be helpful. Put that sign back up on the door about keeping the door closed.
  • Place some cat treats around the room for your cat to discover.
  • Keep your cat in the one room for his first few days in the new house. Keeping your cat in this room will make it easy to find the litter box, food and water.
  • When the house is unpacked and set up, introduce the cat to the rest of the room.
  • Keep your cat inside for 2-3 weeks before letting them outside.
  • Introduce the outside world slowly at first. Supervised visits to the great outdoors just before dinner time can help them return inside quickly for food.

All cats are different and may take different lengths of time to get used to their new environment If your cat is very skittish, nervous or easily stressed, speak to one of our nurses about using anti-anxiety medication to make the moving process easier on yourself and your cat.