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  • How to Move House With Your Cat – Part 3 (Settling In To Your New Home)

    Oct 13
    An orange male classic tabby cat.
    Image via Wikipedia

    Having moved a few times with a few different cats, both within the same neighborhood and to a new country, I have taken advice from a variety of sources, and have seen what works. I’d like to share some tips and tricks here that can help to make moving with your cat a smoother and more pleasant experience. Since this is a lot of information, I’ve split this into three parts: Preparing for the Move, During the Move, and Settling In to Your New Home.

    Part 3 – Settling In to Your New Home

    When you arrive at your new home, bring your cat inside and get her situated before you start moving your own things in. If this was a short move and you were able to bring your cat’s things over ahead of time, that’s great! If not, choose a room for her, like a spare bedroom or enclosed den. Make sure any windows are closed and that the door to the room latches securely so that your cat cannot get out.

    By putting your cat’s familiar things in the room – food dishes, toys, litter box, scratching post, blankets, etc, your cat will begin to feel at home. Another great idea is to use some Feliway Diffusers or Cat Pheremone Spray in the room to give it that “happy cat” smell. Most cats will relax quickly in this environment, and you will be able to get started with moving your things in. Just be sure your cat is securely in the room until the movers are done and the doors to the house can also be kept closed.

    Your cat might prefer to stay in his special room for a while at first, and may even be reluctant to explore the rest of the house for the first day or two. Remember that cats need to be able to establish their territory, and may not be willing to venture out into unknown places right away.

    Once your cats do start wandering around the house, try to keep them inside at least for a time. I have been told that it can take cats up to a month to reset the internal “homing device” that lets then find their way home, and we have all heard stories about cats showing up in their old neighborhoods, weeks or even months after they have moved. Don’t let your cat be one of them!

    Feliway is also quite useful around the house as a whole, especially if you have more than one cat. If your multiple cats are trying to establish territory, it could potentially lead to fighting and/or spraying. The cat pheromones in Feliway will help to calm the cats so that they are less likely to have problems.

    Another thing to watch for in your new home is hiding places, where your cat may go in order to feel safe until the space becomes more familiar to him. Closets, fireplaces, underneath furniture, and other smaller spaces are all likely hiding spots. After one move, when Eric seemed to have disappeared, we combed the house top to bottom, until we finally discovered that he had climbed part way up the chimney. A few hours, a dish of food, and a lot of coaxing later, a very gray cat finally emerged (Eric is an orange tabby!). Cats are masters of finding places to squeeze into!

    Once you have a chance, look for a good veterinarian in your new neighborhood. Neighbors, local acquaintances, or even your old vet can be great sources of recommendations. But if you don’t know where to go, check out some of the review sites like yelp.com or local websites for reviews. Feel free to visit and interview a few different vets in the area if you have more than one to choose from. You should be sure you feel comfortable both with the doctors and the offices. Once you have chosen, bring in your records from your previous vet, or have them faxed or mailed. Schedule a checkup so that you and your cat can get more acquainted with the new vet. Also remember to change your address on any microchip registrations, pet insurance, or anyone else that needs your pet’s information.

    Cats generally adapt very well to new places once they have a little time to get settled in. A happy cat truly helps to make your new house feel like home!

    See Part 1 of this series: Preparing For The Move

    See Part 2 of this series: During The Move

    See my Squidoo Lens – How to Move House With Your Cat

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