If relocation is a stressful event for people, you can only imagine how cats put up with it. They don’t get the proper chance to say goodbye to the home that used to be their entire world, then they are transported in carriers, and finally, they arrive at a home they know nothing about. Can you imagine how terrified they might be? As a cat-owner, you are obliged to help your cat adjust to a new home, and if you follow our advice, you will do it with ease.
Before you reach your new home
When you decide it is time for you and your feline friend to change homes, you should arrange a visit to the vet and ask them for advice on how to help your cat get through this transition. While you are there, check its medical condition and update the tag (it should have your new address and phone number). You can also ask for your vet’s opinion about pheromone products that can help your cat feel calm while in the carrier during transit. If they approve, you can also use some of the product to make your new place smell familiar – that might ease the adaptation.
During the ride to your new destination, your cat should be confined in its carrier at all times. Only when you enter your new home should you allow your pet to leave the carrier.
Safety should be your number one concern
Before you move to your new place, you should check whether it’s safe for your cat to be in. Cat-proof the space and think of the areas that your pet would find interesting for spending time in. Remove all the sharp and dangerous objects and make sure that chemicals and toxic substances are out of your pet’s reach.
When you bring your cat in
Don’t expect your cat to feel comfortable right away. Before letting them out of the carrier, close all the doors and windows, and prepare the litter box. Your pet might be terrified to be in a place they cannot recognize, so their instincts might be telling them to run away.
Allow your pet enough time to explore their new home. You can expect all sorts of reactions at this point. Some cats will hide underneath the bed and will not leave for hours. Others will carefully explore every corner, while some might run around frantically trying to find a way to escape. Their reaction mostly depends on their character and previous experiences. Those who have recently been separated from their parents or friends might find this new change somewhat overwhelming, and they will certainly need more time to adapt. Try to give them as much of your love as you can!
Cats should remain indoors for a while
The more traumatic this change is to your cat, the more time should they spend inside the new home before going out for the first time. Some will need two weeks to get to know the place and start feeling comfortable inside it, while for others, we could be talking about months.
Start gradually by introducing your cat to one room at a time. The other ones should be closed while they explore the current one.
What can you do to help them adapt?
Pets like familiar surroundings because they make them feel safe. This is why you should take their old stuff to the new place. Unlike kids who might be thrilled to find a new toy waiting for them after the relocation, cats will find peace in what they already know. So, don’t get them new toys, blankets, and other stuff. Don’t even wash them before the relocation because animals get attached to smells. You can leave your old piece of clothing smelling like you for them to play when you are not around.
Get your cat a proper bed
If you feel like celebrating moving to your new place with your feline friend, you can treat them before leaving the old one. For instance, you can get them an anti-anxiety cat bed that they can use for a few weeks before the relocation. It will be marked by your cat’s pheromones, so they will find it comforting to spend time in the bed afterward. An anti-anxiety cat bed is actually the best present you can give to your pet for this occasion. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you shouldn’t hesitate to get this bed:
- the cat follows you everywhere;
- his/her body trembles all the time;
- your cat is more aggressive than before;
- it can’t sit still, or
- your cat refuses to use the litter box.
Other details that can help your cat adjust to a new home
Make sure your cat has enough room for running around, climbing, jumping, and all the activities that make your feline friend happy and satisfied. Take her scratching post from the previous place, and you will both protect them from scratching themselves and prevent them from damaging your furniture. Also, they will be able to maintain their claws sharp, which boosts their confidence and helps them adapt more quickly.
Don’t change their food
After your cat sets its paws in your new apartment, you should offer them some water and avoid giving them food for at least an hour. Your friend needs time to rest from the trip. After that, you should provide them with the food they are used to (served in their familiar bowl, of course). This is not the best time to experiment with new food brands and products.
Give them a little bit more attention
The transition to a new home might not be easy for your cat, but even then, bad cat behavior is not acceptable. Give your pet a bit more attention than you usually do, and make sure it really has all that it needs, but don’t spoil it now. Every pet needs to feel that you are the one who is in control. That will also help your cat adjust to a new home.