How to make a house move as smooth as possible for your cat

  • 16.April 2018
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When your house hunting is over and you have decided which property will become your next home, when the real estate agent has assisted you through the motions of all that is required for the signing of the Promise of Sale, you must, of necessity, start planning the move.

As the carton boxes pile up in the hallway, as you start discussing what to keep and what not, what will be indispensable to retain for the next house and what is completely superfluous, you will notice a pair or more of little eyes quizzing you. Sitting at your feet, sniffing at the empty boxes and hovering around uncertainly, your pets will be sensing that something is about to happen. Even your cockatoo, sitting on its perch will probably squawk loudly to participate in the turmoil.

Prepare for when panic begins

In the process of packing, you may observe them trying to figure our what is happening. Not all pets will react immediately. A bird will not behave in the same way as a cat. Cats, for instance, will sense change immediately and are most likely to be most disquieted by a move. They are very territorial and will not take happily to strangers walking around the house, nor will they enjoy seeing their usual haunts being moved around and removed.

Some cats are known to actually abandon their home if the disruption is big enough. A case in point, is something which happened to us when, many years ago, we needed to have part of a house roof changed. Although we were still living in the house itself, the comings and goings of workers, the dust, tools and noise were so disturbing that our house cat literally up and left us. I would see him sitting in a neighbour’s garden, quietly observing us and only approaching the house when hungry. If I so much as lifted him and tried to bring him back inside, he would panic and flee.

Get everything ready in the new home to minimise the trauma

During a recent move, I had to coordinate moving our two geriatric cats very carefully and with the least possibly trauma. So I left them in the back yard of the old house while the movers were in action. There were still sitting behind the glass doors, noting every move but at least they were ensconced in their known space, away from trouble, and open doorways.

In the meantime, I had prepared their new outdoor space in the new house. Once the movers were out of the way and heading for the new house with all our possessions in boxes and all furniture out of the way, I packed the cats in their carry baskets and drove them, in my car to the new house. I only released them once they were in their new outdoor space. I made sure there was no way of their running away or jumping over fences into new neighbour’s gardens. I knew that if they got lost in the back gardens of the new neighbourhood, they would never find their way back to us.

Remember not to change anything linked to the cat’s ‘personal’ routine. For the first few days after the move, it must be fed the same food, find the same brand of litter, sleep on the same bedding and drink the same kind of water/milk as usual. If you usually groom it daily, do try to make time to groom it as usual. The cat will soon settle as long as its basics and its family are around to reassure it.

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Marika Azzopardi
Post by Marika Azzopardi

Marika Azzopardi is a freelance writer and journalist. A frequent contributor to national English language papers and magazines, she writes about a bevy of topics including art, people and life in general. She is also the author of children’s books and short stories, delving into adult fiction from time to time.

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