Most cats aren’t fans of change. It’s easy enough for us to adjust to a new living environment but when you’ve become accustomed to basking in the sunrays of your favourite windowsill, scoping out the neighbours’ lawns to find the best places to explore without being harassed by dogs and snoozing in your favourite cupboard, a move can be quite traumatising and overwhelming.
While moving can be very stressful for your feline friend, it’s important to be mindful of a few things after the move.
The Initial Introduction
Moving into a new environment can be very unsettling for cats. The easiest way to introduce them to the strange new smells and sounds is to allow them access to one room at a time. This new ‘safe space’ is vital for helping them feel safe in a confined space and will serve as a refuge even after they’ve settled in. Place the cat bed, litterbox, food, water and toys in the ‘safe space’ with them to help them feel more at ease.
After a few days, have the cat explore a new room in the house. The key is to let them explore on their own and in their own time. Typically, they will try and hide in dark spaces like under beds and behind sofas – just let them be. Your feline friend will eventually come out when she feels safe.
It’s always a good idea to place familiar smelling objects in the ‘safe space’ with your cat. This can be anything from her favourite toys and blankets to an old sweater with your scent on it. Since cats have highly sensitive noses which help them figure out if something is safe or not, it will provide a sense of comfort during this time.
Sticking to Routines
Stick to your cat’s feeding, playtime, cuddling and bedtime schedule. There must be some form of constant during this time. The rapid change can be very stressful, and while you can’t make the move easier for them, at least they have their favourite TLC sessions to look forward to, which will help them feel safe and loved.
After a move, cats will likely act out due to stress. However, taking the cat from fight-or-flight mode will take patience and some additional TLC. The trick is to disturb your cat’s routine as little as possible and keep her in a separate room surrounded by her toys and items with familiar smells until he/she comes out of their shell again.