Moving houses with your cat

Cats are creatures of habit and moving houses can be a big deal. This month we had Lucky the cat who found the move so stressful, he became severely constipated and needed an emergency enema late on a Friday night. Lucky has recovered well and is starting to settle into his new home, but it has taken a lot of time and patience from his owner.

Lucky was primarily an outdoor cat, so when he moved homes and didn't have access to outside he didn't want to use a litter tray to go to the toilet. Cats can take weeks and even months depending on their temperament and age to settle into a new home and neighborhood.

It’s important when moving to a new house and area to take it slow with your cat. Some cats have been known to make the long trek back to their original home daily. One of our nurses’ cats was eventually adopted by the old house’s new family!

Some handy hints for the move

  • If it’s going to be a long drive to your new home, it is a good idea to get them used to their carrier first. It can be placed in their favourite place in the house with some treats, or a comfy bed ideal for a cat nap in the weeks leading up to the move.
  • Take it slow, introduce your cat to one room at a time, waiting until they are comfortable before letting them into the next one. Make sure they have access to clean food and water, as well as a litter tray at all times.
  • If you’re stressed about the move there is a good chance your cat will be too. Cats are very in tune with their owners’ emotions. Feliway is a product that uses artificial calming pheromones for cats, it is sold over the counter as either a spray or diffuser. It can be a great addition to helping keep your cat as stress free as possible during the move.
  • When introducing your cat outside start with small supervised times until they seem confident with their surroundings. If you are worried about letting your cat outside, keeping them indoor can be a long-term option. There are also a lot of cat cages and runs on the market to give your cat some safe outside time.
  • Keep an eye on your cats eating and toilet habits. If they are used to going outside and have never used a kitty litter, try some dirt or tanbark etc. to entice them to use the tray if they are having difficulties. As always if you have any concerns contact your vet.