Preparing to move to a new home can be daunting and stressful for you as well as for your pets. If you have multiple cats, this may also cause aggression between them. However, it can be done with minimum fuss with the right preparations, while seeing to it that you keep the cats’ routines as normal as possible.
What to do if you’re moving with multiple cats
Relocating to a new home needs a lot of detailed preparation. If you’re moving with multiple cats there’s the additional task of making sure their needs are met while keeping their normal routine. Moving to a new home can be divided into three phases:
Phase 1 – Preparing for the Move
Here are some of the preparations you should be doing at least a few weeks before the actual moving day.
Let your cats get used to the pet carrier.
If your cats are first-time users of carriers then you need to give them time to get used to it. While cats love enclosed spaces like boxes, a pet carrier needs to be properly introduced to them and don’t feel bad if they’ll avoid it at first. Have them get used to the sight and scent of their carriers at least a few weeks before the moving day. Here are some things that you can do to let your cats become comfortable to the carrier:
- place it in an area where your cats often go to, such as near their bed or scratching post
- put their blanket inside the carrier, or a towel that has their scent on it
- place cat treats in the carrier
- use a pheromone spray like Feliway or Comfort Zone to make them calm
- if your cats start going inside, try closing the carrier door for a short period
- let the carrier be your cats’ temporary feeding, resting, or play station until they get used to it
Schedule a visit to the vet.
If you are moving to another city or community, you should bring your pet cats to the vet for a thorough check-up and have their vaccinations updated. Most importantly, you should have your cats microchipped especially if you’re going to have a long road trip to your new home.
Microchipping your cats enables easy recovery of your pets should they wander off and get lost during the move. It has also helped shelters to return lost pets to their rightful owners. Be sure to update your contact details in the online pet registry database. Also, it’s important to obtain copies of your pet cats’ health and vaccination records as this will be a relevant reference for your new vet should you be moving to another city or state.
Benefits of having your cat microchipped:
- it’s permanent and can’t be removed from your pet cat
- it’s definitive proof of ownership
- it lasts a lifetime
- for easy recovery should your pet cat get lost during the move
Keep the normal routine of your cats.
Cats thrive on routine because they’re territorial animals and sudden changes in their environment and routine could lead to stress, anxiety and generally make the cat scared. Changes can even cause sickness according to a study conducted by Ohio State University where cats got sick at least twice a week when their environment and daily routines were changed. So, just imagine what a major house move could do for them.
To avoid getting your cats sick or stressed, keep their normal routine, and keep it consistent. Even if you’re too busy with the packing try to keep up with their accustomed routine and don’t forget your interactive playtime with them for at least 20 minutes each day.
Phase 2 – The actual moving day
So, the big day has arrived and you’re all ready to go and travel to your new home. But, are your cats ready to move and travel, too? Make sure to follow these reminders to ensure that your moving day will go as smoothly as it should be.
- Once the movers arrive to take out your belongings to be moved to the new home, make sure to keep your cats safe by putting them in a safe room or bathroom. Place their food, water, litter boxes, and beds in the same room and put a sign on the door that it should be kept closed.
- To prepare your pet cats for the travel, feed them tiny portions only during breakfast so they won’t have an upset tummy during the trip.
- If traveling by car, make sure that it’s free of toxins and objects that may harm the cats. Your cats will be safely stowed in their carriers and make sure that the carriers are secured to the seat belts.
- If traveling by plane, make sure that all the necessary travel arrangements are already prepared. You may also check our article on feeding a cat before flight for more information on feeding procedures before traveling by plane.
- During your travel don’t attempt to open their carriers as you’ll never know what will happen. Your cat may attempt to dash out of the carrier and try to sneak out an open car window. Open their carriers only if needed such as during travel breaks to give them some treats but do so in a secured area.
- Keep packing tape in handy as you may need it for emergency repairs in your pet cats’ carriers.
Phase 3: Settling into the new home
Finally, you’ve arrived in your new home. You’re excited to start furnishing the place right away. But, before you do that, make sure your pet cats are all settled in. Here are the steps that you should do to help your pet cats settle into the new home.
Place them in a safe room.
Upon your arrival at your new home, bring your pet cats in, and place them in a safe and quiet room. Let them stay in that area for at least a few days until they’re familiar with the environment and have gotten used to the sights, smells, and sounds around them. However, before you bring them into the room, prepare the essentials beforehand such as their beds, food dishes, water bowls, litter boxes, and scratching pads. Once everything has been set-up then you can bring the pet cats inside the room and allow them to explore it. Be sure to keep their normal routine as possible and see to it that the room they’re in is free of items and objects that may be harmful to them.
Introduce your pet cats to the rest of the house gradually.
After a few days, you may then start to introduce your pet cats to the rest of the new home. You may start by introducing them to at least one or two rooms, and keeping them company while in that area. Try to play with them and also take time for cuddles as they continue to explore the new rooms and the rest of the house.
See to it that the whole home is safe and cat-friendly.
Always see to it that your new home is secure and cat-friendly just as it was with your previous one. Windows should have screens so your cats won’t be able to sneak away in a strange environment.
Here are some important tips on how you can cat-proof your home:
- be sure to cover electric cords and tie or cut blind cords and loops
- keep candles, essential oils, and potpourri away
- place toxic household items like cleaners as well as medicine in a secure storage area
- avoid placing lilies and poinsettias in your home as these are toxic plants for cats
- cover the trash bin, wastebaskets, and compost area
- always cover stove tops and close cupboards and pantry doors
- keep the toilet seat lids down and the clothes dryer closed
- keep your garden tools and chemicals like fertilizers in a safe area
Surround them with scents that smell familiar.
Cats are very particular with scents and smell so always make sure that you place their favorite blankets in their beds. Use cat pheromone products like Feliway Calming Spray and Diffuser to keep them calm as they acclimate themselves to the new home and surroundings. You could also try natural remedies to keep them calm like catnip, valerian, and chamomile.
Moving with multiple cats to a new home can be stressful for you and your kitties. You don’t want them to get sick or stressed though so be sure to keep their routine normal and consistent. You may opt to put them in a cattery prior to the moving day which is acceptable as this could also help you focus on the packing process. Preparation is essential when moving with multiple cats and by being mindful of your cats’ welfare as you go through the moving process, everything will surely go smoothly as planned.