Dealing with stressed cats and moving house

How to get Your Cat less Stressed out when Moving

Moving house is not only stressful for the humans involved in the process, cats are often even more stressed out than their owners.

If you are going to move, please spare a thought for your cats before you embark on the move.

Before the removal van arrives it is advisable to place your cat in one room - the ideal location would be a bedroom.

Put the cat carrier, cat bed, food bowl, water bowl and litter tray in this room and ensure the door and windows remain shut.

Place a notice on the door so that the removal men and family know that this door should be kept shut.

When all other rooms have been emptied, the contents of the bedroom can be placed in the van last. Before the furniture is removed your cat should be placed in the cat carrier and put safely in the car to make the journey to the new home. Follow the advice below for transporting your cat.

The bedroom furniture should be the first to be installed in the new home.

Place a synthetic feline facial pheromone diffuser (a plug-in Feliway device available from your veterinary practice or from our online shop) in a floor level socket in the new room where your cat will be temporarily confined.Alternatively, you can fit a "Good Behaviour Collar" around his neck.

Once the room is ready, your cat can be placed inside with his bed, food bowl, water bowl and litter tray and the door shut. If possible, a family member can sit in the room with your cat for a while as he explores.

Offer your cat some food.

Once the move has been completed, your cat can be allowed to investigate the rest of the house, one room at a time.

It is important to remain as calm as possible to signal to your cat that it is a safe environment.

Ensure that all external doors and windows are shut.

Be cautious about allowing your cat unsupervised access to the kitchen or utility room as particularly nervous cats will often seek refuge in narrow gaps behind appliances.

If your cat is particularly anxious it may be advisable to place him in a cattery the day before the move and collect him the day after you are established in your new home.
Transporting your cat
If your cat is an anxious traveller, you may wish to speak to your veterinary surgeon before the journey; a mild sedative may be prescribed.

Feed your cat as normal but ensure the mealtime is at least three hours before travelling.

Transport your cat in a safe container, such as a cat basket or carrier.

Spray the inside of the cat carrier with Feliway half an hour before you place your cat inside.

Place the carrier in a seat and secure with the seat belt, so that it cannot move around.

Do not transport your cat in the removal van or in the boot of the car.

If it is a long journey, you may want to stop and offer him some water or a chance to use the cat tray (although most cats will not be interested).

If it is a hot day, make sure the car is well ventilated; never leave the cat inside a hot car if you stop for a break