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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Moving with a Cat

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Moving with a Cat
 by Taylor Malowney

Animals, especially cats, are creatures of habit. Moving can be stressful on animals and humans alike, so it’s essential to take the proper measures before, during, and after the move to avoid any emotional and physical discomfort for your pet. There are some simple, easy steps you can employ to keep both yourself and your cat calm and happy during this trying time.

Before the Move

If you are transporting your cat in a carrier, leave it out near your pet’s usual feeding spot a week or two before the moving date. Place a few treats and a favorite bed or blanket inside to tempt your cat into entering. Gradually move food and water bowls near the carrier’s opening; over the course of a week, keep moving the bowls until they are inside the carrier. Doing this gently forces your cat to enter the carrier of his or her own free will, showing the animal that the carrier is a friendly space. Put out a few moving boxes, starting about a week before your move. Changing the structure and layout of your house can really throw off a cat, causing the animal to become confused. If you gradually start adding boxes to your house, it can reduce the anxiety your cat may feel.

It’s important to stick to your cat’s feeding regimen as much as possible. If you groom or administer medications at a specific time, it’s essential to remain on your routine. Setting timers on your cell phone can be a good way to remind yourself to do these duties.

As soon as you know your home’s new address and/or phone number, get new ID tags for your pet’s collar. If your cat is microchipped, contact the company to have your information changed in their database.

During the Move

Prevent your cat from escaping by shutting him or her in a closed-off room with water and food. Make sure to post a note on the door informing movers or family of the furry feline inside. Put your pet in his or her carrier at the last possible moment after everything else has been packed up. If you’re in for a long car trip, make sure your cat has plenty of water and feed your pet according to schedule. Never open your cat’s carrier until you are in a secure location – the car does not count! Cats are faster than you think and can escape faster than you can say “Fluffy!”

At Your Destination

When you reach your new home, place your cat in a quiet room away from all the hubbub of the movers, again posting a note on the door. Make sure this room – and the rest of the house – is cat-proof; tie up long blind cords, tuck away electrical cords, and check for any pest control traps. Keep your cat in the space for a few days; this will allow your pet to acclimate to the strange new smells, sights, and sounds of your new home. Find a permanent place for food and water bowls as well as a litter box, and introduce your cat to the area. Only release your cat after you have mostly unpacked; you don’t want to change your pet’s environment just as he or she is getting used to it! Make sure you spend plenty of time with your cat in your new home, letting the animal know this is a positive experience and not a punishment.

Moving with a pet can be tricky; animals are not fond of change. By gradually acclimating your cat to his or her carrier and the presence of moving boxes, you can prevent any unwanted anxiety. Isolating your pet from the hustle and bustle of the packing process is also a good idea to prevent any escape attempts. Once you reach your new home, gradually introduce your cat to the rooms and make sure there are no health hazards. After a while, your pet will get used to the new environment and accept the change; moving can be virtually painless with the right measures.

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