Moving House With Cats

Moving with cats - Doodlecats

Last weekend we moved house. As you can imagine, making sure the cats were ok was a priority. I thought I’d share some of the things we did to make sure they stayed as happy as possible whilst making a big change to their lives.

Feliway and Pixie
Feliway kindly sent us lots of goodies to help with the move.

We had Feliway plugged in at our old house whilst we prepared for the move. All the packing was unsettling for the cats and we wanted to make sure that they weren’t too stressed by it. Thankfully cats love boxes so the packing wasn’t all bad for them, they loved to help!

Arty is a very nervous cat and the thing that upsets him the most is having strange people in his house (I’m pretty sure he’d rather go to the vet!). He gets very upset, burrows into a tiny space under the bed and doesn’t come out for hours. Because of this, whilst everything was being moved from one house to the other, we had him looked after by the lovely ladies of City Central Cattery. Our cats go there regularly and they know the people. They are looked after really well and I knew they would be safe and less stressed. If we were moving to a bigger place, giving the cats a room to their selves may have been an option but it wasn’t something we could do. Knowing they were safe and looked after meant we didn’t have to worry so much, especially seeing as our move was very stressful for us.

As soon as we had access to our new house we plugged in several Feliway diffusers. This gave them time to fill the rooms with the special pheromones that make the cats feel calm.

We set up the bedroom as a safe space for the cats with their beds and blankets so that it would smell familiar. We also included several litter trays, food and water. It would be too overwhelming to introduce the cats to the whole house at once so setting up a base room for them is best.

For the car journey we sprayed Feliway into their carriers and in the car. I sat in the back seat between their carriers and talked to them the whole way. Thankfully it was only a half hour journey and they coped pretty well. Arty did meow a bit but he’s always been a very vocal cat.

On arrival, we let them out into the bedroom and left them to explore for a bit. We just sat on the bed so they knew we were there but left them too it. It’s important for cats to explore at their own pace. Arty hid for a while under the bed, Pixie was a little braver and had a look round before coming and sitting on me. We left them in the bedroom for the rest of the day. I took a nap with them 🙂

Pixie
Pixie was soon very relaxed.

When they seemed settled and confident in the bedroom we opened the door and let them explore the rest of the house. We’re only in a two bedroom bungalow so there isn’t a huge amount to explore. In a house you might want to let them explore one floor at a time. They would venture out for a bit and then go back to the safety of the bedroom. Pixie was adventurous straight away, sniffing everything, running about, climbing on things. Arty was a little more tentative and took a bit longer to venture out. Once he did, he made sure to mark everything he encountered by rubbing his cheek on it. He marked boxes, door frames, furniture and us.

Arty
Arty was determined to mark *everything*.

Play is a great way to build confidence so we’ve made sure to play with them a lot. We’ve had them running and leaping about the living room after their mouse and Da Bird.

It’s been three days now and the cats are pretty much settled in. Arty still runs to the bedroom if the doorbell goes but that has always happened. The rest of the time they’re being their usual cute selves. We are going to keep the Feliway plugged in until they run out as I really believe that it has been a great help to them. I had heard so many stories about people not seeing their cats for a week or two after a move because they’d be hiding so I am so glad ours are doing ok. I think the combination of all the things we did really helped the transition.

You can find out more about Feliway here

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

3 Comments

  1. Congratulations on the new place! Change can be so hard for some of our furry family! You really planned for it and made it as stress free as possible. We’re in the middle if a significant renovation, and it has been tough on one of our guys, Phineas. We call him the ‘fraidy cat… He’s nervous about a lot of things, and the strangers in the house and loud noises have been hard for him. He’s spent a lot if time under beds this past month! Our other kitty, Spot, is the friendliest, most laid back cat I have ever known. We had to gate him upstairs or he would have been underfoot trying to “help” and make friends with anyone and everyone working at the house. And, oh, the boxes! There have been lots and lots if boxes!
    The boys come and check out the progress when we get home every night, and our contractor is fantastic and neat and clean (and a pet lover!), so we don’t have to worry about them getting into anything they shouldn’t. We’re almost done, and I’m not sure if Phineas or I will be happier to get back to normal!

  2. Hi, as a cat owner and owner of a removal company. I am always looking for good advice to pass on to my customers who move with cats. I previously wrote and article but quite matter of fact about moving a cat, it would be good if I could use an article like this for my site, from an owners point of view. Let me know if you would like to do an article for my our blog. Also, have twittered this article as really enjoyed the content. My best advice when moving cats, is to place them in the bathroom with some of their toys, food, litter and scratch post and put a big sign on the door “CATS INSIDE -DON’T ENTER!

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