Moving house with an outdoor cat: 10 tips for the move and settling in
Moving home is a big deal for humans, but let’s not forget how much it takes out of our furry friends. With a changed environment can come anxiety and confusion as our little critters are uprooted from familiar surroundings to a place filled with new scents, sights and sounds. But there is a way to mitigate these stresses.
It’s time to let the cat out of the bag with our 10 easy and actionable tips for moving house with an outdoor cat. Let’s dive in.
Planning for the move
So you’ve found the perfect home to match your budget, the move-in date is set and your moving checklist is at your fingertips, but how can you prepare your cat for the big move? We suggest starting with the logistics.
- Decide whether to bring your cat with you on the day
Before moving house with an outdoor cat, you need to consider whether you want them with you on the big day. If you’re stressed about fitting all of your belongings in your vehicle or if you don’t own one, this might not be feasible.
Similarly, for those managing a newborn as well as pets, the move might pass more smoothly with your cat booked into a cattery for a few days. Alternatively, if you’re looking to live more frugally, you could enlist the help of a loved one or a neighbour to look after your four-legged friend.
- Acclimatise your cat to the carrier
Prior to moving your pet long distances, it’s always worth getting them used to the carrier you will be using on the day. You can do this by carrying out short practice journeys in the car or even leaving the carrier open and on the floor so they can get used to its feel and scent.
- Decide on a safe ‘cat room’
Another key piece of preparation involves designating a ‘safe room’ or ‘cat room’ on either side of the journey – this is because you don’t want to stress out your cat as you start packing/unpacking.
It’s also safer this way, allowing your pet to avoid being hurt as large and heavy items are transported in and out of the building.
Steps for the big day
- Prep your kitty’s supplies before they arrive
When moving house with an outdoor cat, ensure that your destination is a cosy haven. Your safe room should be kitted out with everything your cat needs from food and water to their litter tray and bed. Also, ensure the room is at a suitable temperature.
- Comfort your cat on the journey
This step is perhaps one of the most important, as if you get this right, you will significantly reduce the stress your cat experiences during the move.
Keep things nice and quiet on the journey and at a comfortable temperature if driving – your cat will be overstimulated, so minimising loud noises and jostling where possible will reduce stress.
- Confine your cat to one room for the first few days
You should also let your removal company know where this room is located so items can be unloaded in there first and to avoid disruption to your tired moggy.
Helping your feline friend settle in
- Allow them to explore the house
After a few days (typically 3) allow your cat to explore the bounds of the house. By this point, you should have unpacked a decent amount of your belongings, but do make sure the space is safe for your cat to traverse by clearing away hazards.
- Register your cat
Prior to letting your outdoor cat back into the great outdoors, you should have them registered with the local council. If your cat has a collar, update the address and contact information if necessary and get them microchipped if they aren’t already.
- Letting cats out for the first time after moving
With all the admin sorted, you can now allow your cat into the outside world. Most likely, they will be itching to explore, so be wary that their paws don’t stray too far.
The most common time for cats to be lost is after a move. Therefore, we recommend supervising them while they get to know your new backyard.
- Gradually increase outdoor play
The longer your outdoor cat spends outside, the further they are likely to stray. If your cat meanders up a fence or into a neighbour’s garden, stick around nearby and call out occasionally in order to remind of your presence.
After a while, your cat will build up the confidence to explore further and the familiarity with your new house to come back home. For this purpose, establish a routine of regular mealtimes.
Relocating your cat might seem like a painful process for both parties involved, but care and patience are all you really need. No gimmicks, no expensive products, no complicated routines. You’ll need to gradually introduce them to the new surroundings and offer lots of love and attention.
So, are you feeling more confident moving with an outdoor cat? We’d love to hear your thoughts!