Before your big move, it is important to plan out how you are going to move your pets. Cats are not usually comfortable with sudden change, and while you may have known for months that you are moving out, your feline friend will only find out on moving day. With a bumpy ride and new living arrangements ahead, your cat is sure to be shocked during the whole process if you don’t take some time to strategize.

Generally, dogs are more relaxed, stress-free animals that get over change quite quickly. Just let them into the back of the car and roll down the window. Unlike furry pups, cats have a much harder time adjusting to new environments. This is why, if you plan on moving with your cat, think and plan ahead to keep your cat safe.

Before Moving Day

– One week before the move, take out your cat carrier and place it in the living room with the door open. Your carrier might already induce stress because of a past experience. Every so often, leave some treats nearby, and eventually put them inside the carrier to lure your cat in. This will allow your cat to feel at ease with the carrier and will eliminate the initial cause of discomfort on moving day.
– Leave moving boxes around your home for your cat to become accustomed to their presence. Bonus: Cats love to play with boxes!
– Keep your cat’s routine stable. Feed it habitually as you always would and give it attention on a regular basis.
– If your cat is especially nervous, consider asking your vet for anxiety medicine to smooth your cat out on the big day.

On Moving Day

– Place your cat and its food, water, bed, and litter box in a closed room. With loud packing and movers coming in and out, this will prevent your cat from running out the door. The goal is to make your cat feel at home, so throw in a couple toys to keep your friend busy. Place a KEEP OUT sign on the door to prevent movers from accidentally releasing your cat.
– Feed your cat only 75% of its regular meal size to prevent an upset stomach.
– Once you are ready to leave, lure the cat into the carrier and bring it in the vehicle.
– Do not open the carrier until you have safely put it down in your new home. You may be tempted to try and console your cat by opening the door and petting it, but refrain from doing so as a nervous cat may try to escape.

In Your New Home

– Cat-proofing: In a new environment, your cat will want to escape or hide in tight places. Make sure to keep the windows and doors closed, tuck away electrical wires, and remove any pest control poison traps that may harm your cat.
– Take the cat into a closed room and stay with it until it has explored and feels comfortable. Feed it a small meal.
– Keep this room as the cat’s home-base for the first few days. Once it gets familiarized, let it explore the home. It can always come back to this room if it feels threatened or scared.

If You Have an Outdoor Cat

– Explore the surroundings before letting it out. You may have unwanted animals in the area such as foxes and raccoons that could harm your pet.
– Install a cat flap.
– Let your cat out and follow as it roams and establishes its territory.

Following this strategy can make your cat’s move less stressful and can reduce headaches for you as well. A little forethought can keep your cat safe in the difficult transition.