Monday, 7 January 2013
MOVING HOUSE WITH YOUR CAT
Cats are creatures of habit and thrive in a consistent and familiar atmosphere. Moving house can be very stressful for cats once they are taken out of their comfort zone. Prepare ahead of time to make moving house go as smoothly as possible. The first thing to remember is that cats can be upset by anything that is out of place in their environment. Packing boxes & moving furniture can confuse and frighten the cat. When packing, leave one room until last, for the cat to feel at home in. Make sure that the removers are aware there is a cat locked in the room so they know not to open the door and accidentally let the cat out. To be extra sure, stick a note on the door.
As a safety measure, before you move make sure your cat has appropriate identification. This can be in the form of a permanent microchip or a collar with your home or mobile phone number on it. Obviously, notify the body in which the microchip data is stored of your new address and phone number. Then should the worst happen and your cat does manage to escape, it will be easier for you both to be reunited.
During transit, make sure your cat is safely locked in a cat carrier, and wrap a seat belt around the carrier. If your cat is an especially nervous traveller, it may be worth speaking to your vet prior to your move about the possibility of giving your cat a mild sedative. Make the carrier comfortable and include a favourite blanket or toy with a familiar smell. If you are travelling a long distance to your new home pack a 'Cat Bag'. This should contain food, food dishes, water dishes, a litter tray and clean litter. You will also need plastic bags and a scoop for cat litter disposal. Don't forget a spoon or fork if you are taking canned food and some paper towels and wipes for any accidents. For nervous cats you might want to take a blanket or towel to cover the carrier.
When you arrive in the new home, the cat should be confined to one room until unpacking is completed. Make sure there is fresh food, water, a litter tray and your cat's favourite blanket or bed in the room, and ensure the windows are locked to prevent accidental escapes. If you have more than one cat, they should be placed in a room together so they can comfort each other. You may want to leave a cupboard/wardrobe open, or the cat carrier in the room so they can have a place to hide. This will help your cat feel less threatened. Don't let your cat out of the room until the removers have finished and left. Unless your cat is exceptionally mellow, it might take quite a while until it feels comfortable enough to venture out into other rooms of your new home. This may take several days in fact. Talk to your cat and fuss it often during this time of adjustment. Try to stick to as much of a routine as you possibly can. Leave food and water close by, although it may not want to eat or drink anything for the first day. Some cats take to moving without much drama while others are very stressed and may hide under a bed for days. If your cat refuses to come out of a room or is hiding under a bed supply it with a litter tray and food and water in that room. Don't worry, your cat will eat when he/she is ready. Always have food and water available in familiar bowls. If your cat usually sleeps with you encourage it to do this in your new home. It will feel secure at night cuddled up with people he/she loves. Reassure your cat frequently by giving plenty of attention. Lots of love and cuddles go a long way. Eventually your cat will want to explore the new environment. Let the cat do this at his/her leisure. If your cat will be going outdoors at the new home, check first to make sure there are no dogs nearby. It is best to keep your cat indoors for the first few weeks. Let them really get to know the new home before exploring outside. A little forethought and planning can make a big difference to how easily your cat adjusts to a new home. If your cat is particularly anxious it may be advisable to place him in a cattery the day before the move and collect the day after you are established in your new home.
If you are moving overseas and flying, then you will need to check out airline regulations, Pet Passport requirements, costs etc. You will also need to check with your vet if any additional vaccinations are required.