So we finally did it – we moved into our new home. It’s been about a week and a half and we actually are a lot more settled in than I would have ever thought possible. My kids rooms are put away, we built our brand new podcast studio, our home theater has been installed, and we just bought a brand new sectional that I may or may not have considered leaving my husband for 🙂 Yes, it’s that good.
But as comfortable as we are, and how much our kids love a new adventure, there are still some members of our family that are getting used to the new digs – our cats, Sassenach and Kahleesi.
It’s not that they don’t like the new place – but they are still getting used to it’s smells, new carpets, and the feel of our new home. It’s been a fairly long process for them to become acclimated, but I thought I would share with you seven tips that I have learned through the move with them.
1. Prepare by making the carrier their special hangout:
I cannot stress this first point enough, especially if you have anxious, or highly sensitive, cats. There is going to be a lot stuff happening around them between boxes being put out, clanging of pots, strange new people walking in and out of their house, and a whole host of other stressful things going on as well. The problem, though, is that you have to move your cats eventually, and getting them in their carrier, and relatively happy while in there, is near impossible. So about as soon as you know you are going to be moving, set up their carrier in the family room, bedroom, or wherever they hang out most frequently. Put a blanket in the box, perhaps some catnip, and stock it with some good treats. That way, they become reacclimmated to their carrier over time, and the blanket you have in there will acquire your smell, and the cats feeling of familiarity. Of course treats never hurt either – but getting them to be comfortable in the cat carrier is key because they or may not be spending a lot of time in it depending on how far you have to move.
2. Start putting out moving boxes early:
3. Stick to routine:
I know, having a “routine” for a cat seems kind of silly. Cats are usually on their own, and they do what they want, when they want. But get them fed at the same times, get their water in the same place, try to go to bed and turn the lights off at the same times. Keeping the cats in a mode to know what to expect, and when to expect is important. Remember, their world is literally being turned upside down around them, and having even the littlest amount of familiarity will go a long way.
4. When in new home, set up a safe room and keep the cat in there and movers out:
OK, so you got the carriers all taken care of, you got them used to boxes, and now the routine is good too – now it’s moving day. You’ve already got a lot on your plate so I understand why you may be apprehensive to give your cats even a second thought. Jeez, the kitchen has to be unpacked, your children’s rooms have to be made a safe zone, you’ve got to get your bed put together, and, oh, there is the minor task of having to eat on top of all of the commotion to keep your body nourished. I know you’re probably excited to get all your stuff in the house (who wouldn’t be?) but I really recommend that the FIRST thing you do on moving day is to find a “safe room” for the cats, and no one disturbs that room. Usually this would be a laundry room, a medium sized closet, or a bathroom. Maybe even your bedroom. Try to use a room that has a window so that the cats don’t feel trapped. Do your best, obviously, to keep your carriers in the room too – or at the very least – put the blankets from the carrier in the room to provide a sense of comfort to the kitties. Let them roam around them room, and get a feel for their surroundings in the immediacy. But it’s key to not let ANYONE disturb them. Movers, kids, in laws, other pets, even you. Keep your visits to a minimum.
5. Keep cat in safe room for a few days, visit with treats:
6. Keep a 2nd litter box around in another part of home
Litter has a very distinct smell. Most humans can deal with it, but cats are highly attracted to it. While I know you have already put some litter in the safe room, it may be beneficial to set up a secondary litter spot. This works on three levels: 1. It fills your house with a litter scent that cats know as their designated “potty.” 2. Depending on how much your cat will eventually be accustomed to your house, he or she may need a second place to do their business because finding their original spot may not be as easy as we would think it to be. If a second spot is available, they’re less likely to pee everywhere and/or mark their territory. 3. You may not want your cat litter in your safe room forever. So, you have to get the cats used to another smell, in another room, and be comfortable with laying down the track in an unfamiliar area.
We have been using Tidy Cat littler, because they are committed to combining high quality ingredients and leave my home smelling fresh! They have all types of litter to fit any lifestyle.
7. Slowly introduce cat to rest of house, use treats!:
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Talk soon, friends!