Cats have been in the spotlight recently with the BBC programme Cat Watch analysing the behaviour of the lions in our living rooms. Cats are sensitive, intelligent animals and understanding their behaviour can help improve the relationship we have with our furry friends.
Moving house is often cited as one of the most stressful times of a person’s life. So spare a thought for our cats too. Before you sign any lease on a rental property, be sure the new residence allows cats and ask what, if any, conditions there are. Make sure that there are no restrictions demanding that your cat be declawed or kept indoors. Mountgrange Heritage’s pet friendly lettings scheme highlights London properties where landlords welcome pets.
With a little bit of planning you can successfully move with minimum stress for your pet. The following tips courtesy of the Blue Cross will help your cat move home with the minimum of stress:
- On the day of the move ensure your cat is safe and you know where it is. It’s best to put the cat into a quiet room with the doors and windows closed while the packing takes place.
- On arrival in the new property, keep your cat in a basket in a quiet room such as the bathroom with its familiar belongings such as bed and toys until the place is sorted out. You can provide some food, water and a blanket, towel or jumper which smells of you or your old house to make your cat feel secure.
- At the end of the day you can let the cat out to explore the house a little. It is usually best to confine the exploration to one or two rooms initially so that your cat is not overwhelmed.
- Make your cat feel at home by helping them to furnish the new house with their scent. Take a soft cotton cloth and rub it gently around your cat’s face to pick up their scent. Dab this around at cat height in the rooms where the cat will initially be kept so that the cat begins to feel at home and bond with the territory. You can repeat this daily.
- Use food and a regular routine to help your cat settle in. Small frequent meals will give you more contact initially and help to reassure your cat that all is well. By knowing when and where feeding will take place, the cat can anticipate the meal rather than worry about it.
- It is important that the cat stays confined to the house for at least two weeks. This lets your cat bond with the new home and learn new geography and smells.
- When it is time to let your cat go outside, withhold food for around 12 hours so that the cat is hungry and watching you for signs of feeding. It is useful to have taught your cat in advance that a signal – such as tapping the food bowl or rattling the food bag – means feeding time.
- Go outside for a short period with the cat when it is quiet and let your cat explore a little, then call the animal indoors for some food. Repeat this exercise several times, letting the cat go a little further and stay out a little longer each time before calling them back in.
- Ensure your cat has some form of identification with name, address and contact phone number. It is also advisable to have the cat microchipped. If already “chipped”, remember to inform the company that holds your cat’s data of any changes of address and/or phone number.
- If you’re not moving too far from your old home, it’fs wise to warn the new residents that your cat may appear and to ensure that they do not encourage your cat to stay. Ask them to chase the cat away or to call you so you can go and collect the cat.
- If this does happen try to keep your cat indoors for a few more weeks to build up the bond to its new home. Then start the process again of gently letting it outside. Keep your cat indoors at the new house for about a month
- If your cat is a particularly nervous animal, it may be wise to put them in a friendly cattery before the move and keep them away from the new house until everything is unpacked and settled.
- Moving home can be traumatic for an indoor cat, who may not be used to dealing with changes in the environment to the same extent that an outdoor cat will be. Slow, careful introductions, one room at a time, with lots of reassurance will help the cat settle in.