Last weekend we moved house. As you can imagine, making sure the cats were ok was a priority. I thought I’d share some of the things we did to make sure they stayed as happy as possible whilst making a big change to their lives.
Feliway kindly sent us lots of goodies to help with the move.
We had Feliway plugged in at our old house whilst we prepared for the move. All the packing was unsettling for the cats and we wanted to make sure that they weren’t too stressed by it. Thankfully cats love boxes so the packing wasn’t all bad for them, they loved to help!
Arty is a very nervous cat and the thing that upsets him the most is having strange people in his house (I’m pretty sure he’d rather go to the vet!). He gets very upset, burrows into a tiny space under the bed and doesn’t come out for hours. Because of this, whilst everything was being moved from one house to the other, we had him looked after by the lovely ladies of City Central Cattery. Our cats go there regularly and they know the people. They are looked after really well and I knew they would be safe and less stressed. If we were moving to a bigger place, giving the cats a room to their selves may have been an option but it wasn’t something we could do. Knowing they were safe and looked after meant we didn’t have to worry so much, especially seeing as our move was very stressful for us.
As soon as we had access to our new house we plugged in several Feliway diffusers. This gave them time to fill the rooms with the special pheromones that make the cats feel calm.
We set up the bedroom as a safe space for the cats with their beds and blankets so that it would smell familiar. We also included several litter trays, food and water. It would be too overwhelming to introduce the cats to the whole house at once so setting up a base room for them is best.
For the car journey we sprayed Feliway into their carriers and in the car. I sat in the back seat between their carriers and talked to them the whole way. Thankfully it was only a half hour journey and they coped pretty well. Arty did meow a bit but he’s always been a very vocal cat.
On arrival, we let them out into the bedroom and left them to explore for a bit. We just sat on the bed so they knew we were there but left them too it. It’s important for cats to explore at their own pace. Arty hid for a while under the bed, Pixie was a little braver and had a look round before coming and sitting on me. We left them in the bedroom for the rest of the day. I took a nap with them :)
Pixie was soon very relaxed.
When they seemed settled and confident in the bedroom we opened the door and let them explore the rest of the house. We’re only in a two bedroom bungalow so there isn’t a huge amount to explore. In a house you might want to let them explore one floor at a time. They would venture out for a bit and then go back to the safety of the bedroom. Pixie was adventurous straight away, sniffing everything, running about, climbing on things. Arty was a little more tentative and took a bit longer to venture out. Once he did, he made sure to mark everything he encountered by rubbing his cheek on it. He marked boxes, door frames, furniture and us.
Arty was determined to mark *everything*.
Play is a great way to build confidence so we’ve made sure to play with them a lot. We’ve had them running and leaping about the living room after their mouse and Da Bird.
It’s been three days now and the cats are pretty much settled in. Arty still runs to the bedroom if the doorbell goes but that has always happened. The rest of the time they’re being their usual cute selves. We are going to keep the Feliway plugged in until they run out as I really believe that it has been a great help to them. I had heard so many stories about people not seeing their cats for a week or two after a move because they’d be hiding so I am so glad ours are doing ok. I think the combination of all the things we did really helped the transition.
You can find out more about Feliway here
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.