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Moving With Your Cat

By Kim Boatman

Moving With Your Cat

Moving can be hectic for us, so imagine what all the mysterious commotion is like for our cats. “Any time you’re preparing for a move, the cat is going to sense it the minute you start packing,” explains Tracy R. Dewhirst, DVM, pet columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee. “Keep their life as normal as possible; leave their food bowls and litter box in the same place.”


The key is to minimize disruptions for your feline and make your new home as welcoming as possible. During the chaos of a move, it’s also easy for cats to escape and get lost. Experts say your cat will fare better if you follow these guidelines:


On Moving Day

Secure your cat Place your cat in a room with a sign mentioning there’s an animal inside and advising others not to enter, says Pam Johnson-Bennett, a Nashville, Tenn., cat behavior expert. When you need to remove the furnishings from that room, make sure you first secure your kitty in a carrier.


Use proper ID Dr. Dewhirst recommends microchipping your cat or getting a GPS collar for an added layer of security. Your cat’s ID should always include your cell phone number. It’s also a good idea to take a photo of your cat and write down its vital statistics as well as its descriptive features.


Don’t drag out the move When it comes time to move your kitty’s possessions, move everything at once. You don’t want to prolong your cat’s distress.

Use a cat carrier Don’t be tempted to carry your cat in your arms if you’re simply moving across town. “Your cat will escape,” Dr. Dewhirst warns. “Instead, put your cat in a carrier inside your house and don’t take your cat out until it is in a secured area in the new environment.”


In Your New Home

Provide sanctuary Your cat will make a smoother transition if you first provide a small and secure place. “Set up a sanctuary room for your cat so it can get its bearings in one small area before facing the task of familiarizing itself with the strange new environment,” says Johnson-Bennett. “Allow your cat to investigate more of the house a little at a time after it is totally comfortable with the sanctuary room.”


Offer positive reinforcement Food rewards can help your kitty make positive associations with the new environment. A tasty morsel might help lure your kitty out of its crate or container in the sanctuary room. You can also offer a treat just outside the room if your cat appears comfortable enough to venture out to it.


Make it familiar Your inclination may be to spiff things up in your new home, with new decor purchases. Now is not the time to buy that cute kitty food bowl or a new litter box, however. Familiar items will help your cat adjust to the new location. Your cat will be more at ease if its new home even smells a bit like the old one. To do this, take a sock and gently rub it around your cat’s face to collect facial pheromones. Next, rub the sock on doors and corners so your kitty sniffs its own familiar scent.


Think like a cat An unfamiliar furnace whooshing on, or the sight of strange cats walking by outside a window, may initially bother your kitty. Try to mitigate startling noises or distressing environmental factors until your cat becomes more at ease. Make sure you provide hiding options and elevated areas so your cat feels protected and safe as it checks out its new digs.


Like us, cats can take a while to adjust to a new environment. If your cat is relaxed and gregarious by nature, expect an adjustment period of a couple of weeks, says Dr. Dewhirst. But be patient: Some cats may take far longer. You are a real source of comfort and security for your cat during this stressful period. After all, for your cat, home is where you are.


Kim Boatman is a journalist and frequent contributor to The Daily Catbased in Northern California whose work has appeared in The Miami Herald, the Detroit Free Press and the San Jose Mercury News. She is a lifelong lover of animals and shares her home with three cats.

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Posted on October 18, 2010

Cheryl Conner says: We are moving and I am at my wits end as to how to get one of my cats into his carrier. Sundance is one of a pair of feral kittens. The larger of the two is no problem but the smaller has been "very shy" the 2 years we've had him. When he was smaller we were able to manage him into a carrier but now that he's older, he absolutely refuses to be handled into a carrier. He gets hysterical if he even sees the carrier and absolutely crazed if you try to put him into the carrier. I am now trying a sedative RX'd by my vet but it's best taken by mouth and so far we're only able to put into his food and hope he gets the dose.. We tried it his morning and judging by his behavior,it's not working. In fact he's even more leery of me. We'll try again later today but time is running out. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Posted on October 8, 2010

Carol Mahala says: The person who has a cat declawed shoud hve nails driven under his/her own fingernails. Poor animal not only hurts, but canot defend himself if danger arrives!

Posted on August 28, 2010

journey says: i juzt got two kitties there 5 mounths they seem to run around more at night and be sleep during the day sumtimes wat is the reason for that and they r very well not very but they r scatery but there geting better i just got them

Posted on January 19, 2010

LJaz says: I have 3 cats. On different occasions I find/smell cat urine on items. I am not sure which one is doing it. What can I do to eliminate this problem. They are all nuetered/spayed. I have had all of them for several years. This drives me wild. I get the scent and hunt till I locate it. I have some Dumb Cat Spray, that I have used. Any suggestions and reasons for this would be appreciated.

Posted on January 10, 2010

1 serene ocean@gmail.com says: i am looking for femal kitten

Posted on January 12, 2010

linda2 says: no neli, the cat is not happy without it claw's, they can not defend their self. I lost my cat to a pack of wild dogs.

Posted on January 3, 2010

MBradley says: I believe my cat's lower tooth came out. Will it grow back?

Posted on January 3, 2010

Danielle says: some people are demented. I am sure you would be happy to be declawed too. No cat is happy to have its claws removed. Be realistic and step out of your own materialistic values.

Posted on December 15, 2009

neli says: If she was very recently (less than 1 month ago) declawed, try spreading shredded newspaper on top of the litter. This will make her paws not hurt. I have 3 cats and I have always declawed them. The vet is very good with that and I did it for their good: this way they don't tear up my furniture and in case something happens to me, it'll be easier for someone to adopt thm since they are declawed. Declawing is your choice, don't be bullied or made to feel bad. My cats are very happy!

Posted on November 29, 2009

linda says: adopted a cat she is a yr and half 2 days ago. Was just declawed and been neutered and she has been peeing on my bed and also pooping what can I do...

Posted on December 13, 2009

Malakela says: Sorry, but the fact that you declawed the cat is the reason she is not using the cat box - because it hurts her paws Why would you do such a cruel thing? Now you cannot destroy the cat because she is poopoing on your bed cause that is the only place where he paws to do hurt. It is your own fault. Sorry

Posted on November 15, 2009

emie says: emie pooping and hissing at me afraid sometimes

Posted on November 27, 2009

angel says: that kitten is so cute

Posted on November 27, 2009

beatrice says: just recently movrd my cat won;t do litterbox but goes beside it. what is the problem?

Posted on November 15, 2009

Teresa says: I will be moving to Va. soon. We have a cat that is tame and wondered in our lives 4yrs ago. Tom follows me around like a puppy, and I want to take him with me. He has never been inside the home and lives in the barn. I don't want to leave him so how do I move him? He also will use the litter box at night when in the barn!

Posted on November 8, 2009

Elizabeth Dormer says: Please tell me why my cat keeps running away. It breaks my heart every time I have to deal with this.

Posted on October 19, 2009

jlp says: my cat does not want to eat her food she just wants human food and it makes her sick everytime i got her when she was almost full grown and only had her for a couple weeks,any suggestions?

Posted on October 9, 2009

Renee says: I just adopted a 3 year old female, part siamese rescue cat. She is very shy and seems to warm up better to my husband than to me. She is using the litter box to pee in but has pooped twice in the living room. Any suggestions?

Posted on September 22, 2009

billie says: do you have a food for a cat with ibd?

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