When it comes to settling your cat or dog into their new home after a move, remember to be conscious of their concerns. While moving is very stressful for the two-legged members of your family, companion animals find it even more difficult to move and adjust to new surroundings.
Introduce Your Cat to Their New Home Gradually
Cats are very attached to their surroundings so change is always unsettling.If you've ever moved with cats, and introduced them to a new household, you'll know that the best thing to do is restrict kitties to one or two rooms. This will give them the opportunity to feel safe within a confined space. Place the litter box, bed, scratching post, food, and water in the room with your cat. This gives them the chance to become accustomed to the new sounds and smells. It also gives them a room of their own to use later as a refuge or if they feel uncertain. Try to unpack most of the house before you let the kitties wander the house. But this depends on your cat. Some cats are upset by moving as long as you're there with him. So let your cat tell you when they're ready to explore the rest of the new house.
Surround Them With Things That Smell Familiar
Put their favorite bed, blanket, toys or any item that is familiar to them in the room. Placing items that smell like you in the room, too. For example, you might add an old sweater or running t-shirt - something that smells like you and smells like home. Since cats have a highly sensitive nose and use it to figure out if something is safe or not, this will provide them with comfort during times of stress.
Make Sure the Space Is Safe and Kitty Friendly
Keep doors and windows closed and make sure there aren't any crawl spaces or holes where they can escape to and that you can't access. If your cats go outside, make sure there aren't any poisonous plants in the backyard. You can get a full list of plants that are harmful to kitties from this list at the ASPCA.
Pheromone Products and Natural Remedies
Most people swear by products like Feliway, a synthetic version of the facial pheromone produced by a cat to mark its territory as safe. You can also use it in the cat's carrier prior to a move which can calm them during transit to the new house. Similarly, natural remedies such as Bach's Rescue Remedy may help calm your cat, in particular for the first few hours in a new home. Speak with your vet about natural solutions before you try herbs or natural tinctures.
Exploration Should Happen Slowly
Let them explore on their own and in their own time. If they decide to hide under the bed, let them be. They'll eventually come out when they feel it's safe.
Be Careful If Your Cat Goes Outdoors
If you plan on allowing your cat outside, make sure you keep him or her indoors for at least two weeks so that your home is familiar to them. After two weeks, take your cat outside with you and let it explore a bit. After ten minutes or so, take him or her back inside. Each day increase the time until kitty feels safe and knows the area. Also, make sure that your cat is properly tagged with your new address and phone number. Again, check for poisonous plants that your cat could eat.
No matter what kind of companion animal you have, adjusting to a new home is tough. Knowing your animal and their personality - confident, social or shy - will help you determine what their individual needs are.