Monday, June 14, 2010 11:04 AM

Make Moving Day Easy on Your Cats

Change is stressful for all of us, and moving ranks right up there with other life changes such as marriage and divorce. While you and your human family members can at least understand what is going on, your cats cannot and feel the stress more acutely. Since more people move during the summer months than at any other time of the year, this seems like a good time to go over some tips to make moving day flow as smoothly as possible, especially for your feline family members.

Keep your cats' things in their normal places as long as possible
. Don't move their beds, feeding stations or litter boxes until the movers arrive (or right before). All the activity of packing will be stressful enough for them without them having to hunt for their food and boxes.

Feed them a light snack the morning of the move,
or nothing at all if they tend to vomit when upset. Give fresh water, of course. If they tend toward nervousness, give them a quarter of a Calms Forte tablet each 2 to 3 hours before the movers are due to arrive. If they are difficult to pill, grind it up and mix with a small amount of their favorite wet food.

When the movers arrive, set the cats up in an empty room with their water, beds and litter box. Frightened cats can get underfoot, causing injury to themselves and others. They may also run out the door in a panic, never to be seen again. Spare them and yourself this trauma by keeping them in a closed room to which no one but you is allowed access. Placing their carriers in this room will make packing them up later easier still.

Pack up your cats and move them separately to the new location, ahead of the movers. Once there, set them up in a room that won't be entered, such as a large bathroom, as far away from the hubbub as possible. Stay with them until the movers arrive, then check on them whenever there is a lull in the action; this will help calm them.

Don't let them out until the movers have gone and outside doors are not being constantly opened and closed. Show them where their boxes are now located, and place their beds and water nearby. Don't feed them until they calm down a bit, or you'll have messes to clean up, for sure.

By the way, this is the perfect time to make changes to their lifestyle, such as making them indoor-only cats if they were not so before. The combination of upheaval and a new environment makes old habits less sticky, making them more open to other changes, as well!
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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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