Q: We’ll be moving to a new house shortly. How can I prepare our three cats for the big move?
A: Moving is an extremely stressful process for cats, but taking it slowly makes it far easier. The ‘cat stuff’ should be packed last, so that the cats have free access to their usual beds, food and water sources for as long as possible before the move.
Once in the new home, prepare a room for the cats with all their stuff. Don’t be tempted to buy new things for them at this point; they need the familiarity of their usual items.
New toys won’t go amiss though, and frequent games and interactions are a must as your cats will need your company and reassurance.
Get a Feliway pheromone diffuser to use in this room. Pheromones can make a big difference to stress levels, especially when it comes to adjusting to a new environment.
The cats should be kept in this room for a week. For the second week, they should only be allowed into the rest of the house, and in the third week they can start venturing outside.
Ideally, they should be closed inside at night for the first two months. Set up a night-time treat routine now – this will make it simple to get them inside at night.
It’s essential that they’re completely familiar with the new home before they’re allowed complete freedom, as some cats roam and will not be able to find their way home.
Ideally, though, cats should not have free access outside the property. Some cats may get a little frustrated with the confinement, but the diffuser and regular games will make it easier for them.
Katherine Brown, behaviourist