Make Moving Less Stressful for Your Cat

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Moving can be stressful for your family — and that includes your pets. Change is especially difficult for cats, who are big on predictability. Even small changes can cause big stress for cats, which can appear in behaviors like going to the bathroom outside the litterbox, fleeing, hiding, or even aggression. Fortunately, some simple planning can help keep your cat — and your move — calm and peaceful.

Prepare Your Cat Ahead of Time

Before moving day arrives, ensure that your cat has proper identification in case she is lost. Make sure her ID tag has your cell phone number on it so that you can be reached if she goes missing during the move. Optimally, cats should be microchipped to better their chances of being reunited with their owner. Also check that all vaccinations and parasite control are up-to-date.

Prepare your cat for the move by teaching her to use her crate. A hard-sided crate is often the safest, as it can’t be compressed and risk harming your cat during transport. But you may need a soft-sided carrier if your cat is going to fly with you and will be riding underneath the seat on the plane. No matter which type of carrier you are using, bring it into the house several weeks before your move and leave it out for your cat to explore. Cover it with a blanket or towel to create a safe hideaway for your cat. Feed her meals inside the crate and place treats randomly in this area throughout the day.

Once your cat is comfortable in her crate, put the crate in your car for brief periods each day, without driving, to get her ready for the trip to her new home. Each time you do this, give her a tasty treat. Once your cat becomes accustomed to sitting in the car, take her for short rides, such as around the block; pair these rides with a palatable reward. Gradually introduce slightly longer car rides with the paired reward.

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