With all the commotion that comes along with a move, it can be easy to forget that our feline friends are probably a bit stressed out by the upending of their day-to-day routines. Cats are creatures of habit, and it will take some time for them to become comfortable in an entirely new environment. Today, we’re going to look at some ways you can help your cat make a smooth transition into a new home.

teenage girl kisses black catTry to be a calming presence for your cat. The first thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that your cat has no idea of what’s going on around her amidst the hubbub of a move. One day, everything was neat and orderly—just as cats like it—and the next day, closets are emptied, boxes are everywhere, and furniture is scattered. Allow her to explore, but be especially watchful; there are many sad stories of cats getting loose on moving day. During the days leading up to the move, stick to routines. Feed her at the same times and with the same food, allot time to play and share affection, and keep her litter box clean.

Kitty on the move. On moving day, it’s a good idea to keep your cat isolated in a quiet room with her food, water, and litter box. If you’ve hired movers, be sure to let them know where your cat is and that she isn’t to be disturbed. Keep her carrier open in the room, and maybe even place a treat or toy inside. The idea is to make the carrier as unthreatening as possible. Once you’re actually in transit, keep the carrier in the passenger seat and continuously talk with your cat, letting her know how much she’s going to love her new digs.

Furnish with your cat in mind. Moving to a new home is an opportune time to replace ratty, old furniture and rethink your interior design scheme. Since your furry friend will be spending even more time in the new place than you, it’s only sensible that you should take her needs into consideration when making decor choices. Does your cat shed excessively? Maybe dark upholstery isn’t the best idea. Do you have ample space for her to perch? Cats love high vantage points, so be mindful that any tall bookshelves or similar pieces are likely to become favorite hangout spots for your ever-vigilant kitty. And as much as we try to deter scratching, it’s a natural instinct for our cats, so you’ll definitely want cat scratching furniture. A cardboard scratching post is a cheap and simple option, but if your cat deems it unworthy of her claws, consider some sort of cat tree furniture—the taller the better.

cat hiding in red dresser drawerBe patient with your cat. It’s quite common for cats to take shelter under sofas or beds when exposed to a brand-new environment. Don’t be discouraged by this behavior. Rather, allow your cat some quiet solitude. Place her food and water by her temporary refuge, and be sure she knows the location of her litter box. It might take a day or two, but eventually your cat’s curious nature will overtake her caution, and she’ll come out to play.

Moving is an inherently hectic experience, and cats are certainly not immune to distress. Keeping their needs in mind during this time of transition will make the entire process less taxing for both you and your four-legged friend.

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