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How Do You Prepare Your Cats for a Big Move?

Some of the ways I'm gearing my cats up for our big move might be described as pretty woo-woo, but I believe cats understand this stuff.

 |  Mar 14th 2012  |   10 Contributions


I’m about two weeks away from a 150-mile move. I’ll be leaving my humble suburban basement apartment for a beautiful top-floor loft in a large city, and I have a lot to do before moving day: purging stuff I no longer want, packing stuff I still need, arranging for the movers’ arrival, and so on and so forth. And, of course, preparing my cats for our huge transition.

I have moved house with my cats before, but never quite so far. This is also the first time I’ll have two strange men in my home, running in and out with my furniture and all the knick-knacks, paddy-whacks, and gewgaws that are a part of my life.

If you’ve never relocated with a cat before, there’s lots of good advice available on making the physical aspects of the move easier for your cat, and I plan to follow these instructions to the letter.

What's this I hear about a move? / Curious cat photo via Shutterstock

But beyond the logistics of keeping my cats safe, there are other things I feel are equally important.

Cats know that something strange is in the air. They pick up our feelings and the changes in our own energy as we experience the excitement, stress, and occasional terror involved in such a huge life change. So the first thing I had to do is tell my kitties what’s up.

I told my cats that we’re going to be moving to the biggest cat tree in the whole world! I painted a picture in my mind of the new apartment: the windows everywhere (more “kitty TV” channels than they’ve experienced in years in my relatively windowless basement apartment) and the numerous sun puddles they’ll be able to use for their basking pleasure.

I told them about our new landlord, a cat lover who can’t wait to meet them.

Aren't you forgetting something? / Cat at window photo via Shutterstock
I told them what’s going to happen on moving day: the men, the quick emptying of the house, the carriers and the two-and-a-half-hour car ride, and reassured them that everything’s going to be okay.

I opened my heart and shared my feelings of excitement, joy, and anticipation.

Yeah, all of this stuff is pretty woo-woo, but I believe cats understand this stuff and that it helps to alleviate the stress they feel when they sense change in the air.

On moving day itself, I’ll give them a couple of drops of Bach Rescue Remedy by stroking their heads and rubbing it into their fur. This flower essence is fantastic for relieving the physical, emotional, and spiritual stress that comes along with major life changes like moving.

At our new home, I’ll dose the cats with Stress Stopper flower essence and plug in a couple of Feliway diffusers.

Finally, I’m going to take a couple of days off from work so that all of us can settle into our new home together.

I’m fortunate that my cats are people-bonded rather than place-bonded: wherever Mama is, is home, as far as they’re concerned. Place-bonded cats suffer much more during a move because they’re ripped away from the home they know so well.

What have you done to help your cats through a move? I want to make this major life change as easy as possible for my cats, and if you’ve done things that worked -– or didn’t work -– I’d love to hear from you.

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