Paws and Effect

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

Our mom just bought her first home, so we are moving in early July. She wants to be sure we are happy in our new home. We can’t imagine why we won’t be OK, because we will have her, but she knows that we have just started to be friends — Bella came home two years ago, and Shadow had a tough time accepting a new sister after losing his brother. Mom is afraid the stress of moving will upset us. Can you reassure her that we’ll be OK, and give some suggestions on how to keep us happy in our new home?

Thank you for your wisdom.
~ Grizzabella and Shadow

Orange and white cat moving toward his carrier

Cat and carrier, (CC-BY-NC) by Harlan Harris

Siouxsie: We don’t think your mom needs to worry too much. Moving is stressful, for sure — we’ve done it a few times ourselves — but with a few minor considerations before and after the move, we’re sure you’ll land comfortably in your new home.

Thomas: First of all, she should leave your carriers out with the doors open or off for a few days before you leave. If she puts fluffy blankets in the bottom and gives you treats while you’re in there, you’re bound to be less stressed by the carrier. A spritz of Feliway spray in the carrier every day or two  — while you’re not in there, of course — wouldn’t hurt, either.

Bella: When your mom is moving stuff out of your house, she should keep you in a room with a door that closes, so that you don’t escape by accident. That would be awful! Left at home when your mama moves? Ooh, it makes my whiskers twitch just thinking about it!

Siouxsie: She should also make sure to pick up your food and water at least an hour before you leave. That will help her make sure you don’t get sick while you’re traveling.

Thomas: When you get to your new home, she should leave you in your carriers for a little while and set up a special room for you to rest and relax while all the stuff is being moved in. If she gives you a room with your cat trees, favorite beds, a litterbox, and some food and water, you’ll have some things around you that smell like home.

Bella: And once again, with the door closed, she won’t have to worry about you escaping.

Siouxsie: You’ll be less stressed if you have just one room to get used to at first, too.

Thomas: That’s what Mama did when we moved to our new home, and it was very helpful. Plus, when she let us out, we had all kinds of boxes to explore while we helped her unpack!

Bella: Once everything is moved in and the furniture is more or less assembled and placed, then she can open the door and let you explore the new house at your own pace.

Siouxsie: A drop of Bach Rescue Remedy, either in your water, on a treat or rubbed into the fur on the top of your heads, will help to reduce your anxiety, too. Oh, and she can take Rescue Remedy too. That’ll be good for her after a big move.

Thomas: You kitties might actually have an easier time getting along once you move into your new home, because you’ll be able to divide a totally new territory between you.

Bella: Nonetheless, your mom shouldn’t be surprised if there’s some growling and hissing while you sort things out. After all, that’s just natural for cats, am I right?

Siouxsie: *grumble*

Thomas: A couple of strategically placed Feliway diffusers might also help you feel happier in your new home.

Bella: Most of all, your mom should do the best she can to stay calm. As long as she’s keeping her cool, you’re less likely to get stressed out yourselves.

Siouxsie: Congratulations to you both, Grizzabella and Shadow. And congratulations to your mom on finding her own forever home! *purrrr*

Thomas: We hope you or your mama will write back and let us know how everything turned out. Moving is kind of fun, actually. Well, except for the traveling in the car part. I don’t like that very much.

Bella: We don’t know how far you’re going to have to travel to get to your new house, but Thomas and Siouxsie tell me that after the first few miles it gets easier, especially if your mom is driving down the highway and there aren’t too many twists and turns.

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