Having relocated from Birmingham back home to Fife, Scotland only last year, I am only too well aware how disturbing a new home can be for our four-legged friends – whether they are cats or even dogs. So, I asked an expert on re-homing, PurpleBricks‘ Solihull -based PR Manager, Nicola Hamilton , to give me her top tips on what cat parents need to know to choose the right home for their cat.
Here’s what she had to say:
Creatures of habit
“Cats are creatures of habit. They like routine, familiar sounds and smells and are happiest when they know their territory and all its hidey holes like the back of their paws.
Cats thrive in calm and serene environments, so when it comes to moving house, they find the whole experience extremely traumatic. I mean, it’s stressful enough for humans, so imagine being a tenth of the size, unable to understand what’s going on and why you are being turfed out of a perfectly good home.”
Nicola went on to state that in order to try and minimise the impact of all the upheaval, cat parents really do need to plan ahead. For example, they need to decide whether they are going to put their puss in a cattery for a few days, or whether they’ll be keeping their cats with them throughout the process and journey, like I did with my five when we relocated to Scotland.
“If they are staying put, allocate a safe room for them whilst the moving is going on. Make sure they have their things around them: food and water, litter tray, scratching post, toys and perhaps something that smells of you, which will be comforting to them.
When you arrive into the new house, you’ll need another safe room for them, whilst furniture is being moved in and unpacked. Some owners find cat pheromones like Feliway calm stressed out moggies. Try to keep this room undisturbed.”
Stay indoors – to begin with anyway
Nicola went on to state that it’s “best not to let cats outside until they have been in their new home for at least a few weeks. Sadly, some cats go missing after they move house, because they aren’t sure of their bearings. Felines rely heavily on scent and rub their pheromones on their territory to use it as a path to guide them home. You need to ensure puss has enough time to build a scent profile”.
Braving the new garden
She also advised that when you do let them out you try standing outside with them to build confidence, or make sure the door is open so they can easily dart back inside if they feel anxious. Start with short periods of time outside and build it up gradually.
Finally, Nicola advises all pet owners – not just kitty parents – to make sure their furry friend is microchipped. That way, if they do wander off, having them microchipped will help ensure that they find their way home if they end up at a vets.
Finally, for those pets that have already got microchips “don’t to forget to change the address associated with the microchip!”